Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shelley- The "Experiencer" Avatar

In order to look at how fragile and limited our experiences are, I chose to conduct a project that looks at this phenomenon through analyzing the medium I recorded in, as well as the avatar, or aspect of myself I chose as a lens for that day.  Like my native avatar, Akua, my “experiencer” avatar, Shelley, was a little problematic.  Here are some of the reasons why I had to change my attitude when it came to this way of seeing my experience.

  1. Because the essence of Shelley was about being in a moment and letting that dictate the experience, I was not able to plan for it.  I could not plan a whole day because it only came in glimpses.  A moment could not be planned for, even if I was open and receptive to it (FN:11:1-4, FN:26:2-3, FN:39:9, FN:41:2-3, FN:60:5, FN:60:13, FN:87:12, FN:88:5).
  2. This avatar came to be what the others thought of as the “ideal.”  Because I had previously decided that she would not have a voice, and could only be seen from the point of view of the other avatars, this got a little tricky.  It was easier when I could show how my other avatars dropped their guard and tried to be more like Shelley.
  3. There was also a lot of development with Shelley in the field, as with all of my avatars.  While I was still trying to figure out how to be her, I tried a new approach where I was kind of a yes man.  I agreed to do everything as long as it was honor code appropriate and safe.  It did open a few windows of opportunity, some more awkward than others, and I think that my experience was changed because of it (FN:41:23, FN:41:2, FN:58:1).
  4. Because this avatar was not supposed to have a voice, it made field notes an issue.  To not take notes or write seemed almost impossible.  I would think that everything was passing me by, or try to memorize everything to record later.  It did not work.  I did not realize until trying to be Shelley that just experiencing and not making sense of it is a lot harder than we think. 

My conclusion for this avatar is that she could not be planned for.  If a moment arose where she could have a better experience than my other avatars, then I would switch into her and let the moment consume me.  Otherwise, it was more beneficial to be someone with a voice.

Photo credit to hm on flickr

(More data on Shelley can be found in my field notes FN:18:27, FN:26:5, FN:39:1, FN:39:4-5, FN:60:1-2)

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