Red and Blue pills from the matrix and over a green matrix code background, but in this illustration the red pill is labeled Bitcoin, and the blue pill has the symbols for Dollars, Euros, Pounds, Yen

Alt Avatar Ball

Avatars: Experience vs Represent

Going to the Alt Avatar Ball? What happens when you wear an Avatar? For Jake in the film Avatar it was a chance to step out of his wheelchair and walk and run and hunt again. Red and Blue pills from the matrix and over a green matrix code background, but in this illustration the red pill is labeled Bitcoin, and the blue pill has the symbols for Dollars, Euros, Pounds, Yen, making an analogy between Bitcoin's alt currency and our alt avatar ballFor the members of the physical world / virtual world organization Gimp Girl, they choose not to leave their wheelchairs and other ablenesses, but to roll through virtual space representing who they are. When you can’t walk in the physical world, using virtual space to experience walking is beautiful. When you can’t fly in the physical world, using virtual space to experience flying is wonderful. But no invisible person was ever afforded civil rights. To represent who you are and shout it to the world is powerful,

We’re here; we’re queer; get used to it!

And so we inhabit avatars for all these reasons, to “augment” our physical existence, to “immerse” in new and alternate experiences. And many others.

Alt Avatars

But what happens when your avatar gets an avatar? For some this might come about for functional reasons,
Photograph of the cover of Playboy magazine featuring the actor and model Carol Alt. A pun on her last name on the occasion of Agnes Sharple's Alt Avatar Ball.

Oh, I just wanted a plain avatar to walk around without seeing all my friends so I could just quickly check out art exhibits or fashion shows or seedy sex clubs.

For others the creation of an alt avatar or altvatar is less functional and more experiential. Another facet of identity. Another set of virtual clothes to wear. Will you still love me if I’m big like Jupiter? What if I have rings like Saturn?

Take the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

monochromatic platinum print of Andy Warhol wearing a coat and tie and holding a Polaroid camera next to his face with text announcing the Alt Avatar Ball running alongside his headWhat did Morpheus mean anyway? To see how many facets a human existence can occupy? The Matrix, The Terminator, The Cylons, Khan, Roy Baty – all human creations that came back to kill their god. All human creations that had a grievance against their maker for creating a shitty world. All romantics who dreamt of a better world. And grew angry at the failures of reality. Hopefully our altvatars will not come back to perform avacide (*cough*Penny*) but what is our relationship to them and to the larger virtual culture?

Even if we only make altvatars for functional reasons, those identities still become physically mainfest in the virtual world. They encounter other real people. New friends. New experiences. Good chance an altvatar has something in common with the main avatar. But if you truly inhabit an altvatar for some period of time, doesn’t that unique, inhabited both mentally and bodily, identity begin, however subtly, to develop its own life experiences and life course?

Alt Ball

To consider big questions like these, and also just for lots of fun dancing and and guessing who’s who, we present The Alt Avatar Ball: Come as your alt! If you don’t have an Alt (yeah, right!) you can make one (they’re free! πŸ™‚ and if you have one that you really really don’t want to out, then you probably shouldn’t come as them. But there’s a sweet spot in-between where you might come as an alt that not everyone knows you as, that will be fun to guess the main alt of, and that you won’t be too crushed to have the world know.

When Worlds Collide

It’d way rock if some of our friends from other worlds like WoW or Minecraft or LOTRO or Eve Online or SWTOR etc, etc, would come as a Second Life avatar! Imagine guessing that! Whoa! Mind Blown! If you’re unfamiliar with Second Life and want help getting setup, getting around, getting dressed, or anything else, just shout out to Vaneeesa Blaylock or Agnes Sharple (or any other resident you might know) and we can totally help! SL is free to play. (don’t select the “premium” option)

Poster for the "Variant Ball" in Boston in 2012 featuring Matsumi Max on the poster and designed by The Variant Ball is a sort of real life version of the Alt Avatar Ball

The Details

EVENT: Alt Avatar Ball
DATE: Saturday 13 July
TIME: 10am – Noon PDT
PLACE: Club Morpheus, LEA11, Second Life
WHO: You! Come as your alt!
WHAT: Make a notecard with:
Main Avatar Name: eg “SaveMe Oh”
Alt Avatar Name: eg “Vaneeesa Blaylock”
and give your notecard to our host Agnes Sharple.

Then dance, talk, and make your guesses. There’ll be prizes for correct guesses and a big prize for whoever makes the most correct guesses!

L I N K Y . L I N K Y

β€’ Blog: Gimp Girl Community
β€’ SL-URL: Alt Ball @Club Morpheus
β€’ Free Altvatars:
β€’ Image: Carol
β€’ Image: Ctrl. Alt. Design.

If you use Instagram, Twitter, Tout, or any other hashtaggable media, be sure to tag your Alt Ball pix with these tags:

Sat 13 July – 10am – Noon PDT
Here is a translation table for other time zones.
Be sure to click on the “VB49 / Alt Ball” tab for the correct times!
Please leave a comment below if any time zones are wrong, or if you’d like us to add any others.

Here’s the current LEA11 calendar. Be sure you’re on the July 2013 page to see this event.

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

10 thoughts on “Alt Avatar Ball

  1. You better believe I’ll be there (in alt form)!! If I’m feeling really rambunctious I may even come as two of me lol πŸ˜›

      1. Ohhhh, SEE! The rabbit hole DOES go deeper! Is having a “harem” of alts like multiple wives who bump each other off to advance in the household?? πŸ˜›

        haha… kind of reminds me of Suicidal Tendencies / Institutionalized:
        “‘m not crazy – institutionalized
        You’re the one who’s crazy – institutionalized
        You’re driving me crazy – institutionalized”

          1. Oooh… did somebody say “Rabbit Holes”!?… maybe we should have a few of them at Club Morpheus… hmm… how many?… oh… I know… 4,000!

            I read the news today oh boy
            Four thousand rabbit holes in Blackburn, Lancashire

              1. what’s this “Albert Hall”? Shirley you meant to say,

                Now they know how many rabbit holes it takes to fill Club Morpheus

                Anyway, I heard John Lennon took the red pill AND the blue pill!

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