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Fantastical worlds interview: ARE 494 Digital Ethnography Megan victoria ruth
Megan Victoria Ruth
Traditional Ethnography is the ways of living (Stokrocki, 1997) and include the quality, type, or
components of a group, substance, or event (The Qualitative Report, 2010).
Digital Ethnography is much like traditional Ethnograhy but within a digital context and
incorporates new technologies such as online films, platforms, digital games, blogs, and virtual
Stages of Digital Ethnography
1. Data collection is a process of recording an event and gathering pertinent(inportant) information.
Following are some suggestions for collecting data.
- Content analysis is a search for conceptual themes or patterns of meaning both scientific and
emerging. Content analysis also entails writing data summaries, clustering data to form relationships,
condensing information to the most significant meanings, and writing stories (Huberman & Miles,
1994, p. 429).
- Comparative analysis is a process of interrelating findings or explanations in one class session or
several class sessions to form [suppositions] propositional insights. Interrelation consists of both
internal analysis (within your own study) and external analysis (comparisons with other cases and the
related literature). All stages involve interpretation, a process of translation of texts. Interpretation is
concerned with uncovering the multi-layered meanings of a phenomenon and understanding them
Method: Digital Ethnography and its Stages
The funding group gathered together and paired six disempowered participants (homeless, etc) for an continuous participation study. Their project
aims were to see if virtual worlds can be used to help rethink life plans. For the study they watched the group us virtual sites to plan improvements
in their life. They met once a week for ten weeks at ASU’s SkySong. They used “Levis”, “Dopey”, and “Grumpy” for data gathering. The main
virtual site was SecondLife, and they centralized their gatherings at Floaters within SecondLife. There are 7 steps to their plan which include:
1: learning basic communication skills: Building basic online communication skills via mentorship and/or online tutorials.
2: acquire computer and digital literacy: Creating an avatar, and learning to maneuver within a virtual world.
3: develop life skill guides: Using “The Transition: A Place for Dreams” project subjects learn steps for building new life, such as gathering
resources and building resumes.
4: imagine a place for dreams: Exploring the virtual world.
5: envision a home: Finding a location for a home and building a house.
6: build a business: The option of planning a business while building their home, they will bring the plan into SecondLife as an advertisement.
7: develop service for life: Participants required to give back to the Floaters and Transitions programs, and the hope that participant will retain
their service in the future
Members of the Floaters community are encouraged to donate back to their group, and to participate in social support groups.
I wanted to find an artwork based on fantasy so I tried a couple of different searches, but I couldn’t
find any actual artworks.
I found a lot of fantasy adventure worlds where you can complete missions. One such world that I
found Interesting was Hangars liquides - Technopunk Deconstructions.
This work was very dark and futuristic in design.
Some of the worlds I found were really
I went through this beautiful cave in
I was startled when I was eaten by a
flower I happened to walk over.
I finally found The Lost Unicorn Gallery.
This gallery holds rotating showing, on a 2 month basis, where the artist’s artworks which are shown
are changed every 2 months.
Light country music with guitars is playing. One of the songs that plays is ‘One’s on the way’ by
Loretta Lynn. Very relaxing.
There is the musty smell of old paper and leatherback books.
I could imagine drinking tea, coffee, cocoa, and eating cookies after a long day here.
Most places in SL are life size next to avatars. I feel tiny like Alice in Wonder Land after she drinks
the shrinking potion, the doorways are well over four times taller than me. There is a sitting area,
book case, and ladder that are my size but everything else is giant compared to me.
Lots of books and pictures from books, which is very relaxing and draws out the imagination. Soft
lighting adds to the relaxed feel.
I chose this place because, I wanted to find fantasy themed artwork, which was a lot harder than I
first thought it would be, because there are a lot of fantasy themed areas in second life. When I found
this place I really liked the Gallery setup and the artwork.
The Gallery is open to the public,
however the homes of the owner,
Natalie aka natalie.montagne, are
closed to the public and only those
who are placed on a list are allowed
access to the Natalie’s homes.
The area in highly mountainous
with forestry and a river which
leads to the lake between the
The gallery is on the mountain
slope, and the owner’s homes are in
You can follow different paths
which lead down towards the lake
from the gallery.
There is a tower next the lake
which is open to visitor which you
can climb up via the Elven rope at
the base of the tower.
