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TitleCreating second lives : community, identity, and spatiality as constructions of the virtual
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LanguageEnglish
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Table of Contents
                            Title
Copyright
Contents
Figures and Tables
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part I: Creating Second Communities
	1 Liberate your Avatar: The Revolution Will Be Socially Networked
	2 An Imagined Community of Avatars?: A Theoretical Interrogation of Second Life™ as Nation through the Lens of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities
	3 Programming Processes: Controlling Second Lives
Part II: Creating Second Identities
	4 Embodiment and Gender Identity in Virtual Worlds: Reconfiguring Our ‘Volatile Bodies’
	5 The Body of the Avatar: Constructing Human Presence in Virtual Worlds
	6 The Grips of Fantasy: The Construction of Female Characters in and beyond Virtual Game Worlds
Part III: Creating Second Spaces
	7 Second Chances: Depictions of the Natural World in Second Life™
	8 Avatar Needs and the Remediation of Architecture in Second Life™
	9 The Event of Space: Defining Place in a Virtual Landscape
Afterword: Virtual Worlds and the Research Question
Contributors
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Creating Second Lives

Page 120

The Body of the Avatar 109

Of course I can fl y here. But it’s like having invisible wings that you
cannot really spread widely or fully or freely enough. Sometimes I fl y
upwards as fast as I can, so I can feel that sensation of freedom, and I
can dream of fl ying a great distance along the horizon. Eventually I get
to a point where gravity pulls me back down, but I do seem to be able
to have the fantasy of escaping gravity, at least for a moment. (Doyle
and Kim 2007: 214)

She has discovered the joy of fl ight, although it does not give her that full
sense of freedom, as she cannot fl y far along the horizon.

There is no doubt that the experience of Wanderingfi ctions Story as my
virtual counterpart, who has developed this particular identity, has been a
rewarding experience. Not able to present this identity in a physical way
in the real world, this particular identity has ‘stuck’ following the perfor-
mative writing experiment. This process, of exploring an(other) identity
distinct from my own, has given me an opportunity not only to understand
my own character, but to understand another through ‘virtually’ sitting in
their skin.

ONTOLOGIES OF VIRTUAL BODIES AND SPACES

In ‘Performing in (Virtual) Spaces’ (2007), Jacqueline Morie begins with
the ontological assumption that the body has been recontextualized in
the age of digital technology. Morie claims that there is a specialized and
intrinsic set of qualities of ‘Being’ in immersive virtual environments, and
suggests that there has been a paradigm shift in what humans are now able
to experience. She points to the research of visual and performance artists
and their contribution to the exploration of virtual environments as key to
our future understandings of ourselves in the physical and digital domains
(Morie 2007: 123).

Morie, in agreeing with Hayles, identifi es the body as an integral part
of the concept of the post-human, and also sees the body as container.
Hayles suggests that the virtual body needs ‘bits of information as well
as bits of fl esh and bone’ (Hayles in Morie 2007: 124). Morie claims that
‘there would be no mind as we know it without the body that engenders,
contains and nurtures it’ (Morie 2007: 124). She suggests that the act of
emplacing a body into an immersive environment signifi es ‘a shift to a
dualistic existence in two simultaneous bodies’ (Morie 2007: 127) and
claims that, now, the lived body has ‘bifurcated and become two’ (Morie
2007: 128).

In her article she explores the representation of the body, or presence,
in virtual environments in fi ve ways: as no representation/no avatar, as the
mirrored self, as a partial or whole graphical personifi cation, as a third per-
son/observed avatar, and as experience in shared environments. According

Page 121

110 Denise Doyle

to Morie, using the observed or third person avatar, in this form of embod-
ied image the participant takes on:

[ . . . ] an experiential locus that is outside their perceptual self. An ava-
tar appears, at some distance out in front of the experient’s physical
and imaginal locus. (Morie 2007: 132)

For Morie a representation or metaphor of her body icon may compete with
her own inner representation of herself in inhabiting an environment, and
suggests that virtual environments such as those created by Char Davies
become a

[ . . . ] sacred, encompassing space, where mind transcends body even
as it references the body, the felt organism even in visual absence. This
body, as felt phenomenon, is how we know the world, true as much
within the virtual as in the real. (Morie 2007: 133)

She returns to Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological standpoint as he views
the body as ‘the common texture of which objects are woven’ (Merleau-
Ponty in Morie 2007: 13), but suggests that he did not have to grapple with
‘new forms of immaterial bodies beyond the phenomenal’ (Morie: 2007:
133) as we do now in light of new technologies.

