Second Life and Bare Life

The last session i attended at the netsquared conference was a demo of Second Life , "a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents...inhabited by over 200,000 people from around the globe". Blow me down if there wasn't a conversation straight away about a 'Camp Darfur' that some people had built to draw attention to the Darfur crisis (& which, apparently, some other people tore down - 'virtual vandalism'). It so happened that i'd just got an email from my office alerting us to the imminent stepping up of our Darfur work, including the online presence. So this virtual Camp Darfur got my attention! How strange, that a prominent subject in this second world (which is essentially a luxury extension to a wealthy western technosociety) should be those who are stripped by displacement to the state of 'Bare Life' articulated by Giorgio Agamben. SecondlifeSecondlifeThen folk started discussing how people streamed music in to Second Life and even hold gigs there , as my new BBC acquaintance confirmed. (She also gave me the skinny on the controversy around the virtual Camp Darfur, which Ethan Zuckerman has pitched in on; he's always got something worthwhile to say so i must check out his blog on it). Whatever the nascent politics of Second Life, it does seems like a platform for remixing and creative intervention. Then I get back to my desk at work and discover that the American Cancer Society run a virtual version of their fundraising run online (Second Life Relay For Life). I'd already been chatting to Erin from ACS at netsquared about their adoption of Drupal so i know they're up to speed on the tech front. I passed the info on to Amnesty's fundraising crew & we'll see what they make of it. In the mean time it seems a no-brainer that, one way or another, Second Life is ripe for some kind of experimental intervention by Amnesty. Closing thought: one of the things I had heard before about Second Life is the size of it's economy, and how Linden dollars are traded for real dollars. Any place with an economy has the potential for economically-related activist interventions, no?