Today is the 675th day I have been a resident of Second Life. I think there have only been two or three days that I haven't been in-world. I have been asking myself for the past several months what it is that brings me back to this place. I came to Second Life with no idea what to expect. I immediately felt out of place. This is a feeling that has not left me. Early on I was curious about what people had done here and I explored the mainland. Later, I was lucky enough to get my own house. I still have that house. It will remain as my home in Second Life for as long as I stay here.
Once that I had some roots, I began to meet other people. The idea of being part of a community rather than just being a roaming nomad excited me. I have made a few friends who have been very kind to me. I have seen people come and I have seen people go. Many of those who are gone left crushed and broken hearted. I have seen people leave and be completely forgotten immediately by others. It makes one feel very insignificant. I realize that what I had seen as community is largely illusionary. I have enjoyed Second Life. It has made me laugh. It has also made me feel very sad and isolated. The loneliness here can often be overwhelming.
Six weeks ago, I saw China Tracy's Second Life "iMirror" video. It is a 30 minute film that was shown at this year's Venice Biennale. China Tracy is a Chinese artist named Cao Fei.
"Cao Fei, born in Guangdong, China in 1978. She has been working with video, photography, performance, experimental theatre, documentary and fictional films, writing and other media. She vividly express the intense experiences of a young generation of Chinese urban youth navigating the wave of modernisation, urbanisation and globalisation. With an incredibly fresh but vigilant sense of humour, she examines and makes visible the very realities and dreams of this generation in various contexts from work to play, from suffering to happiness."
I like the text she has at the end of part three of iMirror:
"I always imagine human beings behind hollow digits, all those lonely souls. We are not what we originally are, and yet we remain unchanged. Hopefully there's new possibility of combination in our electronic second life, a new force which transcend this mortal coil. On the reality's end of this combined ultra-space there are still love for simplicity and the pursuit of freedom. We are thrown into this world hollow. Every world is an abyss. God loves people, but we are also each other's salvation. To go virtual is the only way to forget about the real darkness."
Here is part three of China Tracy's iMirror:
This is the best of the Second Life videos that I have seen. It is meaningful to me because I do feel thrown into an abyss in Second Life. I believe that many people feel that way. In spite of my experiences of two years in Second Life, I suppose it is the continued hope of community that has kept me here.