Ok, I think that the term virtual doesn’t apply to Second Life, and I’d like to stop using it. Virtual, as I understand it in the way that Deleuze and Guattari use it, would mean not actual, existing as only potential. Manuel Delanda explains Deleuze’s definition of the virtual as follows:
“Deleuze speaks not of ‘realization’ but of actualization, and introduces a novel ontological category to refer to the status of multiplicities themselves: virtuality. This term does not refer, of course, to the virtual reality which digital simulations have made so familiar, but to a real virtuality forming a vital component of the objective world. As he writes [in Difference and Repetition]:
The virtual is not opposed to the real but to the actual. The virtual is fully real in so far as it is virtual… Indeed, the virtual must be defined as strictly part of the real object– as though the object has one part of itself in the virtual into which it plunged as through into an objective dimension… The reality of the virtual consists of the differential elements and relations along with the singular points which correspond to them. The reality of the virtual is structure.” (Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, p.30)
The term Synthetic Worlds, as opposed to Virtual Worlds, that Augmentology uses, seems a lot more accurate to me. So, the title for this post was going to be “My First Virtual Porn Shoot”, but its not. Perhaps synthetic is useful also in its relation to synthetic biology, if we think about synthetic worlds and synthetic limbs as both forms of augmentation. The world of Second Life is actualized in many forms: as bits on hard drives, as visually rendered images, as our experiences of it. It is not virtual, just synthetic or digital.
I got the message from Bunny, the photographer, yesterday in a notecard saying that Post 6 is not just about pretty pixels, that models have to have brains too, and that I should submit my written application as a notecard back to her. I immediately opened a new notecard and started writing.
I love the Post 6 series. Yes, its porn, and yes, it doesn’t really arouse me often, but I really love the wide variety of avatars. Its so interesting to me to see so many different expressions of sexuality, from transformer cyborg girl, to futanari, to neo-goth Tokyo Amazon.The comments, while mostly just flames and insults, also often include discussion about gender that I actually find interesting. Such as on the futanari post where there is an argument as to whether the post should be called grrrl or guy. Or on the robot post where one commenter thanks the photographer for nonhuman models! Post 6 does a good job of actually capturing the wide diversity of sexual expression that there is in SL.
I wanted to be a Post 6 Grrrl. I think I have some interesting outfits and looks, and that I can tell some good tough grrrl stories from my time in Midian City, which I think people should read more of. So, I emailed the herald. And heard nothing. And emailed again, and heard nothing. Finally, this week, I commented on a post basically saying “What does a girl have to do to get naked on this blog?! I’ll show you more than my tits, thats for sure…” Which was true. Then I kept reading other recent Post 6 posts, including one saying that you won’t get into Post 6 by asking “what does a girl have to do to get naked here?!” Hah. I was sure, then, that I wouldn’t hear back. Well, I guess they read comments more than email, because I actually got a reply. I was so happy this morning to see that they had already read my story and wanted to do a shoot this weekend!
I jumped in world and started working on a script I’ve been tinkering with and some building. After a while, I got a message from Bunny asking when I’m free. I told her that I was free then, so we both teleported over to Midian City to do the shoot there.
Really, kind of strangely, it was so much fun. As we began, I was a little bit nervous. I could feel my heart beating a little stronger, but I wasn’t full on nervous. I walked around Midian with Bunny, showing her some of my favorite spots. She gave me some poses to use with my gun, as I wanted to do a few gun photos. Posing in Second Life is still very rudimentary. While some people are working on new interfaces for movement, now all you can do is have a library of animations and play them back on command. You can map animations to keys and Heads Up Displays (HUD’s) are used to make particular gestures like walking and sitting and tail movement easier to get access to. When you buy a complex avatar, like a neko or a dragon, you get a HUD to control the additional movements.
So I posed by the casino with my gun. Then we moved to another scene and did some shots with graffiti in the background. I didn’t walk around with my gun so as not to attract attention from the MPD. When we were walking around in the alleys, I was actually a bit nervous. Here are two beautiful women, one very wearing very little clothing, walking around in the darkest alleys of Midian. I was concerned that someone might attack us, and interrupt the shoot. We walked past some poseballs. Poseballs are another common way that people in Second Life access gestures. Whenever you go to a dance club, there’s a poseball that you can touch to get a dancing animation. When people have sex in SL, they usually use a poseball with animations in it, although beds come with sex animations too. Walking around the alleys we passed a poseball called “forced her” and “forced him”, as well as ones for “Wall M” and “Wall F”. I tried these, but neither looked good for photos. Definitely one of the more disturbing things about Midian, but interesting, are these kinds of poseballs where people can consensually roleplay being assaulted. In the stores here, you can also buy a “mug me” bag, that includes mugging animations. This Second Life Herald story explores this kind of roleplay in much more detail.
As I stood in front of some graffiti, looking at Bunny so that my face would be towards the camera, I thought I should buy a better gun, since we were across the street from the gun shop, Twisted Desires. I told her this and she laughed. A male neko walked past and stopped to look for a minute, but he continued on down the street.
I changed clothes and hair a few times so we could get a number of different shots. When I showed her my boots that have glowing red parts that match my vision enhancement visor she laughed again.
For the last few shots, which in Post 6 are usually nudes, we went into the Peep Show. The Peep Show is an elaborate scene, with photos on the walls, a bar, places to sit and a stage. There are also small booths with curtains, one of which we used. The booths have a small stage and once you sit on the chair on the stage, you are immediately animated into an elaborate erotic dance. This was perfect, so I changed out of my clothes, into just boots, stockings and a garter belt. “Avies in SL have weird looking feet”, Bunny reminded me, so it was good that I wanted to keep the boots on. I can’t wait to see the pictures. I had thought about doing some shots iwth my dragon avie too, but I was satisfied with the ones we shot. I can’t wait to see the pictures.
Second Life is seducing me. I’m really enjoying my exploration there. This morning I started my first building project, and it was really interesting. Then, this photo shoot was so much fun. It took around 2 hours. The shots took a while because Bunny had to wait for everything to rez. Rezzing is Second Life slang for a few things: dropping an object from your inventory and seeing it, downloading textures and waiting for them to draw. So, if you want to get really good snapshots, you often have to stand around and wait for things to rez completely. My synthetic latex stockings and my detailed Sour Grapes hair from Deviant Kitties took a some time to rez, and I kept switching things to try to get the best looks. Linden Labs has a lot of work to do to improve the speed of their resource servers, or better yet, we’ve all got a lot of work to do setting up our own distributed virtual worlds servers… Bunny told me that since it was a busy Saturday, the rezzing was taking extra long. My sense hair wouldn’t rez properly for her at all, so I couldn’t use it. Which reminds me that I want ot thank Hern Worsley of AVZ for his amazing clothes! They were a big part of this shoot. And of course thanks to everyone in Midian for creating an amazing, inspiring environment…
Again, this was one of the most interesting and fun things I’ve done in SL yet. Actually, I’m looking forward to doing this again some time.