Public Avatar a new project documenting the relationship between virtual reality and our perceptions of self and society. This installation will allow a global audience to explore real-world locations remotely, and to interact with objects and people in those locations through real-time control of a human test subject. As digital and physical worlds collide, the boundaries between self and other, reality and simulation are constantly challenged and redefined.
HOW DO I PLAY?
Public Avatar will be available online on special events during the year. The dates and times will be announced online.
To play, you will need a computer and an internet connection.
During these events, users will be able to login at www.public-avatar.com. Each logged in user will be placed in a queue and wait for his turn, when he/ she will be able to give simple instructions (such as ‘Turn’+’Left’, ‘SAY’+’hello’ etc) to the avatar for a limited timed period. Users will be able to see and hear what Public Avatar sees and hears via live video stream.
WHAT IS AN AVATAR?
The term Avatar, meaning a virtual representation of a user, dates as far back as the Ultima series of computer games (1985), and became popularized by Neal Stephenson in his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash (1992). It was also in this novel that the term Metaverse (for a 3D virtual-reality version of the Internet) was born. Public Avatar seeks to turn the virtual back into everyday reality, replacing polygons and pixels with a human being in a real-world location, albeit under computer control.
The project explores real virtuality, by which we mean the echo of virtual reality in reality itself. It examines the essence of reality and explores the borders between virtual and real.
Presupposing that virtual reality, internet applications, networks and games not only reflect the society and reality, but also predict its development (e.g. Ghost Recon), we can say that Public Avatar explores social reality of the present and the future.
Although the internet is full of games, networks, applications, Public Avatar is one of the few projects which try to redefine Real Virtuality. An individual is able to move and to be active in a real world by using a virtual medium (the web) and a real medium (the body of the avatar). Because the avatar is a human being with its own values, his interaction with the user (whenever and wherever)
will generate interesting conflicts and a confrontation of values. What is going to happen when the users will demand unacceptable actions from the Avatar? And how will this change according to the location and source of the user?
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