The Role of Art in Virtual Worlds – Mackie

In this audio file, I describe the empathetic argument I will be addressing in my paper. The topic is whether or not art (or graphics) is necessary to the long-term sustainability of a virtual community. The two sides of the argument will be exemplifed by LambdaMOO (the text interface) and Second Life (the graphic interface). In my paper I plan on citing the different roles that art has played in the development of civilization and society in real life and comparing and contrasting its role in virtual life to support my arguments.


1 Comment

  1. Rebecca

    November 26, 2007 @ 5:20 pm


    Hi Liz,

    Good work on this podcast. I like the topic that you’ve chosen and you clearly evoke both the pro-graphics and anti-graphics positions. I’d like to raise a few points for you to consider a bit more.

    First of all, you seem to equate art and visual art. My guess is that you will find a lot of die hard LambdaMOO users who would be dismayed to hear you say that art is not a part of LambdaMOO. Their art is not visual art, but simply reading the character descriptions and the descriptions of locations and interacting with objects in the world, it is clear that there is a lot of artistic expression going on. That expression is text-based art, but art nonetheless.

    Second, I think residents of LambdaMOO will also give you quite a few more reasons why they prefer the text-based environment. You indicate that the reason to avoid the graphical environment is because it requires skill to become good at manipulating it. However, there are lots of things that can be better represented or can only be represented in the text-based environment in which the residents use their imaginations to picture or understand what is being described to them in text. Many people find this mode of expression encourages more creativity than the graphical environment in which there may be more reasons to just emulate real world imagery.

    Lastly, I think you may find that it is better to focus on a single topic rather than two topics in your paper. Although you may find using real world examples of contrasting the role of the visual with the textual helpful in exploring the role of the visual and the textual in SL and LambdaMOO, I think it will be best to focus on the virtual environments primarily.

    I think you will have an easier time focusing your paper if you can come up with a single question that your paper is seeking to answer or a problem that it is seeking to address or solve. The thesis that art is important may not be the one you are looking for because it is hard to imagine what rides on that point or who would disagree with it. Instead you might want to think about the role of graphics or visual art in virtual worlds going forward, or about why the 3D world of SL is so much more popular than LambdaMOO and whether this can be attributed to the graphics, etc.

Log in