I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life (Testprep (New Riders')) Paperback – 27 Dec 2007
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"Gorgeously illustrated by both imagery and personal recollections, 'I, Avatar' is a whimsical, well-informed introduction to the virtual world experience and its broader implications by a seasoned guide with valuable secrets to impart."
- Wagner James Au, author of "The Making of Second Life".
"The explosive popularity of virtual worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft has thrown a bright cultural spotlight on the avatar -- the ephemeral body that represents us in these worlds -- but nothing has illuminated it quite like Mark Stephen Meadows' I, Avatar. Deeply thoughtful, and vibrantly informed by Meadows' lived encounters with virtual worlds, the book makes a compelling case for extending the concept of the avatar beyond the boundaries of those worlds, across the full range of digitally mediated experience, and into the core of what makes us human."
- Julian Dibbell, author of "Play Money: Or How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot"
"Mark Meadow's virtual creatures are not your next door neighbours--or are they? Leaving behind 1990s cyberculture and its underground aesthetics, with Meadows we descend into a maelstrom of Identity 2.0 in which business, leasure, sexuality, labour and fashion melt into one."
- Geert Lovink, Media Theorist, Net Critic and Activist
"In this sweeping and impressive work, Mark Meadows traces the history of online avatars and explores the profound roles that they play in our online lives by mediating our communication with others and contributing to our social interactions, activities, and group narratives. The work is thus not just about avatars, but ultimately about the strategies that humans use to present themselves when they communicate, work together, and play together. It will be an invaluable resource for disciplines ranging from virtual world design to narrative theory to sociology."
- Peter Ludlow, Professor of philosophy, University of Toronto, and co-author of The Second Life Herald.
"Mark Meadows explores and explains one of the most intriguing phenomena of digital life: the fantastic (psychological) reproduction of a SELF who inhabits a range of virtual worlds. He narrates how our avatars/ourselves have co-evolved with the development of new virtual worlds, revealing new modes of human-becoming in a digital age."
- Anne Balsamo, Author, Designing Culture: The technological Imagination at Work and Professor, Interactive Media at USC
"Mark Meadows is fully immersed in an evolving new culture and reporting back from the heart of the action. Ultimately, what he reports on isn't informing us about Second Life, World of Warcraft, or online chat rooms. Instead, what he reveals is a reflection of ourselves a the beginning of the 21st Century in all our weirdness, wonder, and humanity."
- Nathan Shedroff, Experience Strategist
"What Bruce Chatwin did for the exotic far reaches of the physical world, Mark Stephen Meadows does for the virtual. "I, Avatar" is a richly informed and intensely personal set of travel dispatches from the thriving frontier that is Second Life. The author/artist's picaresque narrative records his journey through the construction of his online persona "pighed" as well as the shifting social contexts in differing online communities. The result is a thought-provoking and illuminating exploration of the social and philosophical underpinnings of perceived realities both physical and virtual."
- Maribeth Back, Senior Research Scientist, FX-PAL
"I knew Mark Meadows was a weird mix: smart, adventurous, well-read, well-spoken, nerdy, but most of all open minded. He has managed to work all this into his book. That should tell you what kind of a trip this read is. If anyone was to bring something fresh to the table, it had to be Mark Meadows."
- Alexis Nolent, Ubisoft's Game System Story Director, and author of world-famous graphic novel "The Killer".
"As anyone who has heard Mark Meadows speak on portraiture, interactivity and narrative knows, he connects with the imagination and intellect of his audience in a way that is both thrilling and artistic. Little wonder then that his new book, I, Avatar, connects with the reader in much the same way."
- Matt Costello, Co-creator of ZoogDisney and Writer of Doom 3 and The 7th Guest
"Pighed takes us on a whirlwind road trip through this century's most exciting new medium, the exploding cyber-suburbs of virtual worlds inhabited by millions of avatars. Do you want to know how your avatar reflects back on you? Are you asking the question: where will this strange journey take us? Don't just stand there, the front seat is free, so get yourself strapped in for upload!"
- Bruce Damer, virtual worlds pioneer and author of "Avatars"
"Avatars are fast becoming the main vehicle through which we navigate an ever more complex online landscape. Mark documents with vivid imagery the blurring line between our real and virtual identities, the multi-faceted ways in which we project ourselves into bodies ranging from a simple string of text to furry, phantasmagoric creatures. A recommended read to anyone interested in the current and future culture of cyberspace."
- Nicolas Ducheneaut, Researcher, Xerox-PARC
About the Author
Mark Stephen Meadows (known in the virtual world as Pighed) is an artist, writer, and engineer with 15 years experience in interactive media. Founder of both HeadCase Humanufacturing (dedicated to developing tools to create intelligent, autonomous avatars) and Echo & Shadow, he also spent time at Xerox-PARC, Stanford Research Institute, and The Waag. The author of Pause and Effect (New Riders, 2003) he helped build the third commercial web server (1992), the first open-protocol 3D multi-user environment (1997), and has won awards such as the Ars Electronica Golden Nica and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's highest honors. Based in L.A., Mark speaks at universities and conferences worldwide.
Top customer reviews
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11 February 2008
This is a great book - very well structured, fantastic illustrations but above all a really well reasoned, thorough and informed exploration of the phenomenon of personality online. It takes the definitions of 'avatar' way back to the origins of online communication and weaves forwards a thread that provides some very insightful illuminations of what having an avatar can mean to their creators. It also provides some wider reading and ideas that would fuel a dozen PdD research theses.
24 November 2008
This book is great as a muse if you are starting out on second life.Some of the stories made me laugh and inspired me to get on and give stuff a go. If you are looking for a big complicated guide to Second Life, this is not that book, but as food for thought its great. It would be also be ideal for anybody who is thinking about starting SL who hasn't given it a go yet!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 16 reviews
One Lonely Sister
Great story of a man's virtual journey
5 June 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
I read this for my master's and found it to be quite a surprise. Unlike other books, this was personal and engaging. It was more than a collection of statistics or dry recollections of other research. This was real. It made me take a closer look at my life as an avatar. I highly recommend this book for everyone who ponders about the increasing use of avatars and virtual living.
23 October 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Interesting book with lots of cool pictures! I had to get this for a class but I ended up actually enjoying it. I read some of it to my boyfriend and he also thought it was really interesting and unique.
28 July 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
Very interesting stories. Some came to life in my life unfortunately.
8 July 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
a good read.
Longer than needed
14 November 2011 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Fun to read but ultimately a waste of time because the author takes an entire book to write what could have been written in just three or four pages.