Gertraud Koch

Second Life – ein zweites Leben? Alltag und Alltägliches einer virtuellen Welt


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The virtual three-dimensional world „Second Life“ promises an alternative space of living providing new opportunities for experiences, friends and identity. This paper follows the metaphorical play with the new options for personhood asking „what regimes of living“ are established in the World of Second Life and how they relate to the actual life-world. The phenomenological idea of the „life-world“ is challenged in Second Life conceptual from two sides. Not only it is to be discussed what life-world could mean when it is translocated into virtual environments, also the technological mediation of the experiences needs to become subject of reflection. Conceptualizing this mediation by following a post-phenomenological approach thus the structure of the virtual world „Second Life“ is explored. Life-worlds only can be experienced from a subject position and therefore are bound on bodily action, no matter if virtual or actual. This is why the figure of the avatar, as a telematic cyborg and a virtual representation of the human body, obtains a central role in the research of virtual worlds. It is the only opportunity to access three-dimensional telematic environments. Here the avatar functions as an interface and as a medium of interaction at the same time. By exploring the phenomenology of this virtual figure and its central role in Second Life the structures of the virtual life-world are outlined. Furthermore the „regime of living“ in this setting can be observed as diverse but also as abounded from daily life.