Fairy Land

Fairy Land

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Virtual Identities

May 3

John's examples of the Syrian lesbian blogger who turned out to be a man, and the white woman who posed as a black civil right leader sums up completely for me the main reason I find SL to be an unwelcome and fake intrusion into my life. I have no interest in making connections with avatars on SL. I don't even befriend people on Facebook that I don't know personally in RL. I don't post personal stuff or talk about my experiences, my travels, nor do I tell the world what I think and feel on Facebook. The virtual world is a false, non-place which I have very little interest in experiencing. I find it really hard to comprehend that anybody could take it as seriously as Sitearm Madonna does. I have absolutely no problem with Site's playing with gender and identity, the whole issue of drag identity or anything to do with LGBTQ issues. In fact these are topics close to my heart that I find extremely interesting and fascinating. But I'd be far more interested in hearing Site or anybody else tell me about their identity experimenting in RL. I would be all ears and questions then!

My resistance to SL has unfortunately increased over time. I do hope and pray that there will not be another SL module.

I do not intend to insult anybody involved in SL or the lecturers who facilitated this module. I have just developed such an incredibly strong aversion to SL that there was no way of concealing it. In fact, up till today I had no plans of even writing these retrospective blogs but thought it was the least I could do. My reaction to SL has been quite physical. At times I left the classroom with a headache. At other times I had severe physical reactions of resistance. One time I nearly started crying out of frustration. SL just is not for me.

The Exhibition

April 26

This meeting was very different from previous ones as there was actually something real to do. I enjoyed seeing everybody's work and hearing their descriptions of why and how they did them. It was really interesting to hear the visitor's comments as well. I'm full of admiration for the classmates who are tech-savvy enough to have 'hung' the paintings for us.

I was surprised how stressed I was when I had to present my painting. Nobody could see me. And, in fact, nobody could hear me as we went without sound to accommodate one of our deaf visitors. Presenting work in class in RL is quite stressful for me but I didn't expect it to be in SL. I don't mind people looking at my work or even critique-ing it. I just find it really hard to be in the spotlight when explaining it. And so, when Glenn asked me about the reason for my building being obscured by trees, I told him that I had already explained it (which I actually had). But my curt response was more  in panic at him keeping me in the limelight for longer! So in fact, it wasn't as much a curt reaction as a panicky one. I sent Glenn an email afterwards apologising and explaining!

After our exhibition we went to visit the exhibition on Cape Able.

I am glad the SL module is coming to an end.


April 5 - Week 9

I didn't think I could get any more frustrated by SL but I did on this night. There was no sound again. We basically sat in silence most of the night while John typed in the chat box, explaining the assessment to us. In my view this could have been sent to us by email. Please note this is not a criticism of John or any one person. This is about my problem and frustration with SL. I really felt that this was an hour of my life complete wasted. I felt quite upset and annoyed at the same time.


March 29 - Week 9

I read the article on Heterotopia by Michele Foucault and found it really interesting. Any enthusiasm for the class waned within seconds when technical problems meant we had no voice. Again. My frustration levels went through the ceiling. I just cannot follow conversations on the chat box. I also find myself very much observing the avatars. In RL my job entails working with and observing people. Possibly I'm too tuned into body language and find that I try to read avatar body language. How silly!

To be very honest, I had lost all patience with SL by this stage. I've started getting a physical reaction to it. I don't look forward to Wednesday night meetings and feel I could be doing something far more productive. I just have to admit that I do not like this way of communicating. What to do??????

Akron Island

22 March: We visited Akron Island where we were hosted by professor Dudley Turner. Apparently he co-taught the module at DIT at some point.

I found this class extremely frustrating, to the point that I became quite annoyed. The sound wasn't working and I find it really difficult to write in the chat box, follow other comments in the chat box and concentrate on what's happening on the screen.

I tried to regain my enthusiasm for SL but couldn't and kept asking myself what was the point and specifically what was the point of this visit. Frustration had taken over by the end of the session and I wasn't looking forward to the following week.

15 March - Virtual Ability

I could not attend class last week when the group visited Virtual Ability Island. People appeared to have been quite affected by the visit and particularly by how SL is used in a very positive way by people with disabilities.

Tonight I felt a disconnect with SL and the group discussion and didn't contribute. I don't know if it was because I missed last week. Either way, I feel that my enthusiasm for SL is waning a bit and I will have to contemplate the reason for this.

The Ones who walk away

Ursula LeGuinn's short story, 'The Ones who walk away from Omelas' was a harrowing and thought-provoking read. What, or rather who, are we willing to sacrifice to achieve our own goals. Especially in achieving happiness. I think most of us think that we would walk away from a situation where one persons (especially a child, as is the case in this story) is sacrificed for the happiness of the larger group. However, I don't believe we can ever be 100% certain of the choices we would make until we are actually in the specific situation. If one takes the whole Nazi situation into account, I'm certain there were many people who didn't believe they were capable of the atrocities they committed, before they were indoctrinated and required to commit them. If the officers did not comply with what was expected of them, their own lives might have been at stake. How do we know beforehand that we would sacrifice our own lives for those of strangers?

At any rate, as far as I can tell, we are sacrificing the lives and well-being of innocent and vulnerable people all the time. Children get exploited the world over with child labour being forced on them; picking coffee beans, cocoa beans, making our clothes. In China people are locked into factories like rats, forced to work for up to 22 hours per day. The windows of these buildings are barred to prevent the workers from jumping to their deaths to escape their horrific lives. And we are happy to wear the clothes and use the products produced by these people.

There is also the question of conformity. We are creatures who conform to the norm and we often do so without thinking. Many behavioural experiments have proven this. So possibly most of the people in Omelas think the situation is tolerable because others think so.

My view is that, in general we tend to be too conformist and too unthinking in our daily lives. We don't investigate the world around us. We take the easy route. We close our eyes to that we don't want to see. We look the other way but what we have seen cannot ever be unseen.