[-empyre-] Introducing Kathy and Christy in a round about way

A funny thing happened on the way to this fourm...

I had been contently roaming around for 8 or 9 months in my plain white
Amish style clothing with gloves and  a large  bustle looking rather comely,
with my swarthy complexion , big hands shoulders  and feet, beady misshaped
eyes  and huge nose and cauliflower ears.. ( I  really cant get enough of
huge noses..) Anyway I have been rather enjoying my unpolished difference in
a world  of sameness..

Then..just as I was about to go to the buffet  at  Kitchen Korner  to take
some "welcome to the good bad and ugly forum" snaps to send to flickr , I
detoured to Dreamland on a whim..

"hey you look cute" this rather tall woman with some interesting tattoos
said after I deliberately bumped  into her several times..
"I'm new " I said
"Well cute but different" she said
"I'm new " I said again
"I can help you" she said
and started giving me a variety of female "sexy" body shapes, "sexy female
eyes" "hot leather pants" lots of tiny tops, shoes, animated underwear and
bikinis ( everyone  needs animated underwear) and lots of bookmarks of
mature content clubs which have words like orgy and slave in their titles..
Oh and a shop to buy genitals..

Of course i tried everything on.. And it was sorta fun.. now I'm a
"Brandy".. I look like everyone else.. I have huge breasts and long legs,
perky nose, perfect eyes, I've been normalized.. Im a Second Life Stepford
Wife.. And its ok.. Maybe now I can try out  for  the second series of the
Mattes 13 Most Beautiful Avatars.

I'm sort of fascinated by this exchange..
 Was she really a friendly good Samaritan doing me a flavor because she took
pity on my ungainly appearance?
Was I that repulsive?
Was she an employee of Linden Labs  paid to keep everyone looking the same ?
Now she's in my friend list will she turn up when I'm online and encourage
me to spend money on new things,, clothes?  clubs? real estate? Custom
genitals perhaps?

Anyway this was a really long introduction to two fabulous women researchers
working from Sydney  with Avatars, Representation and Cross-Media --  Bella
Bouchard ( Kathy Cleland)  and Lythe Witte  (Christy Dena)

Welcome to the discussion ....

Christy Dena is a Universe Creator & Transmodiologist. She is an industry
strategist, mentor, designer and PhD researcher of cross-media art and
entertainment. She has provided advice and presentations on multi-platform
stories, games & marketing to the Nokia Headquarters, Australia Council for
the Arts, Film Australia, Center for Screen Business, AFTRS, ABC, dLux Media
Arts and the ACT Filmmakers Network. She is part of the Sense Worldwide
Network, a company that provides contextual research and concept development
services to Blue Chip and Fortune 500 clients. She is on the board of dLux
Media Arts and provides strategic advice and is developing their Second Life
presence. She recently gave a keynote at the First International Conference
on Cross-Media Interaction Design in Sweden and delivers guest lectures to
universities across Australia and internationally. Christy runs to blogs:
www.Cross-MediaEntertainment.com and co-edits www.WriterResponseTheory.org.

Christy's SL name is Lythe Witte (www.LytheWitte.net). Lythe's core interest
in SL is how it is used in conjunction with real world art and media, and
the development of SL-native art. She reviews SL art & performance, and is
concerned with the remediation of art and the art space in Second Life. She
is currently mentoring UK author Alison Norrington on her multi-platform
fiction that includes partying with the protagonist in Second Life. The
project explores the creation of a fictional identity across media. Dena is
also a strategist for dLux Media Arts, conceiving and developing a SL art
and performance discussion tour to provoke awareness, analysis and
appreciation of SL practice.

Kathy Cleland is a curator, writer and lecturer specialising in new
media art and digital culture. Kathy has curated a number of new media
art projects including the Cyber Cultures exhibition series which toured
to over 20 venues in Australia and New Zealand from 2000 ­ 2003
<http://www.casulapowerhouse.com/cybercultures> and the Australian
component of the St@rt Up exhibition at Te Papa Museum in Wellington, NZ
(2002). She is currently developing two new exhibitions for 2008,
³Mirror States² which explores audience interactions with digital selves
and digital others, and ³Face-to-Face: Digital Portraiture.² Kathy was
president of the Sydney-based dLux media arts organisation from 1997 to
2002 <http://www.dlux.org.au>. She writes for a number of arts and
cultural publications and was guest editor of a special new media issue
of Artlink magazine, "e-volution of new media" (Vol 21, No.3, 2001).
Kathy lectures full-time at the University of Sydney in The Digital
Cultures Program <http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/digitalcultures> and is
currently completing her PhD investigating avatars, digital portraiture,
virtual characters and representations of the self in virtual environments.

Kathy states:
The promise of inhabiting a new ?skin¹ and creating a fantasy alter ego
or second self (and the lifestyle to go along with it) lies at the heart
of the appeal of virtual worlds like Second Life. Through our avatar
bodies we can recreate ourselves as actors or characters on the virtual
stage. But how closely do we actually identify with our online avatars?
Are our avatars ?second selves¹ or are they more like puppets or action
figures that we can mess around with? How do we construct and perform
our avatar identities and what new opportunities for performance, art
and interaction does Second Life offer?

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