When is a House Not a House?

This morning I read a commentary about the Architectural contest held as part of The State of Play conference which asks some important questions about building in a virtual world.

The judges for the contest expressed some dismay that so many of the entries seemed to focus on the familiar, the known — in short, the creators didn’t seem to be taking advantage of the digital nature of their medium and instead resorted to reproducing the buildings and landscapes of the real world.

Implicit in these comments seems to be a judgment that somehow reproducing the familiar is bad, and lacking in vision.

As Betsy Book points out, perhaps this judgment is rooted in the same conflicting values that dictate the often negative reactions to public art. Visionary is exciting, but do I really want to live there?

Behind each building or creation in Second Life is a person with real life goals and values who is following their imagination into uncharted territory. Some people will experiment with pushing the limits of the digital tools and others will create the home they dream of in the real world. Perhaps the thing to remember is that what really counts is that digital worlds give you the freedom to follow your own path.

About Robin Linden

Be the Change. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ---Mahatma Gandhi
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2 Responses to When is a House Not a House?

  1. Jake Reitveld says:

    My problem witht he state of play judges is that they all have this vision of virtual worlds that somehow are digital and abstract. They have a notion based on some vision they had while reading Neuromancer, that cyberspace should some how be towers of numbers.

    The problem with sort of pseudo-philosphical outlook is that it tosses the human aspect right on the scrap heap. These people don’t think about technology as something that can help humans, these people think the role of technology is to be fostered by humans.

    It is nonsensical to discuss virtual space without thinking of it in terms of the space we expereieince every day. We are human and out realtionship to the space around us is a a human one. We cannot divorce this from our expereince.

    Thus in order to be used by humans, a virtual space must be reflective of the way humans use real space. Sometimes this is a result of “attachment to reality” and onterh times it is the byproduct of the fucntion of the space we use (walls define space and give privacy as well as keep out the elements).

    Also part of the virtual expereince is to express the things we long for, or we observe and reinterpret them in a virtual way. A virtual world is part playing dolls, part platform for business and game development and part forum for personal expression. I am a human and not a toaster, there for anything I build in SL, or any virtual world is going to resemble human structures and not something designed by a toaster.

  2. xavier says:

    ojale sepas español necisito una casa y quiero que em expliques como es esto depues yo de lo agradecere como tu creas conveniente

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