Hidden beneath the
gallery is a waterlogged
chandelier’s and a
dragon. Past the
dragon’s keep, beneath
and behind the gallery,
there is Trompe Loeil’s
‘The Dreaming House
Bench’, which is a 3D
I walked around and found a lot of
artworks that I really liked that
were all made by Polly Elan so I
IMed the owner of the gallery,
Natalie aka natalie.montagne, and
the artist, Polly Elan aka PolinA
LiL 亗Princess, to ask if I could
The artwork I chose that I really
liked was ‘The Beauty Wait’ by
Polly Elan. It is in the right side of
the building to the right in the
‘The Beauty Wait’ by Polly Elan.
To be sure I had an artist to
interview, I decided to find another
artist. I found Cerridwen’s
Unlike the ones before when I
arrived at this one, I received a note
card which told me the name of the
artist, Elicio Ember, who created
this land design. The artistry used
to create this 3D environment is
amazing so I IMed Elicio Ember
and asked for an interview.
I got responses from both artists so
I made my questions into a
notecard and sent it to them.
Elicio Ember sent me back a
notecard with his answers. While
Polly Elan messaged me and we set
up an appointment for an avatar
[13:27] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: will around 7pm today be
[13:27] Polly Elan: well it s my zz time!
[13:28] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: what time today are you
[13:28] Polly Elan: earliest i can be it s like 12 am on friday!
[13:28] Polly Elan: i go zz in a few but we can do e.f friday
round 10 am!
[13:28] Polly Elan: or noon sl!
[13:31] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: can you do friday at 4:30pm?!
[13:32] Polly Elan: well i usually zz from like 2 pm - 11 pm
deep night here!
[13:32] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: or 4am on friday?!
[13:34] Polly Elan: friday only 11 am or 11 pm will work )!
[13:34] Polly Elan: ugh sadly!
[13:35] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: your time or my time?!
[13:35] Polly Elan: sl time!
[13:36] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: where is that time indicator
[13:36] Polly Elan: right up corner!
[13:36] Polly Elan: next to sound!
[13:37] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: k. then i can meet you at
11pm on friday.!
[13:37] Polly Elan: ok cool!
[13:37] Polly Elan: i l be on!
[13:37] IngwayEndelVictoriaRuth: see you then. and thank you.!
[13:37] Polly Elan: mw!
Polly Elan uses shortened words when she writes.!
The artist I selected is Polly Elan, and the artwork I chose is
‘The Beauty Wait’. I chose this artwork because I really liked
the aesthetic, as well as the painted quality of the digital work.
Polly Elan lives in Russia so there is a six hour time difference between us but we managed to set up
a time when both of us could be available. 7am for her and 11pm for me.
When we met up for our interview. She asked if she could with from typing to voice. I agreed and
found that the speech option would be better for me as I needed to type her answers. We chatted
about the questions and her life and why she uses/likes second life so much.
She was very nice and we had a great conversation.
Content Analysis: Polly Elan
What is Art to you? A way to escape reality, expressing inner personality/ideas, relax and feel peace, and to forget about
problems, or to work out bad moods (makes details in artwork)
What are their Art Preferences? Photography, clothes (avatar poses, with atmosphere, history, story), story or strong concept. Sculpting
armatures for figure poses. Architecture but not on purpose (for backgrounds) spring blowing.
Why do you make it on Second Life? Because she likes it, it takes so much time, but it’s not for benefits, it is her hobby.
How did you make this artwork? Inspriations from a designer blog “you can wait a hundred years”. She picked an idea out of a bag. Her
ideas come from/relate to fairy tales, she draws inspiration from her child. She loves themes of fantasy,
she makes photo shoots of her avatars, and uses photoshop, and other graphic programs for editing. She
draws details like hair, etc. She uses background stock(free images).
What kind of artist are you in Real Life
She says she is not an artist, she is a [design director] for a building company for building materials
(paints, tiles). She arranges designs for advertisements in magazines/banners. Russia, Mosco district.
What Artwork Forms and Methods do
She uses a little of both. She either makes a board and puts the textures on them. She creates, edits and
imports her work. Or she makes/builds then directly in SL.
How do you collaborate? She works with artists like her with combined galleries that work as a studio which customers can walk
through, which also functions as a workshop. She works with friends in Russia help them assimilate.
She asks for help with pile-up pictures, which uses many avatars. She uses them for inspirations. She
asks them to help her find cool pictures. She says artists always look for new feelings, and that’s why
they use pileup groups.
How did they make the artpiece?
What does their artwork mean--
What are their Art Preferences?
She took a photograph, edited it using photoshop, then uploads it.
