“Avatar Ashes” focuses on the relationship of a married couple. This married couple however, differs from most married couples, in the fact that they have never physically met. They were attracted, courted and married within the online platform, Second Life.
However this film is not about a couple. This films deals with what happens when one half of this couple is no longer with us. It begins to open questions such as ‘How do we inform virtual friends and loved ones of our passing on, in a sensitive way?’ and does Linden Lab have a responsibility to try to break bad news and offer support to loved ones in bereavement?
“Avatar Ashes” also opens the even bigger question of ‘can a virtual relationship be as important as a physical relationship?’ and if so how can these people be given the opportunity to grieve.
It would be inappropriate for these virtual loved ones to attend a physical funeral, as they would be strangers to the people grieving as they have not been part of their physical social network. Perhaps the most appropriate form of bereavement for a virtual partner is to say goodbye to that person within the context they knew them, in Second Life.
Therefore we begin to look to the avatar body, a collection of pixels in the virtual world, as a gateway to closure. A virtual loved one would be able to move this ‘avatar body’ to a final resting place of their choice and scatter the avatars pixels.