04 April 2010

I'm slowly giving up on the idea of reality,

now I can believe whatever I want, and participate gayly  in Baudrillard's postmodern society. Hell, if you feel like you're friends with Lady Gaga, cause you're chatting with "her" on her Iphone app, what harm could that do? If you're a Hercules avatar worshipped in Second Life and feel like a million bucks because of it in real life, should it matter? When enough people go along with the  feeling like experience, you've gained a kind of social status. It just is.

I used to call it the Wizard of OZ experience, That was my way of coming to grips with the facades I adored but wanted to expose. Way back when, it was called denial, the kind associated with addiction. Now I'm ok just living in OZ and knowing it's OZ. Everyone says they're addicted to something, so that word has lost any real meaning.

I'm using the idea of materiality now to talk about what's behind the Wizard's curtain. It came out of my dissertation work and experiences with Second Life Residents. For some, their virtual lives were as real as anything happening in their living rooms. I think Markham (1998) put it best when she wrote "virtual experiences are real experiences; how could experience being anything else."

Materiality is an anchor and a cup of strong coffee in a world in which you start to wonder about National Geographics. With it you can state with a high degree of certainty that there's a pot-bellied man pulling levers behind the curtain. Look, there he is...