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The Oldest Profession in the Newest Worlds

Posted in ART, cyber, EROTICA, GAMES, kinky, LIFE, MEDIA, PROSTITUTION, PSYCHOLOGY, SEXUALITY, SOCIETY, Uncategorized, VIRTUAL WORLDS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2012/02/10 by pixierain

Piotr Kopik is a multimedia artist based in Warsaw, Poland. His work encompasses installations and live performances, graphic art, animation and machinima, painting and drawing.

He is currently working on a RL/SL documentary investigating the use of avatars as prostitutes and escorts.

Although the full documentary is scheduled for release later in 2012, a trailer video is available for us to see what Piotr has in mind.

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The documentary’s premise appears to be straightforward. Piotr, in a small non-human abstract-shaped avatar, films himself having voice sex with Second Life prostitutes. He then presents that footage to philosophers, sexologists, sociologists, writers, artists, professors and other experts for comment.

I think it is fair to say that although the commentators may well be experts in their own field, some are clearly quite naïve or unknowledgeable about Second Life. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself, from a documentary point of view. However, the remarks by Grzegorz Kowalski (Visual Arts Professor) that “Avatars are asexual to me” and “No matter what you do, it will never be pornography” seem to me to be very wide of the mark. What do you think?

I noticed that some of the SL filming appears to be rather clumsy, with the camera crashing into and through avatars’ heads. If a machinima appeared on NaughtyMachinma or SLPORN containing such a basic filming error, it could quite rightly be open to criticism. I am thinking that perhaps we need to give the benefit of the doubt in this case and assume it to be a deliberate editorial technique designed to “break immersion” and therefore exaggerate and emphasis the avatar/real person relationship.

I think my biggest concern is the danger that Piotr and his pool of experts represent that class of people that I have elsewhere described as “being *in* Second Life, but not being *part* of Second Life”.

This attitude, which can be seen in many of the educationalists in SL, in the investigators and market researchers, in some artists and, indeed, even in some Linden Lab employees results in a definite disconnect between the person and their avatar; an “outsider” approach to Second Life.

I think Piotr’s documentary has the potential to be interesting and penetrating – but only if he can avoid treating the subject matter as an “observer/outsider” and actually immerse himself. If he doesn’t manage to do this then the danger is that his film will be just another muckraking lampoon of Second Life which us residents cannot and will not take seriously.

And this would be both a shame and a missed opportunity.

The jury is still out.

Pixie Rain 

Cross-posted from http://jennnnnajameson.blogspot.com/2012/02/oldest-profession-in-newest-worlds.html

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