Exploring Digital Identity Through Avatars: A Look at Drax’s Our Digital Selves Documentary

Alice Bonasio has written an article for The Next Web about Draxtor Despres (a.k.a. Bernhard Drax in real life) and his recently-completed documentary called Our Digital Selves: My Avatar Is Me.

Titled Exploring Digital Identity Through Avatars, the article looks at how a variety of differently abled people choose to represent themselves in virtual worlds such as Second Life.

For those that speculate about the potential of social VR, it is interesting to note how inhabiting a virtual world allows these people to form and maintain meaningful relationships and connections with others, as SL user iSkye Silverweb recounts:

I don’t think my partner and I ever would have met in the physical world, even if we were in the same city, and it is because I am deaf.  Communication IS an issue for me; I would always be concerned about it, with meeting anyone.

It’s a raw and intensely emotional investigation into the power of living vicariously through an avatar, and how this – as one user puts it – “provides her with sustenance” and helps people to cope with all manner of both mental and physical disabilities.

It’s a great article and I urge you to go over to The Next Web and read it in full.

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Cody Lascala wearing a VR headset in Sansar
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Sansar Atlas Hopping, Episode 41: We Go Clubbing!

Today, our theme for Atlas Hopping was clubs and clubbing. We visited the following five experiences:

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The Club
Experiences we visited:
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Dancing on the Platform at Tron Grid Prime Millennium
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Syngles Night Club

Sansar Atlas Hopping, Episode 40!

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The Crystal Cave in Witchy’s Upside Down

Today we visited the following experiences, all created by Beverly Zauberflote:

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Bedouin Nights

Here is Drax’s livestream:

And here is Strawberry’s livestream from Twitch (she has switched to Twitch from YouTube for her livestream):

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/268617324

The Drax Files #182: Our Digital Selves Documentary

On Friday I did something I had never done before—I participated in the taping of Draxtor Despres (a.k. Bernhard Drax in real life)’s regular podcast/broadcast The Drax Files.

I saw Drax posting a link to the private Sansar experience where he records his show on his Slack channel, and I decided to come and crash the party! Drax has asked me several times in the past to take part in his broadcast, but I never could do it before today, because I am at work when he records. On Friday, I was on holidays from my job so I could take part.

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Among the many people present at Drax’s taping of the episode was the anthropologist Dr. Tom Boellstorff, who conducted the research project that Drax was documenting, as well as the following people who were profiled in the documentary:

  • Cody Lascala
  • Shyla the Super Gecko
  • Jadyn Firehawk
  • iSkye Silverweb
  • Solas  NaGealai
  • Alumnia

Sansar Atlas Hopping, Episode 38: Draxstones, Meet the Draxstones!

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All of us wearing Alfy’s Draxstones cars at 114 Harvest

DRAXSTONES, MEET THE DRAXSTONES
THEY’RE THE MODERN TECH AGE FAMILY
FROM THE WORLD OF SANSAR
THEY’RE ATLAS HOPPING INTO HISTORY!

— Torley Linden

Today our theme was The Flintstones (or, as we decided to call ourselves, the Draxstones!) and car racing. Alfy made some cute Flintstones-type car attachments for our avatars, and Solas, Nya, Alfy and a few other people made Flintstones outfits for us all to wear.

We visited four experiences:

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The Atlas Hoppers at Silas Merlin’s art experience
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Racing our Draxstones cars at the Motorsports Complex!
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Racing our Draxstones cars at Cobblestones Racetrack

I just freaking love Sansar. Where else in the metaverse could you take part in a footrace wearing a Flintsones car, on a large modern-day racetrack? Yabba dabba doo!

Drax’s Our Digital Selves Documentary is Now Available to Watch on YouTube

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Cody Lascala and Donna Davis at Linden Lab headquarters in San Francisco (still from the documentary Out Digital Selves)

Earlier this month, I had written about Draxtor Despres (a.k.a Bernhard Drax) and his documentary on the experiences of people with disabilities in virtual worlds, titled Our Digital Selves: My Avatar Is Me. Drax interviewed 13 people with a variety of disabilities for this film. Among the locations which Drax visited for this documentary were the corporate offices of High Fidelity and Linden Lab (the latter is the company behind the Second Life and Sansar platforms).

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day,  the purpose of which is to is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. So Drac decided to release his documentary today, instead of tomorrow as he had originally intended!

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I was able to watch a preview of this documentary, and I enjoyed it very much! I think you will too.

Atlas Hopping, Episode 37: The Gardens of Sansar

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Picnic at Mr. Darcy’s
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Bluebell Store & Garden

Today’s theme for Atlas Hopping was the gardens of Sansar. We visited:

I didn’t know ahead of time that my experience would be on the list of experiences to visit today, otherwise I would have vacuumed and tidied up the place a bit 😉

The snowman you see in the picture below (taken by Mijeka Munro) was created using the Oculus Medium sculpting tool. It was then imported into Blender in order to apply colours, then exported as an FBX file and placed into my experience near the spawn point of Ryan’s Garden.

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Watching everyone ride on and enjoy Agustine’s musical carousel in Ryan’s Garden, laughing and talking (and then hopping on for a ride myself) was one of the happiest moments I’ve experienced in Sansar to date. It reminded me how much I loved to ride the carousel when the Red River Exhibition was in town every summer.

Ryan's Garden Carousel 12 May 2018

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In the above picture, that’s me waving at Andrew the photographer, I’m the one in the grey Sansar T-shirt.

Later on, I had a blissful Zen moment at the Bonsai Garden:

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Here’s Strawberry’s livestream of today’s event:

And here is Drax’s: