“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By Cat Boccaccio.
So says Robin Wood, Robin Sojourner in Second Life, the subject of Draxtor Despres’ latest World Makers machinima. Challenged by a painful and often debilitating condition called Fibromyalgia, which compromised her successful painting and illustrating career in RL, Robin found an outlet for her creativity in Second Life. Sitting comfortably, arms supported, she logs into SL and finds herself in a world where anything is possible.
Drax takes us for a visit to Robin’s rather elaborate and highly functional work platform in SL, where she diligently works–possibly too diligently, she admits– making furniture and other Second Life creations.
Working with 3D graphics since 1989, she is skillful and imaginative. She designs a beautiful quilt using software called Electric Quilt and we watch as it becomes real… in both her real life and in Second Life. The quilt drapes gracefully over a stool in SL, while her RL avatar touches the blue and white cloth and holds up the quilt to show us.
“I don’t think there is as much difference between virtual stuff and real stuff as people seem to think,” Robin says. “Emotionally, there is not any difference between doing stuff in real life and doing stuff in Second Life. Emotionally it hits you the same way.”
Some people say that Second Life is a refuge for the physically handicapped or emotionally challenged– as if to condemn it. The diversity of Second Life is one of its most extraordinary aspects. People who have difficulty moving in their real lives can walk, dance, and fly in the virtual worlds. People who are housebound through no fault of their own can make friends and form bonds with people from around the world. People struggling or isolated in RL can find support and diversion in Second Life.
Robin Wood also thinks that people who have been told their whole lives that they are not part of the creative “elite” can come to Second Life and express, collaborate, and learn.
“I believe the drive to create is in everyone.”