Monday, May 21 marked the debut of the feature film “Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is me!”, created by Bernhard Drax. The grand opening was at the Accessibility Park Broadway Theater in Second Life, and the event was coordinated in SL by Krijon (Shyla the Super Gecko).
(see link below for full movie)
“Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is me!” tells the story of 13 global citizens and their avatars as they transcend their various disabilities through artistic expression and making a home in the VR Metaverse.
Filmmaker Bernhard Drax travels from California to rural South England to explore why a diverse group of people ranging from 24 to 92 years of age find solace, inspiration and deep friendship in a user-created digital wonderland that only exists inside their computers.
Drax sends his intrepid documentarian avatar Draxtor Despres into the virtual universes of Second Life as well as next generation VR platforms like High Fidelity and Sansar and – among many other adventures – he finds out why a 50-something Chicagoan feels best represented by a colorful gecko complete with superhero cape or why Cody LaScala – confined to a wheelchair his entire life – feels his avatar should look exactly like him.
The film follows researchers Tom Boellstorff and Donna Davis as they lead discussion groups and facilitate deep connections between real human beings in virtuality. We follow along as they travel to Silicon Valley to find out how the leading technologists design the future with disability in mind.
As Boellstorff and Davis finish up their 3-year study made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation [entitled “Virtual Worlds, Disability and New Cultures of the Embodied Self”], the film comes as a compressed compendium and visual guide to a seemingly unlimited array of possibilities for borderless human interaction.
Unique in its narrative approach, “Our Digital Selves” weaves together physical and virtual cinematography as the protagonists’ backstories are re-enacted via Machinima technique – real time animation – in the virtual world and in next generation VR platforms.
You can watch the full movie on YouTube at https://youtu.be/GQw02-me0W4.