[ISEA2011] Paper: Peter Hagerty – Archipelagos of Art


Keywords: metaverse, virtual world, avatar, immersion

In the first year of the twenty first century I was sitting in a virtual three dimensional environment courtesy of Active Worlds. In this online computer generated world of cubes and spheres my presence was identifiable as an avatar; literally and figuratively an avatar is an incarnation of the Hindu god  Vishnu when he is on a mission to earth. My conversations were commonplace “Hello how are you ” but I make no friends but next day invite my friend H who lives in Paris to come and join me and we sit and talk among the spheres and cubes about philosophy. The experience is exhilarating and I propose to my then head of Department that I hold a virtual seminar with my photography students, he confers with his superiors and their reply is “We have other plans for online education.” For a college which at that time didn’t even have a web site I realised this was going to be a long haul.

Today we know the internet is the backbone of the global economy and without it our industrial infrastructure would collapse within hours, but a decade ago people would ask “Why do I need a website” Today nobody asks that question, they may prefer a Blog or  Facebook page but whatever format they choose an online presence is a recognised door which connects to other people. Today the contemporary question is “Why do I need a virtual world”.

Archipelagos of Art considers the rapidly growing metaverse and it’s implications for a post industrial society with particular reference to the new art forms specific to this new medium..

Full text (PDF) p. 1100-1102