In response to a discussion with a colleague about representations of disability in Second Life I started wondering about “The Appropriation of Disability” what an interesting concept. I have met a few people who are wheelchair bound in SL and I don’t think they are in RL… there are also people who appear to be blind in Second Life (white sticks) – the new AI dogs might introduce the possibility of seeing eye dogs. I begin to wonder about why people may introduce themselves as disabled figure in SL – I’m not content to dismiss it as a conceit – although that may be the case in some instances.
I wonder about the expressive nature of the undertaking in a world where physical beauty (by whatever norms/standards you address that) is currently a high priority for many users – there are people who choose to be/appear other than physically perfect I guess it could be a political reaction, it could also be an emotional expression – someone who feels constrained/disabled/disempowered using the metaphor of physical disability as a poetic statement visual poetry if you like.
I think about Sylvia Plath – how might she have shown herself in SL? Her poetry is generally regarded as very autobiographical and yet it was often very non-literal – perhaps some of these artistic expressions are finding new outlets in environments like Second Life.
A lot of interesting speculation – I’m not sure there are sufficient examples in SL, but I’m curious about other worlds now… how many WoW characters have physical disabilities represented? Bloody hell, how does one only do one PhD at a time!
There seems to be quite about of discussion about accessibility issues in the emerging 3D worlds.