net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

Positive Awkwardness ?

prothesis

When watching https://vimeo.com/156829538 Avatar as Prosthesis 1; an interview Gretta Louw did with the online therapist and trainer Kate Anthony from the Online Therapy Institute in Second Life, I was fascinated by the relation between the two avatars.

So odd to listen to a very interesting conversation on the potential and strength of using avatars in psychological treatment while watching two lady avatars completely absorbed in their own being, voicing thoughts in a conversation not looking at each other, giving the impression of being shy, occasionally blinking their eyes as if wanting to catch another gaze…

Gretta and Kate talked about how “being in the virtual, not being face-to-face” makes communication free-er (this is called the disinhibition effect*) and how the Institute uses this in their therapies.
Would the virtual be so strongly connected to the “real” person that the face-to-face even has to be avoided in the virtual. Is this why they never look at each other? or is it programmed into Second Life as a special female property?

They also talk about the rubber hand illusion, the avatar as an extension and/or a prosthesis and the wheelchair avatar as a virtual activist.
If the avatar is a prosthesis, what is it a prothesis for?
I asked Gretta in an email.

*The Online disinhibition effect is a loosening or complete abandonment of social restrictions and inhibitions that would otherwise be present in normal face-to-face interaction during interactions with others on the Internet. This effect is caused by many factors, including dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority.

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Annie Abrahams
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