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Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked…

Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Generation


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There is a conceptual move in this book that I find brilliant in its simplicity: Instead of talking about the "virtual" and the "real", with all the baggage that such a dichotomy carries, Coleman simply points out that what we inhabit and practice today is the "actual", composed of media and mediations as well as atoms and physical spaces. Seems obvious in retrospect, but I haven't seen it stated as clearly and strongly anywhere else. Working from this notion of life in the actual, Coleman concentrates on analyzing communicative practices in virtual worlds and notions of identity in new media. The text is relatively short, and some of the discussion seems a little superficial, but on the whole I find a lot of personal resonance in Coleman's position. I particularly like how she addresses several of the "seminal" references in this genre in order to disagree with them or improve markedly upon their reasoning. For interaction designers involved in new media, Hello Avatar might be a quick and accessible way to get a contemporary point of view to work from.
  jonas.lowgren | Nov 23, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0262015714, Hardcover)

Hello Avatar! Or, {llSay(0, "Hello, Avatar!"); is a tiny piece of user-friendly code that allows us to program our virtual selves. In Hello Avatar, B. Coleman examines a crucial aspect of our cultural shift from analog to digital: the continuum between online and off-, what she calls the "x-reality" that crosses between the virtual and the real. She looks at the emergence of a world that is neither virtual nor real but encompasses a multiplicity of network combinations. And she argues that it is the role of the avatar to help us express our new agency--our new power to customize our networked life. By avatar, Coleman means not just the animated figures that populate our screens but the gestalt of images, text, and multimedia that make up our online identities--in virtual worlds like Second Life and in the form of email, video chat, and other digital artifacts. Exploring such network activities as embodiment, extreme (virtual) violence, and the work in virtual reality labs, and offering sidebar interviews with designers and practitioners, she argues that what is new is real-time collaboration and copresence, the way we make connections using networked media and the cultures we have created around this. The star of this drama of expanded horizons is the networked subject--all of us who represent aspects of ourselves and our work across the mediascape.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:20 -0400)

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