Performative Avatars – Self Portraits

This week we were tasked to create two self-portraits using different avatar creation apps. I see self-portraits a way of revisiting my identity and projections that I have over it, at the same time as an opportunity to rethink it and recreate it.

Avakin Life Self-portrait

Avakin Life is a 3D virtual world for mobile and PC where you can design your own avatar, live chat with different users, travel to different locations and join events. The avatar’s customization is gender-binary as in most of the apps. Although there are endless options for every detail that you can change, for most of them the user has to pay with coins that you can buy or earn while interacting with Avakin’s universe.

I ended up choosing a face cover which made me feel much more identified with the character in a strange way. I usually find it difficult to build a face that looks like mine for my avatars. And it made a lot of sense to be interacting with a face-cover during COVID. So for this avatar what builds my personality is the outfit and the rose that he carries, which makes me feel like there is a narrative or a touch of poetry in this character. Who is he going to meet to give the rose? Where did he find it?

customization process
Facemoji Self-protrait

“Facemoji Keyboard is an emoji-centric keyboard app that offers speech recognition and emoji prediction features, as well as a wide variety of stickers, GIFs and customizable keyboards”. 

This app was the less gender-binary app that I found. The user doesn’t get to choose gender as their first task as in most of the other apps, which I found really problematic for the non-binary, genderqueer, and gender fluid community. Fortunately, in Facemoji you start choosing your characteristics right away despite your gender identity, which made it possible for me to build a very cute avatar wearing some make-up.

This is a mobile app, in which you are limited to design only the head of your avatar, and then you can embody it as an augmented reality filter using your camera and it will react according to your facial expressions and movements. I had a lot of fun trying it. And there are a lot of different accessories that give more personality and uniqueness to the avatar.

customization process

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