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SIGGRAPH 2000 PANEL: Interactive Storytelling: New Genres and Directions


Authoring the Self: Identity and Role-Playing in Virtual Communities.

As thousands upon thousands of people are daily inter-relating in avatar-based virtual communities, they are beginning to break down the old definitions of identity and self. Not only do they inhabit many identities that are each authentic in a particular context, but they also soon realize that identity itself is a dynamic construct that, like a leash, can be pulled in tight or given generous slack. In this way, one does not have to choose between the extremes of either playing a role or strictly being oneself, but instead can meander through identity space of this role of the self. Our modern world has forced us all to each inhabit many roles in the course of the daily life -- with multiple business cards, emails, domain names and titles that are associated with each of them. Virtual communities have taken this newly discovered need for multiple and differing identities and exploded the boundaries to the point where authoring the self is blurring the lines between non-fiction and fiction.

View the Presentation - Authoring the Self: Identity and Role-Playing in Virtual Communities.

Best viewed at full screen (1024x768), the presentation was given as a narrative, so follow the simple red instructions to navagate around the story and images as you read the white text. It is about a 12 minute talk.

or you can view the text of the talk (with limited image links):


NOTE: To fully view the Onlive 3D Community Spaces discussed in this talk, you will need to download OnLive Traveler (which is 5 MB). I have supplied screen shots for those who do not want to download it. Download it Here: Onlive Traveler


Additional Panel Info:

Interactive Storytelling: New Genres and Directions (Siggraph 2000 Panel, July 28th 2000, New Orleans)

Artists, academics, and commercial designers engaged in a lively discussion about the changing role of author and audience in the realm of interactive narrative. They addressed the nature of both storytelling and authorship in the framework of interactive fiction, and searched for an aesthetic of interactivity that allows an artist to give control to the audience while at the same time cultivating a unique voice.


Celia Pearce - University of Southern California


Steve DiPaola - Muse Communication

Janet H. Murray - Georgia Institute of Technology

Sarah Roberts - California Institute of the Arts

Michael Thomsen - Interactive Institute