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Liberate your avatar

December 20, 2007 | Chris Payatagool

With his project Liberate Your Avatar Paul Sermon best known for his telepresence research explored the merge of virtual and real worlds on a public screen. At Urban Screens Manchester 07 he presented the interactive piece on a temporary screen in All Saints Gardens on Oxford Road.

Beforehand Sermon had recreated the actual square in Second Life. Liberate Your Avatar transformed the screen situated in All Saints Gardens into a portal between these two parallel worlds, allowing both 'first life' visitors and Second Life avatars to coexist and share the same park bench in a live interactive installation.

liberate2_425.jpgAlthough the physical interaction stayed on a simple level (such as hugging, waving, sharing the bench), the coexistence of both realities was a fascinating experience.

By positioning the screen as the mediator of change, the installation also examined the history of location by relocating Mancunian Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst as an avatar within Second Life. Paul Serman: "Here she now remains locked to the railings of the park, reminding us of the need to continually evaluate our role in this new online digital society."

liberate1_425.jpg[via CAVI Digital Experience]

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