Project 3
Digital Alter Ego/Avatar


As I mentioned in Project 2, it has become common within the liberated territory of interface culture to take on a new identity, to adopt an avatar that has agency and can travel relatively unrestricted around interface culture and make things happen. This electronic alter ego can go places and do things that you yourself in real life cannot. The final project will consist of creating a digital alter ego/avatar that will perform with a small group of Avatarians online and outside in the real world.

Your digital ego/avatar will perform with a group of fellow Avatarians in a designated place and time within the realm of interface culture. As a group you may decide to construct your performance space or use exiting spaces. Remember that the site of the performance can have a significant effect on your behavior. For example, if you decided to perform, say, inside the Palace (where Professor Adriene Jenik presents her Desktop Theater productions) there are implicit and explicit rules of conduct which effect how, when and where you respond. And finally, reiterating from Project 2, by default, your Avatarian performances will become part of the landscape of interface culture, specifically, the WWW. You have an opportunity to contribute artistically to it, therefore, do not hesitate to use your artistic license and create from an interdisciplinary
point of view.

Before you start: Some psychological, technical and aesthetic elements to consider :

--Identity, body and community and how they are manifested in cyberspace.
--This is your digital alter ego. What activities would your electronic alter ego do with the realm of interface culture? How would these activities be different from your normal self in reality?
--How does your alter ego want to dress, to smell like, to feel like?
--Is there any resemblance to your previous self?
--Do you have one personality or many and how would you represent them?
--What kinds of prosthetic devices do you wish to have?
-- How is your presence made, and is it changing or static? What causes it to change? How is your presence made known, and to whom?
--How will you interact with your group and where is your community? What are the group’s politics and do they conflict or mesh with the dominant culture of interface culture?
--Are you a prankster, a joker, a bureaucrat, a lurker, a bot, a cyborg, a leader or a follower? Are you a parasite or virus or all of the above?
--How does the environment you choose to perform in effect your behavior as an individual and as a group?
--Remember, this course is an introduction to “interdisciplinary” computing and the arts. Think and act from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Required elements of Project #3:

--Small groups of 4 – 6 Avatarians will be established. The TAs will determine the groups and establish presentation times (during the 9th week).
--In your groups, decide where online and in real space you want your group of avatars to perform. Performance spaces online are numerous and varied. There are gaming communities, chat rooms, virtual cities, websites and on and on.
--As active members of the group, you all must spend a duration of time together performing together as your chosen avatar.
--Even though you are part of a group, you must each individually document your performance within your group and turn this document in to the TAs to be graded. Be creative with this document, i.e., create from an interdisciplinary point of view, combine different mediums such as screen shots, hypertext, email, digital still photography; combine performance art with writing with sound with PhotoShop with animation, etc.
--Your digital alter ego must have a body that has at least 2 prosthetic devices that extend the function of two of the senses. These prosthetics should extend the avatar's body in virtual space or real space or both-- perhaps the prosthetic device is what creates a connection between the two realms.
--As a group, you must incorporate issues and ideas from the lectures into your performances. Set up a dialogue at the site(s) of your performances.

Technical requirements:
Using your skills with html, PhotoShop, gif animation, Dreamweaver and others, you will construct a digital alter ego that you will then perform with other members of a group.

--Expand skills using web-authoring tools, use motion and at least one of the attached javascript behaviors in Dreamweaver.
--You may use layers or timelines in Dreamweaver or Flash for motion, or use Gif animations.