Mai Arakida Izsak
Salon109 proposes a framework for creating meaningful connections in Social VR, by collaboratively constructing a space created and hosted by those who identify as women to safely start conversations and take ownership of the virtual world-building process.
Salon109 is virtual place created by a female community on the High Fidelity Social VR platform for a wider network of thinkers, regardless of their gender identity. While social dynamics in open virtual worlds have largely been unfavorable towards women, we are able to create our own curated virtual places. Salons have historically been an important social force where women facilitate an exchange of ideas and culture in their living rooms. I am recreating this format in the decentralized nature of High Fidelity’s platform, which allows me to truly play host with my own domain and server. Like in the real salons, I can decide who can come in, who’s allowed to make changes, and best of all, I am able to invite my family and friends to create the world with me from within.
My ethnic and cultural background is highly diasporic, and Social VR metaverses represent a form of freedom wherein I can be from anywhere, yet am nowhere. In a virtual social sphere, bodies are not threatened in the way some are in the physical world, allowing for the exchange of ideas and meeting new people without risk to physical safety. I have been developing my virtual identity, embodied in a unique avatar I uploaded, while extending my lifestyle to places that forsake geography.
The collaborative creation of Salon109 takes place at hifi://salon, culminating in a virtual opera performance by my sister Aili. To best mitigate the reality that access to VR is limited, those without headsets are able to follow via a Youtube livestream and send in chat messages. When the space is in its final form, it will be packaged and sold on the blockchain at the High Fidelity marketplace for 1HFC (approx $0.01), as an offering to the platform.