On Exactitude of Similitude

Above: Video documentation of the performance On Exactitude of Similitude.

The second in a series of Second Life performances dealing with ideas of the artist, identity and being, On Exactitude of Similitude is a performance about a performance and its representation.

By positioning my Second Life avatar Garrett Lynch, a representation of my real life (RL) identity Garrett Lynch, in front of my own art work Between Saying and Doing in Second Life, itself a representation of my identity within a representation of a space, this performance continues to purposefully play on ideas of layering and framing between what is ‘real’ and what is ‘virtual’.

On Exactitude of Similitude Performance

Above: Click image for a gallery of performance photos.

In addition to wearing the sandwich board worn during the first performance, my avatar wears a head device with a video stream of my RL face in real time, as if attempting to become me. Visually similar to the type of helmet worn by a deep sea diver or an astronaut my avatar attempts to submerge in the unknown. Simultaneously we see both ‘me’s’ through the helmets surface and on it’s surface. Is my avatar simply wearing a mask of me or is this a natural reflection? Does my avatar see me as I see my avatar?

Video stream diagram

Above: Video is streamed to a webpage on line, this is then captured in Second Life and mapped onto my avatars head device.

This mixed representation of me is however not me, it is still unquestionably an avatar and not even forcibly a better/closer representation of me, just a different, reconfigured and perhaps more complex layered assemblage of that representation. A copy of an original, a simulation of the ‘real’ or a map of the territory, no matter how faithful remains a copy and discussion of the level of similitude is inconsequential. Yet how and with what measure do we and can we without a suggestion of doubt precisely determine and know which is the copy and which the original?

Why does it disturb us…these inversions suggest that if the characters of a fictional work can be readers or spectators, we, its readers or spectators, can be fictions. (Borges, 1964)1

Map of performance location

This performance took place on 12/04/10 in Second Life at I AM Columbia Island (see image above) within the context of the exhibition Liminality: The Space Between Worlds at Antena in Chicago and in Second Life.

1 Borges, J.L. (1964). Partial Magic in the Quixote. In Labyrinths, Selected Stories and Other Writings, p 196, New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation.

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