During my time in cyberspace I’ve dealt extensively with the avatar body, in particular figuring out how to work both with and against software limitations in order to represent Native people. What makes an avatar Indigenous? I have experimented with shape; skin, hair and eye colour; hair style; clothing and accessories to determine which of these, and in what combinations, signify Indigeneity.
Dancing With Myself is a diptych composed of a portrait of myself and one of my avatar, xox. Through the use of fashion photography and fashion “machinimatography” (the word I use to describe the technique of taking pictures in virtual environments), this work continues my investigation of both cultural construction and our relationships with the digital world.
Free from the limitations of our physical world, my avatar is better than me in a number of ways: healthier (never sick, never in pain); prettier, with her perfectly symmetrical features; and her hair –and other body parts– defy gravity. My avatar is in the process of seducing me. But I stand resolute! She will remain an extension of myself, an extra body to take me to places where flesh cannot go. And, besides, I know that she would prefer to be me. Like Pinocchio and Mr. Data, she wants to be real.