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In her work, Mariko Mori seems to be asking: which items from my culture’s past should be brought into the future? How do I represent my culture in digital media? In Birth of a Star, she dresses as a futuristic pop star, surrounded by colourful balls that seem to float in the air. Created in 1995, right around the time that Photoshop started revolutionizing photography, this image would not have been possible without the new software. 

More than 20 years later, I was asking almost the same questions as Mariko was in 1995 When I noted how simple it would be to make very similar spheres in Second Life, my virtual world of choice, I knew I had to do a reboot using my own avatar, xox. I dressed her in her customized, futurized Haudenosaunee ribbon shirt and her cyberpunk boots. Where Mariko holds a microphone, xox holds an iPhone. Birth of an Avatar, like the image it refers to, would not have been possible without a new technology.