ARE 494 Digital ethnography

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Digital Ethnography And Virtual Worlds

Digital EthnographyAnd Virtual WorldsExploring the virtual world of Second Lifes cultural and educational benefits.By: Amy Gaston Avatar Name: Amycg5ARE 494Dr. Mary Stokrocki4-27-16


Ethnography- is defined as the study of humans and their cultures. This is similar to anthropology however, it differs by studying the culture from the inside out, by actively being involved in the particular culture.

Digital Ethnography- is defined as studying and participating in cultures that use digital methods to exist and socialize.

My avatar dancing at Greased Lightning day and nightclub on Second Life.

Stages of Digital ethnographyStage 1: Data collection- is defined as collecting information that can be used for understanding and research.

Stage 2: Content analysis- is a way of using the collection of data to categorize by theme or to find a pattern with in the observed information.

Stage 3: Comparative analysis- is the process of using the found themes within the data to compare and contrast the information.

Behind my avatar is a digital painting by Mathilde Vhargon titled "Arrows and Targets". I found this piece at The Horus Art Gallery on Second Life.

My personal adventures on Second life

Second Life has given me the opportunity to explore worlds, cultures and art I would have never been able to go in real life. You have 24 hour access to anywhere and anything you could possibly imagine. You can look like or be anyone you want through your avatar. I have even found that you can act anyway you want, which can be good or bad.

In my travels I have encountered enchanting laughing flower gardens, floating moving sculptures, open air dance clubs, created my own sculptures and visited some of the worlds most famous art galleries.

ResearchResearch Questions:Who is the avatar artist? What is the artwork title? Name one on SL and where can we find it?Why did you choose it?How did you gain access to reach the avatar?What is its style?.What kind of art does s/he make on Second Life? Why do you make it on Second Life? What kind of artist are you in Real Life?

An image of Marylou posing for a picture next to her Art Ark.

Artist/ Professor/ Avatar

I was very fortunate to interview Dr. Mary Stockrocki on Second Life. She is the professor of Art Education at Arizona State University. She is an artist whos work has been published as illustrations in childrens books. She has also created the avatar Marylou Goldrosen and in using her avatar she created the Art Ark on Second Life to embrace technology and encourage digital education.

Research answersResearch Questions:Who is the avatar artist? I chose to interview Marylou Goldrosen.What is the artwork title? The Art Ark.Why did you choose it? I chose the Art Ark because I found this education tool to be interesting and convenient way to teach students. This is also a way to embrace technology and use it to your advantage.How did you gain access to reach the avatar? I contacted Marylou through email. What is its style? The style of the Art Ark is very natural with contemporary structures. What kind of art does s/he make on Second Life? As an avatar, Marylou has created the Art Ark. In this ark is the Lizard of ARS and the floating classroom which contains sculptures from the avatars of her real life students.Why do you make it on Second Life? Marylou utilizes Second Life as a tool for teaching. Students learn about the culture of having an online persona as well as a vehicle for learning about and how to create art. What kind of artist are you in Real Life? Marylou has painted and drawn pieces that have been published in children's books such as: Tjs Desert Surprise, Sarahs Desert Surprise, and Lindseys Desert Surprise.

ContextThe Art ArkThe Art Ark is located on an island in Second Life. This a space where students come to meet as well as install their sculptures and kitschy art masks. Located under the ark is a rug with special meanings. The rug is woven and has different symbols that represent land, animals and even spirits. Students are required to describe, analyze judge and interpret this rug to find a deeper meaning.


The Lizard of ARS The Lizard of ARS is a space located across from the Art Ark where students post images of their punny masks. The Lizard of ARS is a play off of the movie The Wizard of OZ. Students create a funny mask that is a satire off of the movie, an animal and kitschy art!


Sustainable ArchitectureNear the Art Ark is a large panel with an image of a past student who created a twisted sculpture in Second Life. This image gives a short description of how the sculpture was created and who the student was. This sculpture was created by Warrior Levi who was 18 yrs old at the time. He titled this piece Awesome Twisty.

Data collection and interview

I met Marylou Goldrosen at her Art Ark. She wore her amazing Lizard of ARS outfit and even her hair held the shape of a lizards spikes! She led me on a tour of her ark and she informed me of how it was created. She told me about how the ark was formed by using the same techniques as Warrior Levi. I was also informed that she changes the appearance of the ark by taking an image and wrapping it around the ark itself, allowing for different looks. I allowed Marylou to lead the interview, while I asked occasional questions. After her tour of the ark, she teleported me to Floaters. This is an island on Second Life where college students from a variety of classes come to learn, build sculptures and attend class. Here, Marylou went into detail about some of the sculptures and come of the real life art she does. Towards the end of the interview she congratulated me for completing her course and gifted me with a pair of butterfly wings. She showed me how to attach the wings to my avatar and I will proudly show them off to everyone on Second Life.

Content analysisAvatar 1MaryLou GoldrosenWhat is Art?The Art Ark and Lizard of ARSWhat is title -favorite artwork? Why choose?Art Ark and Lizard of ARS. This was chosen because it is a unique place to display art.Why make it?It is made as a tool to teach students about digital culture and art.How made?The ark is made from a twisted sculpture with an image wrapped around it.Where from?The ark itself was inspired by a past student who created a twisted tent.Expression:Color, line, etc.?The ark appears to look like a red jello mold. It looks clear with lots of shadows and highlights. The overall feel is very contemporary and light in design.Collaborate with whom?Marylou shares the island with other professors that teach classes on Second Life.Evolving Question?The question I have that I did not ask is do you think that Second Life will be an evolving and relevant tool for people to socialize and learn?

Comparative analysisSecond life has given Marylou away to connect with colleagues, students and other artists. Not only has she posted and used her own artwork to display, but she uses Second Life as a tool for teaching about digital culture. She also assists in the learning and creation for students to build their own sculptures. Once these sculptures are built, they are installed at the Art Ark for future students to view and learn from. In using Second Life Marylou is thinking outside the box or outside the classroom (literally) to educate her students as opposed to using a traditional classroom setting.

My conclusions

In this interview and in this course I have developed a deeper understanding of how and why people use digital media and form different cultures. I have learned that the people on Second Life take their avatar persona very seriously and in this seriousness becomes a very intricate and unique world where literally anything can happen. I have also found that most of the time the people you meet on Second Life are extremely friendly and inviting. In my interview with Marylou Goldrosen I learned how you can use Second Life as a tool for education and art. Learning doesn't always happen in the classroom and you can travel the world and meet new cultures from your computer! My avatar trying on my first set of wings. They were a gift from Marylou Godrosen.