Digital Ethnography in Virtual Worlds Caleb Kilian
Definition and Stages• Ethnography: Systematic study of immersive human societies embedded in the Internet, mainly on Second Life, including such proficiencies as collaborative principles, communication & interaction, cultural studies, discourse analysis, storing and retrieving content, writing research.• Stages: • Data collection: a process of recording an event and gathering pertinent information. Following are some suggestions for collecting data. • Content analysis: a search for conceptual themes or patterns of meaning both scientific and emerging. Content analysis also entails writing data summaries, clustering data to form relationships, condensing information to the most significant meanings, and writing stories (Huberman & Miles, 1994, p. 429). • Comparative analysis: a process of interrelating findings or explanations in one class session or several class sessions to form [suppositions] propositional insights. Interrelation consists of both internal analysis (within your own study) and external analysis (comparisons with other cases and the related literature).
Real Life• Forth Year Undergrad Student at ASU Kilian2013• Digital Culture Major• Focused in movement and dance based sound manipulation. Caleb Kilian
Previous Works• Motion and Music • Demonstrated the interaction between technology and movement• Stress • A piece that shows the physical movements of emotion and how these emotions can be demonstrated sonically.
First ImpressionsI will be the First to admit that I was not thrilled to be taking part in a virtual world, “secondlife” kind of atmosphere. Before this class, I have had no experience with Sim environments and had only heard the horror stories of these environments.
A New Look After participating in Dr. Mary Stokrocki’s Virtual Ethnography class, I quickly came to appreciate the artistic freedom that wasencouraged. Second Life gives artists a creative way to develop and market there work without going through the barriers that real life requires. As Bonafide Aries said in our interview, “there is more instant gratification and critique in SL and less time between creation and public display.” (Aries) I feel that this allows the artist to get a better feel for how people react to his or her work and can push their future works even further. It wasthis notion that lead to me to discover all the avenues that SL gave for artistic expression
Research Questions• What promoted you to paint and primarily paint about Jazz?• What inspires you to paint?• What advantages does Second Life offer that you can’t find in the real word?
Nat’s Jazz Club I choose Nat’s Jazz Club as my spot to spend most of my time. The atmosphere was so fun andrelaxing and it had everything that I was looking for. Jazz, dancing,wonderful art, it was all here. Nat’s is where I found the avatar that I wanted to interview and was theplace that I played my first piano. It was a great learning ground to learn how to use SL and and also discover some great new art. I love Nat’s!
Interview with Bonafide Aries[17:07] Bonafide Aries: also there is moreinstant gratification and critique in SL.. Bonafide Aries is a digital painter in SL[17:07] Bonafide Aries: there is less time who’s primary content focuses aroundbetween creation and public dispay[17:07] Bonafide Aries: the nasty part of being jazz and the musical concepts that arein artists is . for some artists, marketing supported throughout the genre. The[17:08] Kilian2013: So most of this work isspecific to SL and isnt available in RL most interesting conversation that we[17:08] Bonafide Aries: I am fascinated with had in our interview was when I askedmarketing from the stand point of humanmotivators him what inspired him to make these[17:09] Bonafide Aries: most of it is yes.... I do pieces? We started to talk abouthave some available through a site called FineArts America. where digital prints can be Thelonius Monk, a legendary jazzrendered and printed as acrylic on canvas, or pianist, and he said, “He plays aroundas printed posters or greeting cards[17:10] Kilian2013: That is so cool. the melody, kind of the way I like to put[17:11] Kilian2013: So you said before that you things in negative space.” This idea justlike to listen to Jazz when you are creating. Isthere any other method that inspires you to blew me away. Such a simple idea andcreate like you do??? yet so complex of an idea. Negative[17:12] Bonafide Aries: Stories.. a lot of myearlier works were based on myths, fables, tall space is the area of a piece wheretales, or just funky questions nothing is going on. The parts[17:12] Bonafide Aries: Like . what was it likewhen time began .. not creation but time.. supporting the melody in music can be[17:12] Bonafide Aries: I did seven paintings on thought of in the same way. Theloniusthat