21st century education
Aphrodite in her Chain-mail Nightie (Reflection on “The Planets”)

Aphrodite in her Chain-mail Nightie (Reflection on “The Planets”)

Did come thrice with Mars…

I didn’t actually end up dressing in a chain-mail nightie, but I would have liked to if I’d had more time!

Ysidora dancing midnight 1_001

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Vanessa Blaylock asked me to participate in her Dance for Camera: The Planets, which would be staged in Oceania Planetary Park LEA 27, created by Kimika Yang as part of her 2013 AIR project with Linden Endowment for the Arts. Because the space closed on December 31, we had to scramble to get it done, especially because I had never been in Second Life before. However, I am a glutton for deadlines — because they motivate me — so we hit it just as the new year closed. Yay!

Creating my avatar was its own odyssey. At first I used a generic avatar offered at the free sign-up stage in Second Life, but I could tell Vanessa didn’t like it, although she didn’t come out and say, “Your avatar sucks,” because she is not the type who’d do that (although her ancestor Isabella deMedici might be).

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 7.43.44 AM

Mars LEA_006



Finally, I decided on my “look,” modeled on this woman (Ysidora Pico y Forster), the inspiratrix for my own current project, “What’s on [My] Mind?”

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 7.34.25 AM

Ysidora in the unknown 4_001


Let’s just say, that my experience in SL has taken me back to being 14 years old emotionally — completely shy, unsure of what to do there, avoiding strangers (and they’re all strangers except for Vanessa). Vanessa’s like my cool friend who instructs me about what to wear, how to act, who the other cool kids are, how to dance, what parties to attend. She even took me shopping for this project, and spotted me L$2000, so I could get some good hair and clothes. At first I was a little freaked about the L$ amount, but she assured me that L$2000 was the equivalent of a trip to Starbucks. 

vanessa and ysidora14_001

Just like in high school, I spent an inordinate time trying to get my hair and outfit to look right. In fact, I actually felt like a toddler trying to put the clothes and hair on at all. 

Working with Vanessa was an awesome experience overall. I learned so much in such a short time that I probably have forgotten a lot of it already. My children (aged 7 and 9) are super impressed with her (as serious Minecrafters themselves, they have been VERY supportive of my learning and participating in a virtual environment); I think they see her as Athena to my Telemachus.

Not sure what she’s going to be doing (if anything more) with her Dance for Camera project, but I look forward to continuing our work and play together.

vanessa and ysidora16_001

Next up: #1850charla — where you can join in conversation with Isabella deMedici, Ysidora Pico y Forster and others)


  1. Aww, I didn’t hate your “factory avatar”! 😀 I just assumed that as a factory model she probably didn’t represent your vision as completely as she might. The avatar you wound up creating is amazing. In SL it’s not too hard to make an avatar that looks like a sexy 16-year-old with 0% bodyfat. But to make any other, more specific, types, that’s much more challenging. In spite of a bit of frustration which amazingly didn’t seem to frustrate you much, you really put a unique look together. Perhaps this avatar / ancestor is someone you can work with a bit to think about or experience. The virtual world really is an embodied place in, I think, a special way. IRL you can “dress up” and for sure have a different experience, but within limits. Duchamp & Warhol’s drag personas were amusing, but not really very deep investigations. You can do all kinds of things on the myriad platform of the 2D web, but when your avatar can walk around and interact, that seems unique. And it does seem like a place rich with the potential to weave new narratives not “written” by one master storyteller.

  2. Pingback: Ysidora Pico de Forster Reborn | What's on [My] Mind?

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