“I want to grow. I want to be better. You grow. We all grow. We’re made to grow. You either evolve or you disappear.” ~ Tupac Shakur
It’s no secret I helped on the SL10B because I can’t stop talking about it. However, my own personal exhibit is something I have not said a lot about. I had applied, thinking I would do something about my blog, but instead I decided to hook into the theme of SL10B and do something about “Looking Back, Looking Forward.” A natural treasure trove of ideas came from the Flickr group I started in the SL forums a couple years ago called “Your SL Evolution,” in which I challenged people to show their avatars’ evolutions.
Rather than count my avatar changes, which are already too numerously documented, I really wanted to see and show how others have evolved. Looking through the images, I realized it’s a very personal revelation. I truly appreciated how the participants enthusiastically shared their own images.
To build my exhibit, I asked my friend Stephen to help me sketch out a plan. We settled on a timeline, which metaphorically represented the passage of time and did a simple exhibit without a building so people could walk through and look at the images.
I contacted almost every person who had put an evolution photo in the Flickr group for permission to use their photos and asked them to send a current photo. The response was overwhelming. I had about 60 people say yes, some of them well known designers, bloggers, models and builders and some of them just ordinary SL citizens who contribute to the community in various quiet and impactful ways.
To have small a cross section of SL shows a lot more than simply showing one avatar’s evolution. The variations in transformation are amazing. Some people changed in looks substantially while others remained the same. (I know I show myself as a redhead throughout my transformation—how boring.) You see the development of technology for avatars, from system brillo pad hair all the way to mesh boobs. You see the fads of wings and flexi hair and parted lips. You see the quality of photography improve and the savvy of the gaze turning from “here is my experience to remember” to “here is the experience I want to frame for you.” You can see the identity of an avatar change from male to female and the struggle for understanding “self” in all the evolutions.
I hope you get time to look because it’s really marvelous, and I really got some terrific people to agree to participate. Here is the list of participants and a genuine thanks to all of them for agreeing to submit to MY gaze:
See “Your SL Evolution” at SL10B Community Celebration now until June 29, when they shut the sims down. (P.S. The stream playing on the parcel is KCRW Eclectic, my favorite station.)