VB37 – Sitting is the New Smoking

Vaneeesa Blaylock et al walking and jogging down a virtual street in Second Life

CIRCUIT LA CORSE / SAN DIEGO / MILAN, 26 April — Mad Men depicts a time, a couple generations ago, when we knew that smoking was dangerous, but it was relatively new news, and like Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush pretending Global Warming didn’t exist, Don Draper and his world could ignore the reality of their lifestyle. Today sitting is the new smoking. In the developed world, in the information economy, our work, our play, our education, our entertainment, all take place, in a large part, in front of a flat screen. And when we’re in front of a flat screen we tend to be sitting.

To our eyes in 2012, we can watch Don Draper and, if we like, see all the sexiness his smoking embodies. But we can also watch and imagine his voice altered by emphysema or his hair by chemotherapy. However our 2012 eyes do not yet see a person sitting in a chair and working at a flat screen as a self-destructive act. If you surf the web you’ll find many videos detailing the effects of sitting, and many showing off treadmill desks, from expenisve desks from high-end office furniture makers to inexpensive DIY ones. One of my favorite videos is one of the simplest, a 5 minute Ignite San Diego talk by Ernesto Ramirez in which he implores his audience to

Stand Up!

Screen Cap of Second Life Firestorm Viewer with avatars waking down a street

From Ernesto in San Diego, we move to Sara Rosso in Milan. She’s a food blogger, Automattic’s manager of VIP Global Services, and the organizer of the 2nd annual WorldWide WordPress 5k run/walk. The WWWP5k is a “virtual 5k,” meaning that it’s not a big group running down one street at the same moment, but people across the globe running down many streets, united by the goal of a more healthy lifestyle and the WordPress platform.

VB/CO decided to virtualize the virtual 5k. Actually to virtualize it twice. We’ve chosen to bring the WWWP5k to the virtual world, walking or running a 5k course that starts and ends at Circuit La Corse in Meewalh on the Second Life Mainland. And also to try to stand or do aerobics or use a treadmill (with your “walk” finger on your wireless keyboard or game pad)

We were inspired by Sara’s call to move, but you can’t do that and blog about it at the same time, so they’re serial activities. By combining Sara’s call with Ernesto’s call we’ve made them parallel processes in the VB-CO-WW-WP-5k! 🙂

Sepia Toned image of Jodi Nikolaidis, Vaneeesa Blaylock & Laurel Leavit
Jodi, Vaneeesa & Laurel


Bryn Oh
Gina Broono
Jodi Nikolaidis
Laurel Leavitt
Pixel Reanimator
Starshine Halasy
Sojourner Starship
Trill Zapatero
Vaneeesa Blaylock

R E L A T E D . M A T E R I A L S

Vaneeesa Blaylock / VB37 Previz
Vaneeesa Blaylock / Treadmill Desk

Ernesto Ramirez / About.me
Ernesto Ramirez / Wellovations
Ernesto Ramirez / Quantified Self

Sara Rosso.com
Sara Rosso / Food Blogger on a Diet
Sara Rosso / WWWP5k Announcement

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As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

1 thought on “VB37 – Sitting is the New Smoking

  1. Great post, Vaneeeeeesa! It’s so true. Statistics vary, but roughly 2/3rds of all Americans are overweight to some extent. It took more than just those supersized sodas and fries. Lack of exercise is a big part of it. Seeing kids consumed by their computers, televisions and smartphones portends of more sitting on butts. I think the burger & fries companies have lobbies every bit as powerful as the cigarette lobbies. If they didn’t, we’d see a massive movement to get people on their feet and active.

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