Monday, October 8, 2007

It's not easy being small and green

My pal Jackal Ennui is a shoe and jewelry designer in Second Life. She's been around for quite some time, and knows the coolest places to take people, including this build, called "Greenies Home" (Greenies Home Rezzable, 202, 31, 42).

The build is a replica of an ordinary apartment, except it's on an enormous scale. Everything is huge! Walking around it makes you feel a bit like a mouse. In fact, it made me ponder that perception is everything, especially in online environments.

Altered perception makes me think about identity. I pondered the oft-repeated sociocultural truism that you perceive yourself in a certain way, but only based upon the things around you. Real life example: in Thailand, I considered myself tall. I felt so tall that I developed a habit of slouching to appear shorter. In America, I'm not tall at all, and even on the medium to short side (but sadly the slouching habit was already in place).

One of the "play affordances" (Angela Thomas's term) of Second Life is that it allows you to move through radically different environments. In one you might be surrounded by Victorian-era people, and realize that you feel underdressed in jeans. In another, everyone might be a horse or a dragon, and you might feel too human!

This particular build made me think about dimensions, and about how I only see the human-scale world. The world operates on dozens, perhaps uncountable numbers of different scales, however. Alba's world is three feet tall. Insects have an entirely different perception. Microbes have yet another... Second Life certainly helped me open my eyes to this difference.