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  • Date
    20 OCTOBER 2022
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    In the Future Everyone Will Have an Avatar for 15 Minutes

    The present manifestations of Avatar Dream in many modern societies involve using a virtual identity for communication, data sharing, and interaction within a computer-based environment (virtual). The Avatar Dream is no panacea to problems in social identities; virtual identities are merely technological components of the larger phenomena of human identities, and of the myriad concepts, artifacts, and interactions that generate them.

    Although avatars are sometimes viewed as mere technologically constructed visual artifacts, a more expansive perspective holds that virtual identities function as significant ways in which individuals imagine or express themselves. An avatar is also one way that individuals express their multi-personality, sometimes even having multiple avatars simultaneously present in-world. This partial anonymity allows people to relax and become more expressive and creative with their interactions. The identity leash, how we design avatar systems — and how people use them — defines where avatars fall in the continuum of control.

    Artwork by Harriet Davey (she/they), Berlin-based 3D artist known for her magical alien-like creatures.

    When considering more constricted, everyday, media-mediated interfaces to perform expressions on an avatar, the issue of authenticity in body language becomes murky. It is essential for avatars to encapsulate sufficient social-cultural nuance for facial expression, body language, walking, speech styles, and personalities. Simply being able to alter the avatars physical appearance is insufficient to support the needs of individuals for self-expression in the use of a virtual identity.

    Users should not have to code all of these forms of expression from scratch, but should be able to express themselves through avatars via easy-to-use interfaces. Consider how we would use avatars to not only interact, express, and create, but also to persuade, gain friends, and influence people.

    A language that would allow us to say things that cannot be said now, to see things that cannot be seen now, view ourselves and others in ways that bring us together, that expand all possibilities. Just as written languages offer a codification for spoken communication, the emerging body language alphabet, which is yet to be articulated, will take shape, enabling nonverbal expressiveness in real time online. Imagine controlling a virtual person equipped with a Babelfish nonverbal — it allows body movements and expressions to be translated between cultures.

    Artwork by Harriet Davey (she/they), CGI artist, AR maker, and Art Director.

    In real life, the human body is one of the richest texts of images, and a text, in this case, is a collection of signs to be interpreted. Death and the human body, with respect to the arts, remains an integral part of fiction, as well as of novel events.

    The novel alluded to the New Generation Earth Art, in which human bodies are suspended in animation (p.16). The novel explores the possibilities of moving away from the natural world into a one in which humans initiate a passage into immortality by freezing bodies cryogenically. This symbiotic relationship between the human body and technology, human beings and the post-human, is the (content of the) works presentation of a new step forward on the terms of evolution, as well as new energies in the context of post-humanism.

    Posthumanism, in contrast, and particularly within its critical embodiment, is also a new conceptualization of the human. The human is embodiment, as is the human mind, human language, and the phenomenological reception of the human. It is also evident that we believe the self is perceived as the sum total of the mental, physical, and we, as humans, are composed, as subjects, of an embodiment and language order. The term body language is sometimes used to also mean a persons static visual attributes, projected through fashion and grooming, that is clothes, hair, jewellery, body structure, and other accessories, which convey personality, status, culture, mood, and attitudes.

    Viatrix’s Odyssey 2022, by Harriet Davey, from the exhibition ‘UFO — Unidentified Fluid Other’ at NXT Museum

    AI-Generated text edited by
    Gloria Maria Cappelletti, editor in chief, RED-EYE

    All artworks courtesy of Harriet Davey

    Artwork by Harriet Davey (she/they), Berlin-based 3D artist known for her magical alien-like creatures.

    Favorite books you need in your Web3 reading life:

    Zero K, 2016 novel by American author Don DeLillo

    To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death, 2017 nonfiction book by Slate columnist and literary journalist Mark O’Connell

    Ready Player One & Two, (2011, 2020) science fiction novels by American author Ernest Cline

    Lexicon, novel written by Max Barry. Published in 2013, it is Barry’s fifth novel, following Machine Man, published two years earlier.

    Augmented Human: How Technology Is Shaping the New Reality, 2017, by Augmented Reality pioneer Dr. Helen Papagiannis

    Accelerando (Singularity), 2005, science fiction novel by British author Charles Stross