ARE 494 Digital Ethnography Benjamin Newton

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PowerPoint PresentationDigital Ethnography in Virtual WorldsPresented by Benjamin NewtonWally Oyen on Second LifeWhat is Digital Ethnography?By definition, Ethnography is the study of people and cultures. It is a process in which one tries to understand another culture from a particular point of view. Digital Ethnography on the other hand is the process of studying a people or culture in a virtual world.Second Life is a unique entity; it provides real-world people an opportunity to enter a culture completely separate from their own. A culture which plays by different rules and knows different way. On Second Life humans can create and express themselves without freedom unmatched by any other setting, and through this, a unique culture has arisen. Second Life is an ideal candidate for study through Digital Ethnography.The Stages of Digital EthnographyData CollectionData collections is the process of gathering information to be used in the research process. Data is collected from observances in virtual worlds or collected directly from the residents of such virtual worlds in its raw form to be used later on. Content AnalysisThe process of content analysis involves organizing and refining previously collected data. The raw data from step one is viewed and sorted based on factors determined by the researcher. These factors can be anything from the color of one type of data to the subject of the next. For the purposes of this presentation the data collected will be represented as a number of responses to questions relating to art and digital ethnography in a virtual world. Comparative AnalysisComparative analysis, the third stage of Digital Ethnography, occurs after data has been collected and sorted. Data is compared and analyzed not by itself, but in the context of the greater pool of data. Through this analysis the significance of each piece of data is determined based on its relationship to the other data. For example, content analysis would determine what the color of two different pieces of data are, while comparative analysis would allow the researcher to determine the significance. Context & AtmosphereSecond Life is a world filled with a staggering amount of different climates, peoples, and cultures. For the purposes of this presentation we will focus on the region known as Ars Simulacra. This region is an example of a location populated with artists and their world. The art present here is extraordinary; it takes full advantage of Second Lifes unique natural laws. I imagine the avatar would feel little more than cool are and the gentle whistling wind here.As a long-time resident of Second Life and highly skilled builder, I felt it necessary to focus on an area of the world where masterful skill would be needed to create works of art; works which I would not be able to fully understand their construction, only their form. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ars%20Simulacra/161/56/26My Impressions of Ars SimulacraUpon first arriving at Ars Simulacra I was greeted by a familiar courtyard with a few signs. This is common in Second Life as it helps avatars understand exactly where they are and what the regions is for. Unlike other regions though, the areas around this are meant purely for viewing, and the view is extraordinary.The terrain in this region is largely hills and water; very little flat terrain, which allows for pieces of art to be separated and remain in-context. The region is dark and calm, with glowing quiet sculpture looking down upon you. The grassy hills are topped with trees and gentle lighting, urging avatars to journey and explore.After leaving the first area a path leads you along a journey through the region, a walk through a gallery of immense sculpture. The more I moved through the region the more I was taken by the forms I found; the emotion generated by these works was intense, and I could not help but wonder how they came to be. The art present at Ars Simulacra is such that it could have only been created by a master of Second Lifes construction tools. They defy physics to show forms which would go otherwise unimagined. The Art of Ars SimulacraBeginning ResearchFollowing this experience at Ars Simulacra my research began as I started to understand exact what forms of art were present within this virtual world. I was filled with a curiosity about the process that an artist would undertake to create these works. This curiosity was the basis for the questions presented within this presentation. The data collection to answer these research questions would need to be nothing more than the thoughts and ideas of the avatars within it.This data, in combination with my own experience as an artist on Second Life would help me form a better understanding of not only the culture of Second Life, thinking processes of the more masterful artists present within the world. To collect data and answer my research questions I will be interviewing Marylou Goldrosen, an artist and education professor from Arizona State University.Research QuestionsIn what way does collaboration play a role in art in virtual worlds?How do the different natural laws of a virtual world affect the art produced within it?How does the life of an avatar compare to the life of the real-world human behind it? Data Collection An Interview with Marylou GoldrosenAvatar: Marylou GoldrosenWhen did you first get involved in SL?in 2006, I was mentored by my grad student who wanted educational resources for her Floaters group and meeting place on SL. My painting illustrations for children's book, Lindsey's Desert Surprise, are collaged at Floaters.What kind of art do you make on Second Life?I built my Art Ark School out of a basic prim, twisted it and knocked it over. I used a students tent example, Twisty. I made a T-Shirt and changed myself into lizard skin, and put on Rocker hair, and made my tail out of a stretched cone, with the added Feature wind to make it move.What kind of artist are you outside of Second Life?Well, my first degree was in Commercial Art, so I am a designer and Editor of 2 college yearbooks and a website director for 6 years. My photos are well edited in my research studies and I illustrated childrens books for 6 years (remember Floaters Lindseys Desert Surprise. What is remarkable about this book is that I did 3 research studies with children. The book inspired them to draw their favorite ecocritter and write a story about it. One study was just published in Canadian Review of Art EducationAdditionally, what do you do in the real world?In the real world, I am Professor of Art Education at Arizona State University for 25 years now and Head of Department. I teach this kind of research Digital Ethnography in Real Life too.In what ways do you collaborate using Second Life?Well, I have published with my graduate students and teachers in the schools.How did you make this artwork?My spinning sculpture is made of oval prims, connected with a spinning animation. I wrap my avatar friend Ronin's Three Magician's artwork around it.Future plans?I am working with Middle School kids on OpenSim at my local Sonoran Desert School. The site is called ASU Hive. In 2 weeks, we will be making 3-D animals using sculptie Build tool. This tool makes forms more organic. I want to film more on Second Life, so I am trying to take a course this summer. I did make a short movie Lizard of ARS [ART} with 1. with students. The Lizard keeps on searching for ART but never finds itContent Analysis An Interview with Marylou GoldrosenGiven the questions and answers, I organized the data in to a table to better view and understand the avatars responses. 