question and called it the chronos series[17:13] Bonafide Aries: the postulation that is .. Monk used this space as theIf the life and all was going so good.. it had to centerpiece for his music and with thereally piss folks off when chronos started TIME[17:13] Bonafide Aries: then came deadlines, same idea Bona does the same in his artand lateness work. Collaboration between the arts is[17:14] Bonafide Aries: good songs ended[17:14] Bonafide Aries: people started rushing something I strive to have in my art and[17:14] Bonafide Aries: had to piss of a lot of I have never thought of music andfolks[17:14] Kilian2013: I have never thought of painting in this since. It has given me athat..... there is so much truth in that new way of looking at my art form.[17:14] Bonafide Aries: that is one of thechronos pieces[17:15] Bonafide Aries: the spark was that I did
Chat Analysis In studying Bona’s interview, I saw no real patterns in his speech or anything that I thought was worth analysis. This was before I was able to speak to myfather about this project and Bona’s pieces. My father is a professional Jazz bass player and I have been blessedenough to live in that artistic community my whole life.It was my dad who told me, “ don’t look at the pattens within his speech, look at the way in which he speaks.” The Jazz community’s speech behavior is like non I have ever seen. They use phrases like “brother,” “ya dig,” and my favorite “ya got to groove.” I quickly Saxman realized that Bona was no different. His speech indicates both artist and musician. To the right are some words that Bona used in his chat that, I felt,showed the true artistry within his speech. All of these • Melody words can be used in both music and painting. Artists, • Blow counter whether it’s music, painting, or any other art form, have a language that goes with it. People can observe • Weave these speech patterns from the outside of that art community but, I feel, that you can not truly • Negative Space understand these art communities until you emerse Interview Location: Bona (Bona’s Art Gallery)yourself within them. Even I, who has been in the music community his whole life, had trouble truly understanding Bona’s language because I do not live in a painters world.
Chat Samples [17:11] Kilian2013: So you said before that you like to listen to Jazz when you are creating. Is there any other method that inspires you to create like you do??? [17:12] Bonafide Aries: Stories.. a lot of my earlier works were based on[16:59] Bonafide Aries: Specifially the works of thelonius monk myths, fables, tall tales, or just funky questions[16:59] Bonafide Aries: I like his math [17:12] Bonafide Aries: Like . what was it like when time began .. not creation[16:59] Kilian2013: O man I agree. definitely an artist I grew up listening to. but time.. [17:12] Bonafide Aries: I did seven paintings on that question and[16:59] Bonafide Aries: He plays around the melody . kind of the way I like to called it the chronos seriesput things in negative space [17:13] Bonafide Aries: the postulation that is .. If the life and all was going so[17:00] Kilian2013: negitive space? can you elaborate a little more??? good.. it had to really piss folks off when chronos started TIME[17:00] Bonafide Aries: Im not much on smoothe jazz. I like straight ahead bop [17:13] Bonafide Aries: then came deadlines, and lateness.. closest I get to smoothe for any duration is Miles [17:14] Bonafide Aries: good songs ended[17:02] Bonafide Aries: sorry about that.. got called away [17:14] Bonafide Aries: people started rushing[17:02] Kilian2013: quite alright [17:14] Bonafide Aries: had to piss of a lot of folks[17:02] Bonafide Aries: NEgative space is that area of a visual piece where [17:14] Kilian2013: I have never thought of that..... there is so much truth inNothing goes on that[17:02] Bonafide Aries: its not a focal point [17:14] Bonafide Aries: that is one of the chronos pieces[17:03] Bonafide Aries: its background [17:15] Bonafide Aries: the spark was that I did this in the begining as pure sl[17:03] Kilian2013: Awww ok that makes more sense. photography[17:03] Bonafide Aries: and effectively it helps frame the central object or [17:15] Bonafide Aries: I sculpted the horn looking shapemessage of a work [17:15] Bonafide Aries: and then set it in motion with a script[17:03] Bonafide Aries: like music [17:15] Bonafide Aries: But I had to wait to get the shots I really really wanted[17:04] Bonafide Aries: you can harmonize with it, Blow counter to it [17:15] Bonafide Aries: so time kept bugging me[17:04] Bonafide Aries: weave with it [17:16] Bonafide Aries: thus[17:05] Kilian2013: Ok.... I think I can get that. [17:16] Bonafide Aries: Chronos[17:05] Kilian2013: I can see the collaboration between the music and piecemuch better now[17:05] Kilian2013: Now what are the advantages for you as an artist to usesecond life. [17:06] Bonafide Aries: I can paint digitally[17:06] Bonafide Aries: my skills with canvas have not caught up yet[17:06] Bonafide Aries: canvas is less forgiving[17:07] Bonafide Aries: also there is more instant gratification and critique inSL..[17:07] Bonafide Aries: there is less time between creation and public dispay[17:07] Bonafide Aries: the nasty part of being in artists is . for some artists,marketing [17:08] Kilian2013: So most of this work is specific to SL and isntavailable in RL[17:08] Bonafide Aries: I am fascinated with marketing from the stand point ofhuman motivators
