Title: Binding the pair: making a historical case for avicentric self-expression within 3D virtual communities

Authors: Steve DiPaola, Jeremy Turner, Penny Leong Browne

Addresses: School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, 250 – 13450 – 102nd Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia V3T 0A3, Canada. ' School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, 250 – 13450 – 102nd Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia V3T 0A3, Canada. ' School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, 250 – 13450 – 102nd Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia V3T 0A3, Canada

Abstract: This paper situates the historical relationship of Traveler, a 3D online virtual community with over ten years of continuous community use, in terms of avicentric expression as the creative protocol. Situated within the framework of contemporary virtual worlds, this paper aims to provide insight into the possibility of Traveler|s potential influence on next-generation virtual communities. Specifically, we look at how Second Life|s indigenous prosumer culture unconsciously reflects upon Traveler|s creation of 3D objects and architectural environments as expressive extensions of identity and social space that together create a blurred boundary between individual avicentrism and community. Retrospectively, beyond Second Life and its infrastructural cousins, the avicentric design affordances of Traveler revolved around an integrated fusion of both oral transmission protocols and concentrated facial communication by head-shaped avatars for the purpose of embodied story-telling. We call this fusion |binding the pair|: the unification of the remote user and the corresponding avatar in the mind of the local viewer.

Keywords: virtual communities; avicentric self-expression; digitalspace traveller; Second Life; emergent mythology; embodiment; distributed self; tele-presence; avatars; facial expressions; interactive narrative; end-user experience; web based communities; online communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2011.039508

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2011 Vol.7 No.2, pp.157 - 173

Available online: 06 Apr 2011

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