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Bruno Latour y Second Life

marzo 29, 2007

Siempre me he cuestionado cuál es el valor de “ese mundo virtual” si, finalmente, repite lo que vivimos en el mundo material. Por supuesto, pensar que “lo virtual” está desconectado de lo real (de la realidad) parece también ingenuo (incluso una maniobra política). No obstante, creo que hay allí una pregunta muy interesante de planetarse, incluso cuando pregonamos las ventajas de terminar con la brecha digital. Si las injusticias se van a repetir,¿vale la pena una segunda vida virtual?

Todo este párrafo anterior, a propósito de una excelente entrevista en Re-Public a Bruno Latour que, entre otras cosas muy interesantes, habla de Second Life:

K.K.: For example, have you heard about this site which is called Second Life?
B.L: Yes. Ségolène Royal has set up an electoral desk there.
K.K.: Does it represent something new or is it only a logical continuation?
B.L.: All those things that materialize the symbolic spaces, in which we live, all those things that make them intelligible and shareable, and countable, are interesting for the understanding of society. I suppose that today there are probably as many sociologists who study Second Life as there are users. Certainly, there are many economists and they find economic models remaining practically unchanged. Second Life is indeed not very original from the point of view of economic relationships. It is, however, interesting because we can see the rematerialisation, layer by layer of what existence in a virtual world means. The term “virtual” is, in fact, not appropriate because it is the normal state of affairs. “First Life” is virtual whereas Second Life is material since one is obliged to pay the price. Not very much, but a cost nonetheless. All those things that facilitate the replacement of virtual relations between symbolic and material are of interest because they preclude a lot of the nonsense that suggests that we are moving from a real world into an imaginary world.

The Greeks taught us that we were in an imaginary world many years ago. Today we pay for a connection and so we can see more clearly what it is all about. Also I think there is now a small police in Second Life. Not yet real politics but there is a set of rules, of exclusions. One can be excluded as bad alias, bad avatars. There were acts of violence, strikes, sit-ins. Therefore we find certain elements of “First Life”. But it is not particularly original, in a strange way it is hardly utopian. The study of second life will not be easier than that of first life. From that perspective, Second Life resembles a lot “Biosphere II”, which was an attempt to reconstitute an artificial biosphere, not virtually (not on the web) but in a situation of controlled urbanism which would play an important role in the ecologists’ imagination. All these difficulties in order to construct a second biosphere, all these efforts to constitute artificial islands are interesting.

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