Join Us @MU College of Avatar Architecture

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Hello all! The Medici University College of Avatar Architecture & Virtual Urban Planning is opening on 1 April 2017 and will run for 3 months to 30 June 2017. Y-O-U are invited to participate.


image: facepla.net

College Your Way #

Remember our campus @LEA23? Here’s a great video reminder courtesy of Chaplain Beedit:

One More Walk from R marie on Vimeo.

If you do remember the LEA23 campus you know, or if this video was your first look at it, I hope you can tell, that Medici University has always been a place where students define their own curriculum. Everyone is welcome and everyone is encouraged to participate in any way they choose.

Want to

  • Open a bacon-themed Coffee Shop?
  • Build a dance club on top of the giant head of a pop star?
  • Create a campus-wide monorail system?
  • Hold drawing classes & hot tub philosophy meetups?
  • Be a rooftop DJ?
  • Open an Art Museum?
  • Or a day care center?

Great! Do it!

Avatar Architecture #

Even though all manner of participation is welcome, I really would like to encourage you to think about Avatar Architecture. For sure, the Impossible IRL movement has created extraordinary experiences for many years. Even so, the bulk of the architecture in VR is so tied to RL architecture.

We do love tradition! 2,000 years later architecture is still in resonance with the aesthetics of Classical Greece & Rome. I say “in resonance,” because sometimes we’re having a neoclassical revival, and others we’re rejecting the classical. But we keep thinking about it. If Classical Architecture still matters IRL 2,000 years later, it shouldn’t be a surprise that RL architecture still influences VR after a handful of years.

This is precisely why I’m excited to see The MU College of Avatar Architecture opening!

Let’s think about the parameters of our world. What an avatar needs is pretty different from what a fleshvatar needs. In terms of emotional connection, there might be a lot of overlap. In fact, emotionally we might favor skeuomorphic design because it imparts a sort of authenticity. Because it can make a place seem “real”. But in terms of physical needs, it can be pretty different. Let’s explore that!

Virtual Urban Planning #

Jane Jacobs (1916 – 2006) literally wrote the book on Urban Planning. The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a masterpiece of urban planning and community development.

So much of our VR world is plop planning. my-cool-thing-here next to whatever-the-hell-you-put-there.

At MU @LEA23 we tried to create a walkable, community space. To some degree we succeeded. We also learned that a lot of people hate to walk! And that others have visual or other needs that make walking around 6.5 hectares of virtual land challenging.

At The College of Avatar Architecture I hope we can really think about Virtual Urban Planning. About creating virtual spaces that create community. Jane Jacobs wrote about how cars can destroy community and in VR we see how telelporting, while convenient, can prevent the development of neighborhoods. It’s great to teleport from one part of the world to another, but do we do so at the cost of a sense of place?

Jane’s Walk 2017 #

212 cities around the world participated in Jane’s Walk 2016. And Medici University is the only Virtual City to participate!

The next global festival of citizen-led walking tours towards community-based city building
is on 5, 6 & 7 May 2017. And you’re invited to join a walk, or to lead one! We’d definitely like to have walks of the MU College of Avatar Architecture & Virtual Urban Planning. And walks of any VR place you know and love are also welcome.

See You on Campus! #

What new ideas about ways to live in VR will you explore?

xoxo

~ Elizabeth Taylor Swift


image: ArchiDatum.com

About Vanessa Blaylock

I was the Choreographer at Vanessa Blaylock Dancers and the Artistic Director at Vanessa Blaylock Company. Today my work focuses on Public Art projects. I'm interested in the mediation of perception and mixed reality performance works. I'm passionate about community and civil rights in cyberspace.