Second Front is an international performance art group who utilises a online world platform, Second Life as their main choice of medium. The group are made up of performance art (not performing arts) artists from around the world. They aim to explore new and different environments in the virtual world, like the game Second Life. In a way they are exploring how the third space can create a “alter self”.
In their work, Grand Theft Avatar, it is a live performance created in Second Life. Like any other virtual world game, Second Life has its own currency, laws, rules and regulations. They wanted to challenge the authenticity and embodiment of virtual identities by assuming avatar identities including those of Camille Utterback, Char Davies, Howard Rheingold and Christiane Paul to commit a parodied staging of a bank hold-up of the Linden treasury.
GREAT ESCAPE: One thing I think we’re looking to do is to question the underlying assumptions of Second Life and what it means to be a virtual being in that space. A dominant trend in Second Life is to shop, make friends online and participate in a virtual economy. The possibilities for the space haven’t been fully explored as of yet and so I think people are much more receptive to performances that they might be in real life. Because it is so new, we can have a huge affect on people’s thinking.
I think raises the question of authenticity and identity. Can anyone easily just “take over” or steal someone else in the virtual world? Also, how real is the virtual self in comparison to the real one? In a virtual world where anything and everything that is possible I think it is easy for identities to be “stolen” or “faked”. I think using Second Life as a platform allows for more unrestricted, creative, crazy ideas and experiments as compared to having to carry out in real life that is full of restrictions and limitations. It might not even be possible to carry this out in real life. Another aspect is that I believe that the virtual world makes us much bolder and daring. What we would do, interact or behave in real world might be a different reality when changed to something virtual. In this work, it raises the question of whether we trust and believe in everything we see in the virtual world?
To end off, I think this particular sentence stuck me a lot and it holds so much truth for the people of this century:
ALISE IBORG: While we as Second Life avatars become more real in the virtual world, so too, that we as human inhabitants of the real world become more virtual.