It is the night of day 13. I’m having another tired day, and I got some crappy news about a friendship of mine not doing so well so on top of being exhausted, I’m sad. Aside from that, it was a good day. Trevor from the music department stopped by tonight from the christmas party. They bought me a holiday tree for my space in sl, which was so nice of them! I love it. I need more plants around me.
I explored some more great builds today that I found on the Not Possible in Real Life blog, the wastelands and tainted hearth. I also accidentally stumbled into Alan Sondheim’s The Accidental Artist, which is amazing to experience in person… In the Wastelands, a friend of mine tp’ed over and read me (with voice) an amazing anticapitalist poem by Tiqqun in front of the ruins of a bank.
This morning I talked to a great builder who gave me some nice scripted objects and who told me that he wishes he could do what I’m doing, living in Second Life. He said a few times, “you’re the first one!”, which may be true. The funny thing is that my mother always wanted me to be an astronaut, and now I guess I am kind of a cybernaut of sorts, hah.
Brooklyn is Watching posted the show today! We met and discussed my project as well as another art installation in world. See and hear it here.
Yesterday was amazing, though. Let me preface this by saying that I’m a trained computer scientist and nowadays I’m very strongly secular, i consider myself philosophically a materialist, and have a hard time with vague notions of “spirituality”, while I do acknowledge that science doesn’t even claim to have a complete picture of the universe.
Yesterday, day 12, was also the Grand Cross, a very rare astronomical occurence where 4 planets are all at 90 degree angles to each other, that only occurs something like once every century. But, here’s what happened with my day…
In the morning, an Anthropology grad student showed up who studies shamanism and spirit mediums in the carrbiean. I told him of my interest in shamanism, but my reluctance to coopt indigenous traditions I know little about. He told me that he feels that trance states like shamanism and spirit mediums are a panhuman occurence, common to all cultures, and acknowledged that there are links between this kind of durational performance and shamanism. Then, J’s friend Nikyta came by, who’s writing her thesis on Shamanism and Transitional living spaces, and further encouraged me to consider that there isn’t just one practice of shamanism, and said that she felt strongly that what I am doing with this performance is exactly like shamanistic practices, inhabiting two spaces at once, liminal space, acting as the transmediated other. Then, Ricardo and Amy showed up, and Amy was the person who had recommended to me Michael Taussig’s book “Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man”. Then, for the final coincidence which Nikyta insisted is not a coincidence but a shamanic indicence, I stumbled across Alynna’s “Shamanic Journeying Blanket”, which contains journey drum sequences with different tempos for portions of the journey and you can select your length, from 10 minutes to infinite.
At night yesterday we had the Otherkin communty discussion. It was fascinating to talk to so many otherkin including: a dragon, a horse, a wolf, a fox, vampires and a fae. They described in great detail their experiences, some of them since as young as 7, feeling like they should be in the body of another species. Some of them described feelings of phantom tails or wings. The horse told me of the Equine Dream foundation, dedicated to creating possibilities for Species Change, calling for morphological freedom for all. Some of the Otherkin told me that they’ve been diagnosed as schizophrenic for these feelings, which made me think of how transgender people have been thought of as insane in much of western culture and are still considered to have a disorder, and of how homosexuality was seen as insane and criminal. I wonder about the possibilities in the future. I really look forward to meeting more Otherkin in person and learning more about their experiences. Sandy Stone told me that for her transabled people really introduce a lot of complexity to transgender theory, and I also feel like Otherkin present some amazing challenges to current thining on identity, agency and gender. The opinions differed, some Otherkin felt that gender is related, but some didn’t. Generally they agreed that since they want to be in another body anyway, they don’t feel tied to their sex. Its hard to gague over a chat how people really feel, but I was so honored to have people sharing their very personal stories with me, and to be a part of the community they were sharing with.
Tonight I tried on a steam dragon, which has amazing features like steam, fire and sparks. I wish I could give my friend a steam hatchling, but SL’s awful copy restrictions make it impossible without using a third party website. Yet I still have more affinity with my astral dragon. I’ve begun using the adult dragon since I’m spending less time in the lab space, and I especially love the astral aura…