Monday, April 28, 2008

The Perils of Mixed Realities events - as experienced by Hamlet Au

Last Thursday, and in the company of my friends and NPIRLers Pavig Lok and Flea Bussy, I teleported into a recreation of a penthouse in Manhattan. The event - a mixed realities party on the occasion of the Real Life and Second Life® book signing of Wagner James Au's (aka Hamlet Au) The Making of Second Life.

Hamlet was in New York city, in the company of Iris Ophelia, to speak at a Fashion Institute of Technology event. In fact, Iris gave the keynote address on the Institute's Technology Day. Go Iris! As an aside, there's a girl who's inventory I'd like to raid any old day of the week.

Since Hamlet was already in the Big Apple, the opportunity to throw a Real Life media bash in his honor was... um... low-hanging fruit, so his publisher - HarperCollins - did just that.

Falk Bergman, Hamlet Au, KallfuNahuel Matador, oh-dear-I-didn't-get-her-name- but-she-was-very-nice, and Flea Bussy

I've never attended a mixed realities event on the Real Life end, and I tend to get engrossed with the people around me - in any life - so I can well sympathize with Hamlet who was torn between attending to his guests in Manhattan, as well as the avatars who were present at the pixelated penthouse. I understand that there was a balcony that he kept heading for, during which time he would leave us avatars to our own devices, and his white-suited self would slip into "away."

Fortunately for him, Iris - who was also present in both worlds - would stand up and jiggle his mouse now and then to bring him back to life - but there was really nothing she could do short of operating his avatar - in the face of the onslaught of tricks that some of us (I'm not naming names) pulled on the poor man.

The lovely Iris Ophelia kept coming to Hamlet's rescue

Various lamp shades were placed on his head, a skirt wrapped around his waist, garbage bags rested at his feet, and cockroaches the size of Saint Bernard doggies visited him.

I stashed my photographic records of these horrors (lol) away, thinking they would never see the light of day, but then Kit Meredith blogged about it and, good sport that he is, Hamlet did, too.

It is a concern, isn't it? Those of us who inhabit virtual worlds must live two lives, and it gets even more complicated when we have to be present - and darling, witty and engaged - in two places at once.