selenium-toned photograph of Asmita Duranjaya flying through a dark world densely filled with energetic orbs

Day 3: Camming the Neighbors & Preparing 4 a Parade

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Before taking a look at today’s developments on the CAA-VUP campus, let’s cam the neighbors. Oh, and as long as I’m perving around the grid, let’s have a parade!

Convocation & Pride Parade #

This Saturday is a big day for us! At 10am SLT on Saturday 8 April ’17 we’ll have our College of Avatar Architecture Convocation. We already soft opened last Saturday of course, but this will be the official start to our academic season. Chaplain Beedit will say something profound and vaguely spiritual. We’ll declare the campus open. And then we’ll have an Avatar Pride Parade through our own campus on LEA1, and also through our contiguous neighbors on LEA1-LEA9.

selenium-toned photograph of Asmita Duranjaya flying through a dark world densely filled with energetic orbs
Asmita Duranjaya flying through her installation “Energy” at LEA9

Asmita Duranjaya #

Camming around today I came across the beautiful Energy installation at LEA9 by Asmita Duranjaya. Like CAA-VUP, Duranjaya started on 1 April. I think we’ve done a pretty nice job of rolling our our multi-participant, collaborative experiment in VR Architecture & Urban Planning. But holy crap! You won’t believe what a world Duranjaya has created in 3 days! Genesis was impressive, but this!? Wow. You should visit. Or just join the parade on Saturday and we can all visit.

Roman Levar & Asmita Duranjaya in Duranjaya's "Energy" installation at LEA9 in the virtual world of Second Lilfe
Roman Levar & Asmita Duranjaya
Stefania Colmar sticking her tongue out at me
Stefania Colmar

Meanwhile over at LEA5, Stefania Colmar stuck her tongue out at me.

Avatar Pride Parade #

I hope Saturday’s Convocation & Avatar Pride Parade will be a great event. I’ve been fortunate to facilitate over 100 events with a over 1,000 avatar participants in the past 8 years here:

Out of all of that I don’t think anything has been more engaging, satisfying, and meaningful than the Pride Parades we have done. A Pride Parade is a lot of fun. It’s silly. It’s a chance to dress up. It is play. They almost always end in a big dance party.

But silly and fun as an Avatar Pride Parade is, it is also a deeply important statement. It is a statement that we exist. And that we are worthy of existing.

Here in our cozy little virtual world things are fairly easy. Most residents, even if “poor,” are still from the Global North, and have a comparatively easy time of things. At least we have computers and Internet connections.

Cozy as it may be in our little world, it’s worth remembering that there are those who hate our kind. At least when a giant steamroller like Facebook decides to begin the mass banning of Drag Queens, they can appeal to the City of San Francisco who will intervene with Facebook on the Drag Queens behalf. When a platform like Facebook exterminates thousands of avatar accounts, as they often do, there is no one to stand with us.

Why even want to be on a platform like Facebook, or previously Google+, when it rejects us? Good question. One of the saddest, most painful, and most softly beautiful things I’ve ever seen, was an avatar who’d been banned by Facebook. Over a number of years he’d gathered over 1,000 mostly avatar friends on FB. His avatar partner was his FB partner. And then Facebook decided to ban him and cut all those ties to his friends and the people he loved. I didn’t know this avatar before his ban. I found him post-ban when he’d created a new FB account. He had just a few FB friends and was announcing that this was his new account and that anyone who knew him should please refriend him and help him rebuild his life.

Why be on a platform that rejects your kind?

I used to wonder about the phenomena of the Gay Christian. I get being gay. I get being Christian. But I didn’t get why someone would want to be part of a church that rejects them? Then I saw the excellent documentary We’re All Angels and I understood.

We have a right to exist. We have a right to participate in culture. We should have access to communication channels. When channels like Friendster, or Google+, or Facebook say our kind isn’t welcome, that we should go somewhere else, they are ghettoizing us into the corners of culture.

And so we march.

Mostly we march to be silly and to have fun. But we also march to say that we exist. And that even if our “biology” is of pixels instead of cells, that we have a right to exist.

skyline view of the College of Avatar Architecture
Day 3 – Five towers on Campus!

Air Supremacy @LEA1 #

Meanwhile, back at CAA-VUP, the tower wars continue!

Who knew that CAA-VUP would become an air war of tall towers! Day 3 ended with 5 towers! In this scene from Left to Right, and measuring not from the ground at +20m, but from the ocean floor at +0m here are the top or observation deck heights of our 5 towers:

  • Emma’s Radio Tower: +85m
  • ETS Lighthouse: +47m
  • Sun Cat Mellison’s Hello Tower: +53m
  • Olive’s Apartment Tower (roof): +77m
  • Chris Craft’s (new, lower) Space Needle: +100m
Standing on top of Olive's Apartment Tower with Chris Craft's Space Needle in the distance behind me.
Standing on top of Olive’s Apartment Tower with Chris Craft’s Space Needle in the distance behind me.
Standing on the Observation Deck of Chris Craft's Space Needle and looking across at the CAA campus.
Standing on the Observation Deck of Chris Craft’s Space Needle and looking across at the CAA campus.

Around Campus #

And life on campus went on.

5 avatars sitting on the ledge of a jacuzzi
Sun Cat, Olive, Mo & ETS @Sun Cat’s Jacuzzi!
an open air dome structure on the campus of  Medici University's College of Avatar Architecture
Chaplain Beedit’s dome

Crazy, I know, but Chaplain Beedit didn’t build a tower! 😛 Instead she created this elegant dome and garden. It’s a beautiful spot for rest, relaxation and meditation. She also sent this video along:

Thank you everyone for being a part of MU’s College of Avatar Architecture & Virtual Urban Planning.

3 Days Down.
88 Days to Go!

See you on campus,

Vanessa Blaylock's signature

Elizabeth Taylor Swift relaxing on the deck of a wooden lighthouse
chillaxin on the deck of my old lighthouse

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.