The Caerleon Museum of Identity Opens on October 2nd in Second Life
On Saturday, the 2nd of October 2010, the Caerleon Museum of Identity opens. The museum is a collaborative project of one of Second Life's premier artists groups, the Caerleon Artists Coalition. Festivities began at noon PDT/SLT and at 1 pm the incomparable Mommaluv Skytower will perform. The following information was taken from the press release announcing the opening.
The Caerleon Museum of Identity is the latest in the series of sim-wide collaborative installations by the Caerleon Artists Coalition, a project of the Virtual Art Initiative.
The 18 artists participating in this collaboration include:
The Caerleon group was established by Georg Janick (Dr. Gary Zabel of the University of Massachusetts, Boston) and consists of artists, writers, musicians, and scholars who are using the immersive and interactive digital media to develop new forms of artistic content. Members of the coalition are among the most respected and imaginative artists working in SL.
Georg Janick's six Theses on the Art of Virtual Worlds are the framework for the series of collaborations on the Caerleon sims. In addition to major builds on each of the six theses, there have been numerous theme collaborations on various topics, including consumerism, imprisonment, surrealism, and masks, as well as limited resource challenges like the one-prim and limited texture shows.
The Caerleon Museum of Identity is an interpretation by the collaborative team of Georg's fourth thesis: the Ambiguity of Identity. It states in part, "…digital bodies, and the names that uniquely identify them, can be altered, multiplied, discarded, or exchanged at the will of the user. Since bodily presence is open to such radical discontinuity, the identity of the virtual person is protean and ambiguous, including indicators of age, gender, race, and even biological species."
The project has been in development for over a year. Weekly discussions about the project inevitably centered around the subject of identity and how people in virtual worlds both express themselves and interact with others. This is a subject of tremendous interest to many in SL, and some of the team members have formed the open Creative Identity group to continue talking about issues, especially as they relate to creative work.
The early development of the museum metaphor and leadership for the project was the work of Sabrinaa Nightfire, who has run a number of the Caerleon theme collaborations. When Sabrinaa had to withdraw for personal reasons, it fell to FreeWee Ling to take over the coordination of the team and she has brought it finally to the opening with the tremendous support of all the artists. This is the first project of this magnitude FreeWee has done in SL. "It's a very rare opportunity to work with so many creative people. This is why I'm in SL–to be creatively engaged and to be constantly inspired by talented colleagues. I am so grateful to Sabrinaa for recommending my membership in the Caerleon group, for her inspiration on this project, and for her friendship. The Identity team dedicates this build to her with our love and best wishes."
Ambiguity of identity results from the fact that our bodily presence in the virtual world is mediated by a digital representation. All dwelling within a world involves being present in a body which both constitutes our perspective on things and makes us present to other embodied experiencers. Though personal identity can be a very complex construction, its ultimate foundation is continuity of bodily presence. However digital bodies, and the names that uniquely identify them, can be altered, multiplied, discarded, or exchanged at the will of the user. Since bodily presence is open to such radical discontinuity, the identity of the virtual person is protean and ambiguous, including indicators of age, gender, race, and even biological species.