USA, 2010, 100 minutes
Fri, Apr 30 / 3:00 / Kabuki / LIFE30K
Sun, May 02 / 1:00 / Kabuki / LIFE02K
Wed, May 05 / 9:15 / Kabuki / LIFE05K
The virtual world of Second Life runs on software developed by San Francisco–based Linden Labs, but it’s the hundreds of thousands of users that log into SL every day who create and develop the minutiae making up its interactive universe, whether its natural surroundings and commercial centers or the inhabitants themselves. Life 2.0 profiles three very different sets of users to examine how their experiences in SL feed back into RL (“real life”). One story features an SL entrepreneur who uses her SL skills to craft opulent goods, like dream homes and designer clothing, which make fantasies available to Second Lifers. Another focuses on a couple whose courtship begins with talking, kissing and having sex virtually, through SL, online chat and Skype. Finally, we meet an adult man whose SL avatar is an 11-year-old girl. (Although no one under 18 in the real world is allowed into SL, there are many adolescent, child and even infant avatars in the virtual one—not to mention adoption agencies!) Director Jason Spingarn-Koff might have made easy fun of SL users or attempted a paranoid exposé, but he does something far more stimulating, thoughtfully tracing the porous boundaries between real and virtual realms, illuminating both what is troubling and what is valuable in the interchange. With admirable clarity and humor, Life 2.0 suggests that what is at stake in this exchange is nothing less than love, the law, identity and consciousness.
A discussion, Logging Off: Is Online Gaming Addictive?, follows the screening Sunday, May 2, at 3:00 pm, in House 2 of the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. Presented in association with Electronic Frontier Foundation.