Comparative Analysis Because we, as students, have been conditioned to create and Joe Sanchez of School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin wrote an article named, “Second Life: An do every piece of work by the standards of others, we cut Interactive Qualitative Analysis. In this article he talks ourselves short of our own creativity. We constantly question about his studies with students inside of the Second Life the purpose of the work that we are doing rather than to enjoy realm. He created a secluded island that only the students what is right in front of us. I constantly caught myself asking, “is had access to and they did there work there, with no this what Mary would want” rather than to sit back and enjoy interaction with the rest of Second Life. Sanchez talks the beautiful piece of art that is right in front of my eyes. That about the struggles and frustrations the students had with same struggle within Second Life is also it’s greatest gift. the environment wanted to know if Second Life had any Sanchez’s class, along with myself, stated that they constantly place in the teaching world. Unfortunately “students did asked what is the purpose of doing this? The gift of Second Life not understand the purpose of their Second Life activity. is that the same question can asked when looking at the work in They had a difficult time relating the activity of building in front of you. What was their purpose?Second Life to the course material, “Why are we doing this in a world lit class” they asked. Students failed to make connections between Second life activities and their traditional course work.”(Sanchez p.2) Our class experienced many of these same problems. We wereunsure of some things whether the assignment was unclearor we as students second guessed the content, I continually found myself wondering am I doing this correctly. In mostcases students will blame these problems directly at the on the professor, but in these classes I can not say that I would agree with that. Second Life gives you the creativityand freedom that any artist longs for in a space. They want place that they can make whatever it is that they want to Bill Evansmake. Sanchez’s “students felt the Second Life environment perpetuated a sense of creativity.” (Sanchez p.3)
Conclusion When I started this course I was unsure whether I was going to be able to take anything back to help my own art form. I didn’t see how interacting with avatars could really help in my real world endeavors. Surprisingly enough, I am able to take a lot back. Second Life is not just a SIM game that a bunch of people can get on and take through some cool looking character but instead it is way for people to express themselves fully to people from all over the world. People coming together to dance and look at beautiful pieces of art, play music, or just be plan silly and ride jet skis through a courtyard. People are free to express who they are or who they would like to be. I for one will forever be changed because of the interview with Bonafide Aries. He has helped me see new and innovative ways to see cohesionbetween art forms. Second Life is a true world of art and I feel that every artist should come and see what Second Life has to offer. “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing? even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.” (Thelonious Monk)
References Stokrocki, M. (1997). Qualitative forms of research methods. In S. D. LaPierre, & E. Zimmerman (Eds.). Research methods and methodologies for art education (pp. 33-56). Reston, VA: NAEA. Sweeny, Bob. (Ed.). (2010). Empowering the disenfranchised: Explorations in building sites andfutures in Second Life. Digital Visual Culture: Intersections and Interactions in 21st century art education.Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. Cutting edge research and community outreach whichis an ASU priority. NAEA Visual Culture Blog: http://naea.typepad.com/dvc/ Sanchez, J. (2007). Second Life: An Interactive Qualitative Analysis. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.),Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference2007 (pp. 1240-1243). Chesapeake, VA: AACE