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This paper takes a first-hand look at the creation of multiple identities through multiple avatars by a single user in Second LifeĀ®. This phenomenon, together with its non-virtual predecessors such as the literary nom de plume, challenges the validity of the notion of the undivided 'self', particularly in the context of creative practices. 'alpha.tribe' is an experimental group of avatars who have founded a virtual fashion business in Second LifeĀ®. The creative output of this enterprise provides the visual context through which the primarily self-observational study of the author will be presented. Within this framework, references from presence studies, cyberpsychology and ludology will also be drawn upon. A designer and artist, as well as an art educator, the author wished to investigate whether the consistency of the creative self is in fact a given and whether it might not be challenged. Thus five avatars, of both sexes, human as well as non-human, have pooled their resources in the operation of a design enterprise, within which each virtual identity pursues his/her own line of creative inquiry, culminating in different lines of output. A discussion of this ongoing experiment, supplemented with a visual documentation of the work engendered, forms the bulwark of this text.

Keywords: Avataralt; alt; appearance; creativity; embodiment; identity; metaverse; play

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sabanci University, The Planetary Collegium/CAiiA hub, Istanbul, Turkey, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2010


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