Canan Beykal

The Avatar Project- Portraits from MSN

This project came into my mind first when I met a friend of my niece Iklim who was presenting herself under a virtual name with the image of a technological device, which I couldn’t recognize. Later on I was surprised to notice that they all had virtual names other than their real names, virtual identities as well as virtual ages. Some were presenting them- selves under the name of the macho character of a popular TV series or with a photograph of Che accompanied by a nationalist slogan they them- selves added while others were using the low-cut photo of a pop celebrity or a motorcycle, a race car, a teddy bear, artificial flowers, a cartoon character or as cited in Sherman and Judkins’ book “Glimpses of heaven, visions of hell”, ”lobster pot, book holder, drumstick or Saturn” images. The Hindu philosophy says, “Whatever you love is your God, all living creatures may be God embodied in a different form.” The Gods slip into the role of different avatars when they descend on earth. Today the divine heaven is the place where virtual reality is presented and it is offering to those who are willing to enter, the fantasy of playing God. This group accepted my project and they created new identities for this project in a new space-less, distance- less dimension. “A domain in which isolated from external reality, they can experience their own unconditional power”, unsubstantial/disembodied, even where identity is abolished, where subject is replaced with object, a dimension which is imprisoned within the safe and protective placenta of virtual names.