Isn’t living a second life through an avatar in itself a form of role playing?
This, and many other questions, are now rattling around in my head about the nature and limits of living through multiple avatars after suffering through a momentary identity crisis last night. I had been invited to attend a Press Preview of new Installations by Em Larsson, Scottius Polke, RAG Randt & Eliza Wierwight at Amase Levasseur’s new art sim, Originalia, and decided to go as Camille, one of my alts, in hopes of expanding her role in the virtual world and thus expand my own work there, and here.
I arrived at Scottius’s installation, “The Docks” (photo, above), early in the evening and within minutes found myself squirming in my blue suede boots and looking for the exit. What I hadn’t anticipated, for some reason, was running into friends who knew me as Chrome, yet who may also be familiar with Camille from my work. The awkward part was not knowing whether to inform them of something they may already know, or to act as if nothing was amiss and continue with what soon began to feel like a charade. I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it, to be honest, and after a few awkward moments, just backed away.
I should point out that over the past three years or so I have put thousands of miles on my alts, and yet there are only a few people in the metaverse who actually know me as more than one “person”. In public, I am always Chrome. My use of alts up until this moment has been almost entirely for the purpose of my art; they are the subject of my paintings, comic strips and photographs. Now, I’m expanding their roles and personas, to be documented here and on my new gallery site. I am pushing them out into the world, and now trying to find my way through the maze of emotions that seems to be an inherent part of this process.
My apologies to any friends who may have experienced that awkward moment with me last night. I considered for a moment IM’ing you to let you know that I was “really” Chrome, and for that matter, that I was really Mick… but I thought it might be too disruptive and the moment passed. I’m now thinking that each of my alts should have a title over their head, something like “100% Chrome Plated”. I’ll work on that. In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to try to improve the lives of my alts by giving them a social life, so if you run into one of them, just go with the flow. We’re all role playing anyway.
Aahh, what tangled webs we virtuals weave. :-)