Basket Weaving at Çatalhöyük

I uploaded the above test clip for the longer machinima that I posted about a little while ago.  It took an immense amount of work to get this far, and this is only a tiny clip of a somewhat awkward avatar doing a single animation.  I used Jing for the video capture and downloaded Soundflower for the system audio redirect.

I think I’ve complained before about having a hard time finding a variety of avatars on Second Life.  Well, this lady is definitely in a different  mode than my usual avatar.  “Wearing” an identity like this one is deeply uncanny, and the reactions and perceptions of other people you meet in Second Life are absolutely different.  I decided to follow a fairly popular strain of visual interpretation at Çatalhöyük in dressing her as a goddess figurine in the bandeau that I made for a decidedly younger character.

Once again, the exercise of recreating this small scene raised more questions than it answered:

She’s weaving reeds, so it must be summer.  Were there cicadas?  Yes.  Why would she be doing this inside by firelight during the summer?  It would be excruciatingly hot and smoky.  What about her vision?  I’ve put her in a less than optimal situation for weaving, that’s for sure.   Why isn’t there anyone with her?  Could she hear other people?  Maybe sheep! We’ll add some sheep sounds. I think she’d be humming to herself.  But what sounds?

It’s a lot of interpretive responsibility, wearing these second skins.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

4 thoughts on “Basket Weaving at Çatalhöyük”

  1. It is weird seeing you as that avatar. But that island definitely gets one thinking. Like today, I was struck again that I had no idea where I was in the village and kept getting lost and was only able to find the house with the burial because of a white thing at the ladder. But the idea that you can create different seasons, and different ambient sounds, and feel the sensorial response is quitre extraordinary. Yes, there need to be other people; they are rarely alone, at least that’s the impression I get. I added children sounds today. I think that sound is a useful alternative to the static non-avatar characters. I think the next scene should be two of us (maybe you and me) walking down the mound to fetch water and see what we think about or say to each other.

  2. I completely agree, though my medium is the comics strip and the computer games. It is not until one wishes to construct these situations that one realizes how sparse the information is that we possess. I recently read Chagnon’s Yanonamoe again, and you just latch onto every single anecdote as if it was a life raft. No wonder our reconstructions end up sounding like the pastiches of someone who walked for hours randomly past conversations at a noisy party where they knew no one.

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