© 2013 Megan Smith. All rights reserved.

As I become an avatar and Edwige becomes me

After exploring the virtual world Second Life as a tourist, in the form of avatar Edwige Pronovost, I decided to flip my position to confront my inability to embody both a digital character and a weather resistant ‘flesh and blood’ avatar.

Within Second Life I had visited MoMA in NYC, the CN Tower in Toronto, Cocoa Beach in Florida and H-Building in Leeds and photographed them as a tourist. Between 2008 and 2009 I then travelled physically to the locations, became my avatar and then reconstructed the tourist scene in the physical.

Attempting to further shift the defining role of my identity and experience I did a performance at Barkston House in Leeds for East Street Arts, 2009. For this event I altered my formula by visiting the physical place as my avatar and then I entered Second Life as my ‘virtual’ avatar and built the scene. The goal was to play with the definitions of ‘virtual’ and ‘physical’ in order to demonstrate the complexity of operating within hybrid spaces.

A multi-screen video and live-stream installation was developed from this research for the ESA United exhibition in 2009. A digital video was produced in 2010.

‘As I become an avatar and Edwige becomes me.’ (2010) digital video, 5:34. http://vimeo.com/15566901
Sanctioned Array – Specify Others – 100, White Gallery, New York, November, 2010.
Leeds Digital Festival, Leeds Digital Festival The Mint, November, 2010.