Through the Looking Glass Self: Group Identity and Avatar Design in Second Life

Posted on November 1, 2010, 5:01 pm, by Nancy, under Virtual Worlds.

furryThrough the Looking Glass Self: Group Identity and Avatar Design in Second Life

Colorado State University/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Paper presented by Rosa Mikeal Martey and Mia Consalvo

Approaching the podium is a woman with bright pink streaks in her hair, dressed fully in black and with the brisk walk of someone possessing the cool sort of confidence. Automatically, through just her physical appearance and the spotlight setting, we label her as artistic, intelligent, and possibly Goth.  She speaks.  No accent proves a North American upbringing. Closer inspection brings piercings to light, extra layers of eyeliner, and the superior quality of her shirt’s fabric. A rebel? An intellectual? Upper-middle class? We make guesses without even realizing we are doing it. Her statements are digested with certain awareness, a new twist, based on accessories and hair choices and even her title, giving more weight to her speech than the written word alone could ever hope to convey.

It is unfair, biased, and yet completely typical. Read the rest of this entry »

Machinima Workshop @ imagineNative 2010

Posted on October 22, 2010, 11:34 am, by Jason, under RESOURCES, Virtual Worlds, Workshops.

Skawennati, Nancy and I are in Toronto this week, giving a two-day Machinima Workshop as part of imagineNative 2010. We have nine students, invited by iNative to participate, who spent yesterday on a very steep learning curve. Today we’re going to start shooting 3 30 second machinimas to enter into the Machinima Expo promo festival.

Machinima Teaching Sandbox, AbTeC Island (imagineNative 2010)

Machinima Teaching Sandbox, AbTeC Island (imagineNative 2010)

Rallying at imagineNATIVE

Posted on September 17, 2010, 11:18 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under INSPIRATION.

I usually measure years by the academic calendar–the beginning of Fall is the start of another year. There’s nothing better than seeing your accomplishments from past years acknowledged in the midst of working on new projects that you’re excited to finish and show. I’m wrapped up with creative work right now and looking forward to imagineNATIVE as a time to unwind and join in on the community experience of watching films and interacting with new media at a festival. Read the rest of this entry »

Skins @ FuturePlay

Posted on May 20, 2010, 6:55 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under Publications.

FuturePlay_logoI recently presented “Skins 1.0: A Curriculum for Designing Games with First Nations Youth” at FuturePlay 2010, which happens alongside GDC Canada in Vancouver, BC. The presentation was well-received and the paper will be published in ACM Proceedings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reflecting on Indigenous Women in Video Games

Posted on May 5, 2010, 4:33 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under Games.

custer-revenge431I recently presented “The Good, The Bad, and The Sultry: Indigenous Women in Video Games” at the Unpacking the Indigenous Female Body Symposium put on by Dana Claxton at Simon Fraser University. I figured I would share some of my thoughts since I’m all twisted up dreaming about new media culture jamming these representations.

So before you read this, keep in mind that I’m a gamer and a game writer. I don’t mean to condemn the game industry, nor do I mean to excuse it. The easy thing to do would be to shun the game industry and cast aside the medium, but there is great potential in games to incite change, given their educational and interactive properties. Not to mention they’re fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun in Four Directions: start of a sideshow of Aborginal avatars

Posted on April 21, 2010, 3:19 pm, by skawennati, under Artists, Virtual Worlds, representation.

I think it will be fun to do a slide show of portraits of AbTeC avatars for my presentation for PSi, the Performance Studies gathering I’ve been invited to in Toronto in June. So I’ve been looking through the hundreds of Second Life snapshots that I’ve taken over the last few years. Today I revisited an artwork from 2008, a collaboration between Bea Parsons and myself, called Guided By The Four Directions.

"Guided by the Four Directions" by Bea Parsons and Skawennati

"Guided by the Four Directions", 2008, Bea Parsons and Skawennati

The image, divided into quarters like a medicine wheel, depicts four incarnations of Bea’s Second Life avatar, Bea Box. Bea has spent countless hours exploring this virtual world, many of them devoted to finding skins, hairstyles, clothing and props that would make our avatars look “Native”.

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Posted on March 31, 2010, 1:07 pm, by skawennati, under Uncategorized.

I was searching through some old Word documents today and found this, from 2008, I think. It is still so ironic, just plain funny to me, that a bunch of Indians are buying virtual land with real money! But I am so glad we did, for all the reasons I wrote then:


• Space

Our own island in SL would be AbTeC’s on-line headquarters, an in-world place of our own to meet each other and to invite interested individuals to visit. We could easily run workshops, give lectures and present exhibitions from here.

• Time

As my research assistants and I build the sets, props and costumes for TimeTraveller™, we have come to realize the huge amount of time we’ve lost searching for places to set up our sets, only to have to pack them back up again at the end of a meeting or work session.  Having our own land, with the necessary building permissions, would allow us the time required to move forward on projects.  Additionally, if the sets can stay up, we don’t have to worry so much about being on-line at the same time.

• Sandbox/Sketch place

It occurs to me that Second Life could be a great tool for sketching animation.  In other words, even if a project will be realized in Maya, a quick sketch of the movie could be made in SL to show to animators and whoever else to convey the general idea of the storyboard, including camera angles & movement, characterization and locations.  Our sim could include a sandbox for building plus a kind of “black-box studio” for shooting animation.

Read the rest of this entry »

What is Research

Posted on February 12, 2010, 5:44 pm, by Angela, under Uncategorized.

Notes From:

Session II
Research, Ethics, Politics
February 12, 2010, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., LB 646 Library Building, 1400 De Maisonneuve Ouest

Presentations by:

Josh Schwebel: Escaping ‘What’ and ‘Is’: research beyond subject(s)

Ioana Radu: Doing research with aboriginal people: the role of knowledge mobilization, engaged scholarship and sharing authority

Eric Ronis: Every Story Needs a Villain (or Does It?): Framing Social Protest Research in 2010

Devora Neumark: Art and Ethics Within and Outside of the Academy

Discussant: Joel McKim (Concordia, Communication Studies)

Read the rest of this entry »

Support “Future First Nations”!

Posted on February 8, 2010, 4:39 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under RESOURCES, Workshops.

Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace’s learning initiative “Future First Nations: Native Storytelling through Virtual World Building” made it into MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition, but we need your help to win. Read the rest of this entry »

Techno Medicine Wheel: An Indigenous Alternate Reality Game

Posted on December 9, 2009, 10:59 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under Games.
Techno Medicine Wheel (TMW), inspired by the work of T’Uty’Tanat-Cease Wyss, is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) from the Aboriginal Media Lab that puts players in the role of healing themselves and the traditional Indigenous territories in and around Vancouver, British Columbia by experiencing Aboriginal values of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health.