Real or Virtual its all the same thing

My friend and (sometime theatrical agent) Scotty pinged me to tell me about a bargain at blades and bows a predator mask for £20. It seemed to make a great deal of sense to buy this as a prop for some of presentations, as well as out of personal interest.
It has just arrived and it is pretty cool, and very heavy!
Predator Mask
I have taken to using some physical props when I present at conferences, in particular some of the 3d printed items. Something solid and tangible reflected from something in the virtual environment helps break down the barrier between audience, screen and concept.
The predator mask is going to be one such prop. However it feeds directly into the discussion of representation of self online, into reputation and into knowing who someone is.
In SL my epredator avatar wears a predator mask. I often quote that “I wear a mask but don’t hide behind it” and that it indicates a lot more than a digital replica of my actual face in certain contexts.
Saying that with a ppt presentation picture of me in predator gear and leather jacket in Second Life I tend toblend to point out my RL leather jacket and the crossover of personal branding and a willingness to share who I am. The predator mask can be used to then show that there are cultural boundaries and social norms that differ from place to place. Wearing the mask would be seen as a slightly mad act, but showing it and choosing not to wear it in that context I think is a powerful message.
We talk often about real and virtual, there really is no such divide. We experience things, internalize them and try and make sense of them.The recent Horizon programme Seeing is Believing on BBC highlighted this more than ever. Demonstrating the NeuroPlasticity of the human brain and the combination of senses we use to predict what we are seeing. Including things like the McGurk Effect where are brains are unable to stop themselves altering what we hear based on what we see.
The point is virtual environments are real, not a total figment of imagination as they operate, run and we interact with them. A virtual environment tends to be experienced through the little glass window on our laptops which helps us deal with the containment of it. However its real people on the other end doing the same thing. Communicating and interacting with us and the environment. Whilst there is currently a line to be drawn the world around us is full of virtual structures and organizations. Does your company actually exist? Is that organization chart really real?
So I think we have shades of Real, all converted into the virtual experience we call memory.
All that because of a Predator mask? Well yes, though it is just really cool in its own right too 🙂

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