Our Digital Selves is a full feature film by Draxtor Despres, available for free on his YouTube channel. It is a Drax Files special documentary about disability and embodiment in virtual worlds. He not only focuses on residents in Second Life, but Sansar, High Fidelity and other virtual reality worlds, with guest appearances from Ebbe Altberg and Philip Rosedale.
It’s a wonderful film with a compassionate look at residents with mental and physical disabilities and how virtual worlds enhance their real and virtual lives.
It was first previewed at a Congressional Briefing on Disability, Mental Health, and Virtual Worlds on May 9th. Now it is available on Draxtor’s YouTube channel, you can watch it at this link: https://youtu.be/GQw02-me0W4
Here is a press release with a little description of the film by Draxtor:
“Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is me!” tells the story of 13 global citizens and their avatars as they transcend their various disabilities through artistic expression and making a home for in the VR Metaverse.
Filmmaker Bernhard Drax travels from California to rural South England to explore why a diverse group of people ranging from 24 to 92 years of age find solace, inspiration and deep friendship that in a user-created digital wonderland that only exists inside their computers.
Drax sends his intrepid documentarian avatar Draxtor Despres into the virtual universes of Second Life as well as next generation VR platforms like High Fidelity and Sansar and – among many other adventures – he finds out why a 40-something Chicago native feels best represented by a colorful gecko complete with superhero cape or why Cody LaScala – confined to a wheelchair his entire life – feels his avatar should look exactly like him.
The film follows researchers Tom Boellstorff and Donna Davis as they lead discussion groups and facilitate deep connection between real human beings in virtuality. We follow along as they travel to Silicon Valley to find out how the leading technologists design the future with disability in mind.
As Boellstorff and Davis finish up their 3-year study made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation [entitled “Virtual Worlds, Disability and New Cultures of the Embodied Self”], the film comes as a compressed compendium and visual guide to a seemingly unlimited array of possibilities for borderless human interaction.
Unique in its narrative approach, “Our Digital Selves” weaves together physical and virtual cinematography as the protagonists’ backstories are re-enacted via Machinima technique – real time animation – in the virtual world and in next generation VR platforms.
The film will be available for free on YouTube on May 18th and has been submitted to film festivals around the world for the 2019 season.
Here are links to other blog posts about this film:
I hope you guys enjoy the film as much as I did. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts about the film in the comments of the video and support our virtual communities. <3