CONCLUSIONS

If these new immaterial bodies can be experienced through new technolo-
gies, we can also experience ourselves in virtual worlds through embod-
ied presence. However, the virtual-world experience is an interplay of a
number of elements: of ourselves experiencing telepresence, our imagined
presence in virtual space, and of ourselves switching to the disembodied
perspective of Idhe’s ‘image-body’. This double experience relies on a com-
plex set of relationships between the body and the mind. At the centre of
this is the imagination.

Morie’s claim is that the centre of our understanding is our body, and
through this felt phenomenon, we know the world. Yet, according to
Morie, the avatar perspective still has an experiential locus, even though
is ‘out there’. For Char Davies, it is essential for the body to experience
virtual space in a more direct, and most strongly imagined way, within the
physical body, rather than ‘through’ the body representation in space. Yet
we see, for Wanderingfi ctions Story’s real-world counterpart, her sense of
presence in the SL space is rooted in the identity of the represented avatar,
in the image-body presented.

The imagination, as Massumi describes it, is thought and sensation
arriving together (2002: 134). This concept has echoes in the Dalai Lama’s

Page 240

Index 229

Spinoza, Benedict de, 5, 99, 102–4, 111
story, 10, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 68–69,

116, 126, 132, 142, 194, 197
storytelling, 28, 56, 70, 114

T
Tapley, Rebecca, 2, 11, 177, 181–2,

189
tauren, 128–9, 133
Taylor, T. L., 1–2, 11, 34–35, 45, 47,

52, 63–65, 70, 84, 98, 118, 142,
216–7

technology/-ies, 3, 5, 7, 10, 16, 18,
23–24, 41–42, 59, 70, 75–76,
81–83, 87–89, 97, 104–6,
109–112, 117–9, 141, 146,
149–150, 164, 170, 174, 183–4,
187, 191, 197–8, 201, 206, 210,
212–4, 219–222

telematic(s), 16, 18–21, 24, 30, 221–2
telepresence, 17, 21, 24, 30, 105–6,

110–1
territory/-ies, 3, 25, 35–38, 42–45, 49,

180, 183, 193, 207
text(s), vii, 2, 4–9, 16, 19, 30, 37, 50,

54–70, 104, 115–7, 121–4,
134–5, 147–8, 167–8, 216, 219;
-based, 34, 56, 75, 82–83, 85,
88–89, 146, 166, 177

textual, 1, 4, 7–9, 54–55, 61–63,
65–67, 70, 85, 88, 93, 95, 117,
140–1, 169, 178–182, 185, 187,
215, 217

textuality, 140, 181
texture(s), 20, 89, 110, 158–9, 179–

180, 195, 203–4
The Sims (2), 62, 70, 92, 98, 197, 211
three-dimensional, 7, 21, 24–25, 34,

38, 83, 99, 145, 147, 178, 180,
197–8, 200–201, 207

transgender, 93
transnational, 37, 52
transsexual(s), 80, 93
Tuan, Yi Fu, 7, 11, 190, 201, 206–7,

211
Turkle, Sherry, 1, 11, 17, 31, 35, 45,

49, 52, 83, 88–89, 98, 148, 168
two-dimensional, 91–92, 198–199,

201, 207

U
urban, 18, 23, 25, 34, 156, 167, 179,

180, 182, 221
Urban Intersections, vii, 16, 25, 27–29

Urban Screens Festival, 24

V
videoconference/-ing, 18, 83, 221
video game(s), 3, 8, 50, 61, 92, 94,

141–142, 155, 182–183, 217,
219–220

VIDEOPLACE, 19, 21
viewer(s), 19, 191, 194, 198–203
virtual (the), 3, 6, 8–10, 23–24, 35–37,

