Avatar art: transformative outcomes of the Advanced Identity Representation Project

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  • Avatar art: transformative outcomes of the Advanced Identity Representation Project

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  • Abstract

    Once a fantasy of cyberpunk literature, digital avatars are now seamlessly integrated into popular culture. Yet, current avatars are quite limited in responding to real world issues of social identity injustice or construction of personal narratives. The author has initiated the Advanced Identity Representation (AIR) Project to develop transformative social identity representation systems that challenge disempowering norms and allow for creation of rich, imaginative, and dynamic ways for users to represent themselves. The AIR Project builds on a novel interdisciplinary framework that applies insights from imaginative computational discourse generation, cognitive categorization, and science studies and sociological theories of classification. Expanding on results published by the author, this paper presents a series of cultural productions that can be called ‘Avatar Art’, in which modular visual representations combine with back-end data structures and algorithmic generativity in order to make critical and expressive statements regarding identity construction themes including race, gender, community, marginality, exclusion, and power.