An Extract from Life Online: Researching Real Experience in Virtual Space
by Annette N. Markham.
“Although cyberspace is nothing more or less than a network of computer systems passing digitised strings of information back and forth through copper or fibre-optic cables, people who connect to this network often feel a sense of presence when they are online. Even in purely text-based online contexts, people establish and maintain intimate friendships, romantic relationships, and stable communities. This sense of presence can be quite visceral:
‘So much for leaving our bodies out of this… This gathering is not restricted to the Net, and therefore to the text of the Net, but extends to the flesh, the physical body. In this rare case, uncannily, even though online, we feel we meet in the flesh…. Everywhere we rub shoulders with each other. Everywhere users present themselves to each other, freely saying and doing what they choose. (Argyle, 1996, passim).’
Online communication does seem quite extraordinary. By logging onto my computer, I (or a part of me) can seem to (or perhaps actually) exist separately from my body in ‘places’ formed by the exchange of messages, the technical basis of which I am only beginning to understand. I can engage in activities with people of like interests around the globe using nothing but my computer, my imagination, written text, and the capacity of digital code to process and mediate aspects of my life online.
Telepresence, as this is called, is not unique to computer technologies. Indeed, a good novel, a familiar scent from the past, or a long-lost journal can transport a person to another time and place. For many of us, however, the feeling of being somewhere other than in the body with some other non-embowed yet presumably living being – particularly to the extent Argyle describes above – is a new and unfamiliar experience.”
My moped broke down last night on the way back from the studio. I was forced to wait in McDonalds on the Holloway Road for over 2 hours for a recovery man to arrive. Luckily, I had my laptop and thought I’d play around with an image I’d made towards the end of the year on DAZ Studio.
Its just a sketch, however, the almost computerised, virtual setting, i feel, (especially the impression of buildings or trees,) is something I’ve been striving towards.
As for the figures, I hope to transfer their Sim-esque aesthetic into a more weighty, hand-drawn finish. The clothing, hair, and facial expressions of the figures are also something I feel I would have more control over with a pencil or a brush. Seeing as the man’s currently wearing swimming trunks, and the woman, a bra and shorts…… there’s clearly work to be done.
This avatar aesthetic echoes gaming, which in turn makes me think of the impact a virtual being in a virtual world can have on the users reality. The thought of going for a walk online with your partner came to mind when creating this. I’ve been interested in the possibilities of Virtual Realities, and recently I’ve been particularly interested how it could affect friendships and relationships. We are all aware of how Skype and Whats-app have changed the way we communicate… surely virtual reality is the next step.
As for DAZ, Its definitely a good way to control the figure, much less expensive than hiring a life model, much easier than having to digitally model your own person and you have entire control over the pose and angle. It’s FREE! so Boom, I will use it again.