52, 83–84, 87–89, 92, 100, 103,
110–1, 148–9, 151, 155, 166,
188–9, 213–4, 217; advertise-
ments, 156; aquariums, 159;
architecture, 182, 184, 188;
asset(s), 51, 69; body/-ies, 76,
84–85, 87, 90–93, 97, 100,
105, 109, 148, 176, 217; body
language, 82; casinos, 156;
characteristics, 38; city/-ies, 38;
coalition, 96; community/-ies,
ix, 2–3, 5, 8, 10, 49, 56–57,
75, 83, 86, 99, 113, 183, 188;
consciousness, 41; construc-
tions, 165; consumerism, 156;
consumption, 22; counterpart(s),
41, 100, 109; culture(s), 10;
desire, 17; disembodiment, 176;
duplicate, 19; economy, 51;
ecosystem(s), 155; embodiment,
16, 100; environment(s), ix, 8,
10–11, 15–17, 20, 22, 25, 29,
38, 42, 50, 52–54, 62, 66, 69,
83, 96, 109–112, 142, 145–146,
153, 155, 165, 169–170, 175,
178, 184, 186, 196, 201, 206–7,
210, 217, 219–20; equivalent,
82, 87; event(s), 46; existence,
88; experience(s), 148–9, 153–5;
forms, 166; forum, 61; game
world(s), vi, 113; geo-poetics, 49;
group(s), 51, 57; habitation, 38;
history, 47; housing, 32; humans,
50; identity/-ies, 2, 16; image(s),
150; inhabitant(s), 35; imitations,
205; insanity, 31; interaction(s),
63; island(s), 39, 159; item(s),
34, 69–70; land(s), 38, 165, 209;
landmark(s), 154; landscape(s),
vi, 7, 20, 23, 165, 167, 190–1,
201; learning, 220; level, 93;
life, 18, 38, 86; meetings, 162;
narrative, 148; nation(hood), 34,
37, 42, 47; nature(s), 151, 154,

Page 241

230 Index

165–6; New Labour revolution,
31; nomad, 106, 111; nurseries,
159; object(s), 32, 38; offspring,
117; ontology/-ies, 3; people,
46; performer, 16; persona(s/e),
75, 82, 85–86; pet stores, 159;
physical contact, 34; place(s), 46,
145, 197, 205; placeholder, 42;
plastic surgery, 32; platform(s),
82, 84, 86, 89, 99; plaza, 25;
presence, 19; property, 34;
prostitution, 32; protest, 23;
railway, 164; realism, 149;
reality/-ies, 3, 6–7, 10, 22, 32,
36, 38, 51, 75, 83, 97, 100, 103,
105, 111, 146, 148–150, 153,
165, 190; realm, 43–44; -real
relation, 84; representation(s),
38; research, 44; resident(s), 44;
right, 163; road(s), 18; screen,
25; service(s), 32; setting, 159;
shopping mall(s), 22; site(s), 145;
space(s), 5–7, 16, 25, 45, 48, 57,
75, 97, 99–100, 102, 105–106,
109–110, 112, 146–9, 159, 165,
180, 182, 195–7, 209; sphere,
83; state(s), 36–37, 50; street,
156; stuff, 47; territory, 38,
42; text(s), 148; thinking, 187;
tour(s), 153–4; tourism, 150,
155, 167; tourist, 205; town(s),
38; travelogue, 153, 168; type,
33; universe(s), 84; vacations,
149; vending machine(s), 156;

view(s), 154; village(s), 28; wall,
63; wares, 156; waveboard, 160;
world(s), v-vi, 1–11, 17–18, 25,
30–36, 38–48, 50–53, 57, 64,
66, 70, 75–76, 82–88, 90–94, 97,
99–100, 103–105, 110–111, 113,
119, 140, 142, 145–152, 154–5,
157, 159, 164, 166–8, 170, 176,
182–3, 186–8, 190–1, 194–5,
197, 200–202, 205–8, 211–7,
220–2; world nation(hood), 4,
33–36, 38, 41–42, 45–48; world
technologies, 104; 3D worlds, 52

virtuality/-ies, 3–4, 33, 36–38, 52, 57,
103, 148–149, 151, 214, 217

visuality, 150, 216

W
Wanderingfi ctions Story, 100–101,

106–111
Western culture, 75, 150, 155, 197,

200
Wittig, Monique, 140
Wodak, Ruth, 115, 122, 142
World of Warcraft (WoW), 1, 6, 9, 44,

57, 69, 71, 95, 97, 99, 113, 142,
145, 147, 197, 209

Y
Yee, Nick, 32, 34–35, 50, 53,

216–217

Z
Zootycoon, 155–156, 163, 167

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