Inspirations come from fantasy, things/world around her, music, pictures, other people’s artwork
(concepts), movies. Interview with a Vampire, Beowulf, Sucker Punch (she liked the music during the
fight with samurai).
What kind of art do you make on SL? She makes 2D work, in-world shoots, avatar backgrounds, and block pictures(furniture, dresses).
What is its style? Her avatar is elven. She is dressed a certain way because she was working on a block picture. She likes
white hair, (inspired by her male avatar/legoless, from lord of the rings), pure white skin tones, different
tan tones for work and photos(facebook)(for arabian country idea for skin).
She doesn’t usually add wings, or horns, but may use them for style.
Benson’s Thematic Analysis Method: Patton, M. Q (2002). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, 3rd
Edition, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Content Analysis: Elicio Ember
Your favorite artwork/artist on
I love the Artwork of the designers part of the Fantasy Faire (of which I am part too), each of whom has
their own SL brand, like myself , that would be Alia Baroque, Sharni Azalee, Rynn Verwood, Saiyge
Lotus, and many others. (More info on the Fantasy Farie at: https://fantasyfairesl.wordpress.com/
What are their Art Preferences? I am a fantasy artist, with visual influences from surrealism, psychedelic artwork, art nouveau and
ancient cultures, mainly kelt.
Why do you make it on Second
I was a RL painter long before becoming a SL artist, and that was 7 years ago. I see SL as an interactive
canvas, one where I can make "paintings", or parts of them, that people not only get to admire, but
interact with. Its, for me, a more meaningful artistic relationship than a passive viewer. People get my
work and get to do their own landscapes and worlds with them. Each people adds, changes, and
transforms my work to fit what it inspires in them. And I love that. That is in addition to the landscapes
I get to create myself for people to interact with. Commercially, it offers the wide world audience that
social networks offer (if your work falls into the public eye) . As a RL fantasy landscape painter in
Mexico my access to public was very limited. SL has opened for me a world wide public for my digital
world, and interest on my RL paintings for the near future.
How did you make this
In SL its digital of course, with ample use of different design and 3d design programs, as well as stock
images, texture creation tools, stock sound databases (for the interactive elements), etc.
In RL I use watercolors on cotton paper or acrylics on prepared canvas. I would love to sculpt, but my
current location is not fit for that.
What kind of artist are you in
Real Life Artist?
Who I am here, an artist. I am a painter and digital artist in RL, so, SL is an extension of it. SL is one of
my digital art mediums. I live in Mexico City, Mexico. And I am Mexican myself.
How do you collaborate? Artistically, I have participated in extensive collaborative projects with skilled worldmakers like the
Fantasy Faire, for which I have created 6 simulators so far. Commercially, I have not done any
collaborative project yet. but it is on my plans for the near future.
How did they make the
What does their artwork mean--
What are their Art Preferences?
I make on Second Life realistic (as in not abstract) architecture and landscaping (plants, trees, statues,
interactive elements, etc), fantasy themed, with influence from surrealism, like Spanish architect Gaudi,
art nouveau, psychedelic art, and ancient cultures, as mentioned before. In RL I do figurative painting,
mainly landscapes, with the same influences.
What is its style? Its usually a Tolkein style male elf. Though I shapeshift depending on where I go. I like much using
unusual fantasy avatars or animal avatars when in nature-like sims.
Polly Elan uses photography and digital 3D. She makes these works as a hobby for relaxation and expressing
Elicio Ember uses painting and digital 3D. He makes these works as interactive artwork, a collaborative of viewer
alterations and inspirations.
Both artists use digital storytelling. They both create an idea or story, which they then use to
create visual images/environments which visiting viewers can experience, and they use notecards
and events to tell viewers about the meanings of the artworks. This is similar to the activity that
was used in Sanchez’s Pedagogical Applications of Second Life.
Sanchez, J. (2007). Implementing Second Life: Ideas, Challenges, and Innovations. Pedagogical
Applications of Second Life (pp.21-28).
Stokrocki, M. (1997). Qualitative forms of research methods. In S. D. La
Pierre, & E. Zimmerman (Eds.). Research methods and methodologies for art education (pp.
33-56). Reston, VA: NAEA.
Sweeny, Bob. (Ed.). (2010). Empowering the disenfranchised: Explorations in building sites and
futures in Second Life. Digital Visual Culture: Intersections and Interactions in 21st century art
education. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. Cutting edge research and community
outreach which is an ASU priority. NAEA Visual Culture Blog: http://naea.typepad.com/dvc/