Monday, October 13, 2008

Please allow me to introduce myself...

Yes! When Bettina asked me a month or so ago whether I would want to join her as co-blogger on the NPIRL blog, it took me less than a second to say yes! Yes, yes and yes!

As Bett has already mentioned I am indeed the builder of Syncretia, which some of you may already have visited, thanks to Bett's wonderful previous posts on the place. To those that haven't yet, please do come at some point or other ;-). So, I am first and foremost a designer/artist in Real Life and a dedicated, if not downright obsessive, builder in Second Life®.

Writing is something that I have stumbled onto in recent years: Reading an amazing book called the Telematic Embrace, written by a wonderful man, Roy Ascott, led me to study for a PhD at the Planetary Collegium. Although initially embarked upon with much trepidation, once involved, I found to my utter surprise that I actually rather enjoyed research and writing. It has certainly not become my primary mode of expression, I am very much what I have always been - a visual artist. However, it has certainly become a close second. I should probably also add here that my research and writing activity has very recently given me the opportunity of becoming the editor of an academic journal on Metaverse creativity, to be published by Intellect Journals, starting in the fall of 2009 - a feat of which I am quite proud of, I have to say.

And as for the the blogging: A somewhat bleak period in my Second Life last spring led me to start my own blog. And then this summer I created an alt, Xiamara Ugajin, who now has her own blog as well. These two blogs will continue their existence alongside this, the NPIRL blog - which quite needless to say will get my primary attention from now on, where all blogging activity is concerned. The Alpha blog is for personal thoughts and naughtiness (and yes! I am very naughty!), the Xia blog is for helpful tips (Xia is very well behaved!), particularly for apparel and the like.

The NPIRL blog is for my thoughts on Second Life creativity, a subject that also involves my PhD thesis, which is about art education in Second Life. I cannot help but feel very strongly that the metaverse is promising immense implications where the artistic fields are concerned - and this at a time when, in my humble opinion, things are rather seriously challenged in this department in Real Life. I have previously written on this on my own blog and will now take the liberty of adding in the link here , so that I do not need to make this post any longer than it absolutely has to be.

I delight in humor, in the unexpected, indeed the absurd, in that which is fundamentally un-didactic. I also delight in narrative, in the fairy tale, in the not possible in real life, the larger than life, the unimaginable. I cherish the unselfconscious, the playful, the spontaneous. And yes, also the naughty, the irreverent, the tongue-in-cheek... And many of these attributes seem to me to be absent from artistic activity to an alarming extent in Real Life today. Somewhere, something went wrong and we dried up. We became humorless, if not indeed downright preachy. And suddenly, here in Second Life, we seem to be gaining ground in the springing up of imaginative acts. In the creation of utterly absurd objects and situations. This I cherish. This is what makes Second Life creativity beyond valuable to me. This is to me what, at this particular moment in time, makes it quite essentially NPIRL!

And not only do we create objects, we take creativity up one notch altogether: We create new lives and alternative identities. The whole manifestation of avatars and their alts; the vastly complex, autopoietic interaction of the human being behind the keyboard with these emergent selves is what to me lies at the very heart of metaverse creativity. Thus, time permitting, I would like to delve into this subject on this blog as part of content creation which is Not Possible in Real Life, alongside the examination of object oriented artistic/design output, of course.

And now finally enough of the pretty words and onto some practicalities: As I mentioned above, I am a dedicated builder. What I should also mention here is that I have an avatar family who is every bit as dear to me as any Real Life family would be. Thus, my time in-world is divided fully between my building and my family, and then of course also the viewing of creative content generated by others. From this it will inevitably follow that I will be remiss in responding to Instant Messages, notifying me of events and things to see in-world. Not to put too fine a point on it - I will simply not be able to do so. Please do not think this to be insufferably rude: My Second Life has essentially been a very private one to date, and I have come to truly cherish the way in which it has evolved and would thus be extremely hesitant to enter into any kind of a venture that could upset a truly meaningful balance. I will thus be very grateful for emails, to be sent either to the mailbox or directly to me at These I will try to respond to as fast as I can, within a matter of hours, a day at the very most.

And finally finally finally ... Yes! Bett! Thank you for having entrusted me with this. I feel truly privileged to have become a part of this formidable operation. And thank you above all for being my friend!


AngryBeth Shortbread said...

ah, Roy Ascott, there's a name from the past... he was the course leader when I did my BA(hons) in Interactive Arts at Newport - a scarily 15 years ago !!!!

Alpha Auer said...

Oh, he is still very much in the present - if not indeed 20 years into the future, going as strong as anyone as I know... More so than most, in fact, I have to say.

He was telling me about Newport just the other day, about how it all started and how it then progressed.

Bettina Tizzy said...

Alpha... I_am_thrilled to have you on board. Not only do I gobble up whatever you write, I always walk away a little richer in knowledge and insights. Thank you so much for joining me on this odyssey.

Alpha Auer said...

Ouch... Just saw this!

Hey... Thank YOU! You totally totally ROCK!