Second Life Sketches

Below, a random person I spotted in Transylvania two minutes after the grid went back up earlier today. In her eyes, you can make out part of an error message, denoting that a graphic or script from her customised “avatar” or representative form in Second Life is missing. It means that the system, that’s been crashing and hiccuping constantly since an upgrade on Wednesday, is failing to find and/or process the entirety of her body. Elsewhere, I’ve seen people wearing that message over swathes of their skin, projected there by the system.

The girl with error-message eyes.

I almost wish someone would conjure a Philip K Dick in Second Life, like the missing android of a year or two back. He’d enjoy the girl with error-message eyes: someone blinking around the evidence of fake reality. Second Life is very much the Philip K Dick experience, some days. He had a comedy notion that everything is fake but you, and the massive team of builders constructing the world around you — that it takes 12 hours or whatever to fly to Japan because the builders have to get there first and construct it for your arrival to keep the illusion going. If you fly fast in Second Life, you eventually reach the point where you’re travelling more swiftly than the system can deal with — and, as you look around, you see that the world hasn’t quite assembled around you yet. You’ve outpaced the builders, and they’re having to work double-time to get the walls up and the road down before you notice…