Avatars and humans, together in the same space

Rowan Derryth, writing on the LEA blog, brings word of a fascinating SL / RL exhibit which is taking place through until November 25th in both Second Life and real life, and which allows avatars from the one interact with humans from the other, and vice versa.

EXTRACT / INSERT is a collaborative effort involving Second Life and the The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, England. Rowan describes the collaboration thus:

We avatars often struggle to explain our existence to those that dwell only in the physical world. But now, a new exhibit at LEA 24 helps us do what we aliens do best: INVADE!


EXTRACT/INSERT is a unique installation in both Second Life and at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry, UK. It is a collaborative effort between internationally renowned performance artist Stelarc, lecturer and actor Joff Chafer and artist and technologist Ian Upton. With support in SL from the LEA, and in RL from the Arts Council of England, they have been able to create an environment where avatars can co-mingle with real people visiting the Herbert!

The Exhibit has already involved volunteers from across Second Life spending time at a special installation at LEA 24 where they have been able to meet and talk to visitors entering the exhibit’s “other half” at the Herbert Art Gallery in the UK. Avatars are represented in 3D in the real world exhibition space, and appear to be floating among the visitors there.


The organisers are currently looking for volunteers to participate in the exhibit this coming week. The work involves being on-hand at the LEA 24 installation, where you can meet and interact with visitors to the Herbert Art Gallery’s installation in Coventry UK – so it does mean working to UK times as the gallery is open between 02:00 and 08:00 SLT (10:00 and 16:00 UK) Monday through Saturday and 04:00 to 08:00 SLT (12:00 midday to 16:00 UK) Sundays.

If you would like to volunteer and chat with Herbert visitors, you need to:

  • Be using an SL viewer capable of displaying shared media
  • Use Voice to interact with visitors at the Herbert Art Gallery – text chat and avatars names are not visible to visitors there
  • Have a suitable avatar appearance to meet the requirements of a “General”-rated audience which includes children

Creativity is welcome with avatars – there is no need to restrict yourself to a conventional human form, so long as your avatar isn’t too large (as it will be appearing life-sized at the art gallery) and dress and behaviour are in keeping with the General rating.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ian Pahute or Joff Fassnacht in-world in order for you to be added to the exhibit’s access list.

If you are in the UK, and wish to visit the real life half of the exhibit, you can find details on how to get to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum on their website – booking for the exhibit is not required, and visitors are invited to “drop in” for a tour with the Gallery’s guides.

The Herbert Art Gallery’s side of the exhibit will remain open until November 25th, 2012.

UK-based performance artist Stelarc was present at the Herbert his last week, where he logged into SL from the gallery and gave a performance entitled “Involuntary and Improvised Arm”.

Related Links

 Images courtesy Rowan Derryth / Linden Endowment for the Arts