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Virtual Environments and Cultures

A Collection of Social Anthropological Research in Virtual Cultures and Landscapes

Edited By Undine Frömming

Virtual reality is no longer an issue that we can avoid or ignore. It is an essential part of our experience, influencing cultures and individuals all over the world. This book presents a collection of ethnographic research in the virtual world of Second Life, and can be seen as an attempt to discover the challenges and limits of social anthropological research with an avatar in virtual cultures and environments. The contributions in this book demonstrate that the development of «digital codes» has meanwhile gone so far that anthropologists have started to conduct fieldwork inside digital user-generated worlds. This volume investigates the challenges facing a reality that is strongly and maybe irrevocably entangled with virtual reality. This development holds disadvantages and dangers but advantages as well - such as freedom of expressions for minority groups, social online activists, religious communities or artists. All research is based on qualitative methods, with group and single interview situations and participant observation over a period of between three and ten months.

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Chapter V. Art Production and Artists in Second Life

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222 Boellstorff, Tom 2008. Coming to the Age in Second Life. An Anthropologist Ex- plores the Virtually Human. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Cormier, Dave 2008. Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum. Journal of Online Education 4(5) (Jun-Jul). Four Bridges Project 2011. http://fourbridgesproject.org/default.aspx [accessed March 15]. Kahn, Richard and Douglas Kellner 2004. New Media and Internet Activism: From the ‘Battle of Seattle’ to Blogger to Blogging. New Media Society 6: 87-95. Pankaniban, Rik 2007. Best Practices for Non-profits in Second Life. New York: Global Kids. http://olpglobalkids.org/pdfs/BestPracticesforNon-profitsinSec ondLife_012008.pdf Postill, J. 2010. Social media activism: three working assumptions. Paper to the symposium Networking Democracy? New Media Innovations in Participatory Politics Babeş-Bolyai University. Cluj, Romania: 25–27 June 2010. Wright, Steve 2004. Informing, Communicating and ICTs in Contemporary Anti-capitalist Movements. In: van de Donk, Wim, Brian D. Loader, Paul G. Nixon and Dieter Rucht (ed.), Cyberprotest. New Media, Citizens and Social Movements. London: Routledge: 77-93. Chapter V Art Production and Artists in Second Life 225 Listen to the Radio: AM Radio, Second Life, and Innovations in an Emerging Medium Samantha Fox Second Life fosters at once a new kind of art and a very old one. The virtual world, designed by Linden Labs, debuted in 2003 and has 65,000 users logged in at any given time; millions dollars of economic activity take place every year in Second Life. Users, each embodying a self-designed avatar, use prims — small, neutral virtual shapes that are the building blocks of Second Life...

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