1234567QWhen did you first get involved in Second Life?What kind of art do you make on Second Life?What kind of artist are you outside of Second Life?What do you do in the real world?In what ways do you collaborate on Second Life?How did you make this artwork? (relating to the spinning oval sculpture)What are your future plans relating to Second Life?Ain 2006, I was mentored by my grad student who wanted educational resources for her Floaters group and meeting place on SL. My painting illustrations for children's book, Lindsey's Desert Surprise, are collaged at Floaters.I built my Art Ark School out of a basic prim, twisted it and knocked it over. I used a students tent example, Twisty. I made a T-Shirt and changed myself into lizard skin, and put on Rocker hair, and made my tail out of a stretched cone, with the added Feature wind to make it move.Well, my first degree was in Commercial Art, so I am a designer and Editor of 2 college yearbooks and a website director for 6 years. My photos are well edited in my research studies and I illustrated childrens books for 6 years (remember Floaters Lindseys Desert Surprise. What is remarkable about this book is that I did 3 research studies with children. The book inspired them to draw their favorite ecocritter and write a story about it. One study was just published in Canadian Review of Art EducationIn the real world, I am Professor of Art Education at Arizona State University for 25 years now and Head of Department. I teach this kind of research Digital Ethnography in Real Life too.Well, I have published with my graduate students and teachers in the schools.My spinning sculpture is made of oval prims, connected with a spinning animation. I wrap my avatar friend Ronin's Three Magician's artwork around it.I am working with Middle School kids on OpenSim at my local Sonoran Desert School. The site is called ASU Hive. In 2 weeks, we will be making 3-D animals using sculptie Build tool. This tool makes forms more organic. I want to film more on Second Life, so I am trying to take a course this summer. I did make a short movie Lizard of ARS [ART} with 1. with students. The Lizard keeps on searching for ART but never finds itComparative Analysis and ConclusionResearch Question 1: In what way does collaboration play a role in art in virtual worlds?For Professor Stokrocki, virtual worlds allow her to collaborate closely with others, particularly grad students and teachers of other universities. It allows for collaboration directly without the need to travel or in some cases translation. The virtual world provides a closer-knit net of knowledge and skills that can be used to advance art education. Research Question 2: How do the different natural laws of a virtual world affect the art produced within it?The extreme differences in natural laws in Second Life allow Marylou to produce her artwork. In her ovals sculpture, to create the forms present in art within the real world would have been extremely difficult. In the virtual world however she was able to express the forms how she saw them. Research Question 3: How does the life of an avatar compare to the life of the real-world human behind it?For Professor Stokrocki, the life of her avatar is shockingly similar to the life of her real-world self. She teachers art education both inside and out of Second Life, however in Second Life students are offered a better set of tools to express themselves fully. Primary differences include the appearance of her avatar and the space in which she works. On Second Life the features of her avatar can be a perfect representation of her feelings or personality; a work of art in itself because it is not bound by the rules of the real world. Comparative Analysis and ConclusionMary Stokrocki (Marylou Goldrosen) is a professor of art education at Arizona State University currently focusing on the application of education in the virtual world, particularly in Second Life. Her art, which can be found at Art Ark on Second Life uses complex three dimensional forms in combination with 2D works of art to create moving structures which would be otherwise impossible to create in the real world, as seen below in her Oval Sculpture. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Teaching%2010/59/250/34Professor Stokrocki utilizes Second Life to teach form and art education; she teaches Digital Ethnography inside and out of Second Life. Comparative Analysis and ConclusionMarylou Goldrosen collaborates heavily in Second Life with her graduate students and other professors not throughout the university, but throughout the world. Through her work on Second Life the abilities of virtual worlds as a collaboration tool is highlighted heavily; it removes many of the barriers presented when collaboration is attempted outside of virtual worlds, such as the language barrier or differences in skillset. Comparative Analysis and ConclusionComparing my findings to Joe SanchezOne of the strengths of social virtual worlds like Second Life is in the ability they provide users to connect to geospatially disparate people with common interests and goals. (Sanchez)As presented in the quote above, Joe Sanchez highlights Second Lifes unique ability to bridge worldly gaps to bring people together with similar interests. This is similar to Mary Stokrockis experience collaborating with other professors in Second Life. These universities that collaborate through Second Life have very real world locations with real world goals, but as they are separate universities their goals are physically different. Using Second Life these universities can combine their efforts to work towards a central goal. Second Life an become a virtual-world platform for real-life community engagement. (Sanchez).Quotes from Pedagogical Applications of Second Life by Joe SanchezMy Background on Second LifeMy name is Benjamin Newton, or Wally Oyen on Second Life. Since 2007 I have been a resident of Second Life and have owned a variety of businesses on the Teen grid. Over the years I have become a master of the building tools used with Second Life, and have created many pieces of art of my own. My time conducting this research on Second Life has shown me another perspective of the culture of Second Life, and the enormous contrast that exists between it and my experience on Second Life. Second Life to me and many of my contemporaries was nothing more than a complex game in which users could decide their own fate. To many others however, as I have learned through this research, it is a world of its own filled with immersive culture and expression of self.The following slides contain a small sample of my work in Second Life as an artist.During my time on Second Life I have made many friends, fought in wars, constructed starships, owned successful businesses, and created beautiful works of art. Second Life LocationsMarylou Goldrosen at Art Arkhttp://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Teaching%2010/59/250/34Ars Simulacrahttp://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ars%20Simulacra/161/56/26