Monday, 25 June 2007

13.36 from RL to SL

The 13.36 train from a town in Kent to Victoria is the unlikely vehicle taking me from one world to another. I'm going from my mum's art exhibition to SLUK 07 organised by Rivers Run Red.

I'm still not used to blurring the line and here I am on a real train, on my way to meet people I usually only deal with in Second Life.

In my hands are some photos that arrived this morning. Glossy prints on photographic paper of people and places that I have no other physical record of.

In one picture I'm sitting on the ground next to a friend outside a modern house. There are palm trees in the distance and a cluster of reeds on the foreground. We're looking at each other, talking.

Many of my friends in Second life would recognise the place straight away.

Others are portraits of avatars that are important to me, or places with special meaning. One is a self portrait.

The pictures are a snapshot of my second life. They would mean nothing even to my closest real life friends and family.

They were an experiment, partly to see how the digital screenshots I've been taking for over a year look on photographic paper, but mainly I was interested in how it would feel to hold these things in my hands.

I was surprised at the strength of feeling they evoked. The weirdest thing was that even though I've had pictures like this on my computer for over a year, they've always been separated out from my real life by their digital form.

When the computer was off or I'm not sitting at it, the virtual world fades fast in the absence of physical reminders.

Now I had these pictures in my hand in my hand.It felt like these images had crossed a great distance, like images from the surface of Mars. It felt like a line had been crossed.

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