Please note - this video is part of a larger installation, projected vertically on a horizontal plinth in a narrow darkened room. For installation views please visit my website georgieroxbysmith.ning.com

.av•a•tar/ˈavəˌtär/
Noun:
A manifestation of a deity in bodily form on earth
An incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person
In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user

In exploring digital identity and desire, I began thinking about Second Life and the people who utilise the technology as being in some kind of perpetual movement away from death: a denial as such. In Second Life, there is no ageing, no rotting of the flesh. Secondarily there exists an eternal life in these new technologies – from forever live Facebook memorials frozen in time, the gravesites and dead celebrity avatars that still walk this virtual land and the pun of the program name itself. Despite this, every time I log out of Second Life my avatar dies – dissolution of pixels disappearing into the black – only to be reborn, unchanged, at the click of a button. When I die, or kill my Second Life, she will remain a cyber-ghost, forever condemned to the black. Thirdly, when using digital identities we are somehow detached, separated by the false sense of security the safety of the screen gives us.

Merging rephotographed real life images and virtual footage of a 3D Second Life avatar intimately built in my father’s image, this 21st Century ‘exquisite corpse’ explores death, memory, loss and the materiality of the body. Reminiscent of a children's game, where flipcards are shuffled to create a random visual effect, these flickering images reflect the processes of the human memory playing out emotions of grief and yearning.

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