Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ordinary Miracles: The Simmering Pot of Virtual Identity

Ahhh, isn't that sweet. Once again you take some other artist's work, photoshop a couple words, and somehow construe it as important. The Lone Quaker (in a comment to me on a previous blog post)
Ouch! I'll save a discussion of fair use for another post. What inspired me to write today was the question of whether I construe the work I post here as important.

It is important to me. Obviously. Considering I've taken the time to write nearly 1000 posts over the last four years. Add my videos, comics and other visual work to the mix and I bet I've spent 3000+ hours on this stuff. Without making a penny. At my professional billing rate, my contribution of time to the Botgirl project could be fairly valued at nearly half a million dollars. (WTF!)

 So why do I do it? After giving it some thought, I see three primary reasons:
  • The joy of creative expression
  • The ongoing process of learning and discovery
  • The sense of making a unique contribution in a community I can impact
The joy of creative expression. The problem most people have with creativity isn't that the well has gone dry; it's that their bucket is full of holes. It's not that the experience of their lives doesn't have the potential to act as creative fodder; it's that their attention is so fragmented that it passes through without contemplation. The crucible of virtual identity and the discipline of consistent blogging has been like a cooking pot that's never taken off the heat. Sometimes it simmers. Sometimes it boils. Sometimes I have to ladle from the bottom to find a few bites of solid food. But it has never failed to feed my creative hunger.

The ongoing process of learning and discovery. Four years ago I had never made a machinima, written a hundred word story or created a comic with virtual world content. And I had never, not once, thought about virtual identity. The tools and concepts I first experimented with here are now woven into the fabric of my being. Truth is, I can't remember what it was like to be what I was before this started.

The sense of making a unique contribution in an area I can impact. I had no idea what I was getting into when I woke up four years ago in Second Life and began the path that led me being Botgirl. It was like a perfect storm where multiple elements came together to create an energy far more powerful than the sum of its parts. I've been fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to make a few unique contributions to the ongoing discussion of virtual identity. For instance, I was one of the first to focus on the movement of avatar identities from a virtual world into social networks and transworld domains, culminating most recently in the campaign against the Google nymwars policy.

That said, although I feel that my virtual life has been miraculous, it is an ordinary miracle that is replicated thousands of times across the avatar community.
A person should have two pieces of paper, one in each pocket, to be used as necessary. On one of them is written ‘The world was created for me,’ and on the other, ‘I am dust and ashes.’ Rabbi Simhah Bunim

1 comment:

sororNishi said...

It's always useful to have someone poke your self-doubt on occasion, it certainly keeps us on our toes. I cannot help but agree with all you say regarding What VWs Have Done For Me.

Personally I would think that your page turns justify whatever you write, after all, this isn't a competition. As long as a few people are enjoying your words it doesn't really how many you write.

[digressing slightly on the Lone Quaker comment .... just one comma can make all the difference... ...I very nearly wrote to a client "well get on with it" instead of "we'll get on with it" .... the difference is large enough]