Thursday, September 15, 2011
Returning to the virtual
I've been (re)turning to the virtual, once again. Yesterday I was interviewed in SL by a docotoral student. That was interesting because I hadn't been there for a while. Also, although I've conducted interviews in virtual worlds before (and have written and talked about this quite a bit) this was actuallythe first time I'd been the interviewee. That's interesting, because in this particular situation all I had was chat - in other words there was no sound and, as it played out, our avatars were stationary. So, apart from the experience of being in that particular part of cyberspace, the communicative interplay was just the writing. And although in some ways I was my avatar, my answers (and of course the questions that provoked them) were those of Guy Merchant. At the same time I continue to explore the virtual in my writing. I'm exploring how online environments have distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other contexts, but suggesting that they should not be dismissed as not being real. In developing an alternative perspective, I take the view that virtuality bridges the material world and the world of information and data, or as Sakr (2008:8) argues ‘Virtuality is a negotiation between materiality and information.’ This negotiation regularly takes place through interactions between people and technology - perhaps that interview illustrates some of this.