I Want to be Alone

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Whether it's building forts, playing with blocks, or remodeling Barbie's Dream House, even as children, the architectural impulse to create an ideal space for our self looms large. Nowhere in the digital realm is there such a literal translation of this impulse than in Second Life, and recognizing the growing use of this space as an experimental architectural playground is the 1st Annual Architecture and Design Competition in Second Life. The public voted on the four finalists, who were selected by a panel at this year's Ars Electronica, (the theme of which was GOOD BYE PRIVACY), and the people's favorite was Tanja Meyle's Living Cloud. Avoiding anything that mimicked real life structures, the finalists all responded to their virtual environment, reassessing what good design means in a virtual space. In some cases walls were constructed from sound and Second Life detritus, but for Meyle's entry she truly examined her spatial needs within this multi-user context. Ironically, hers is a semi-transparent cloud that constantly travels with her avatar--an extension of her virtual self. In a space where one doesn't really go to be alone, Living Cloud nonetheless provides its owner with both privacy and mobility.