Digital ethnography and virtual worlds

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Digital Ethnography and Virtual Worlds

Digital Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: Latin American MuseumsLenin Paredes (leninparedes)

DefinitionsEthnography:As Paul Willis and Mats Trondman define it, Ethnography is the disciplined and deliberate witness-cum-recording of human events. Ethnography is a well established practice of different disciplines such as anthropology, history, human geography, linguistics, education, pedagogy, the arts, health studies, media and cultural studies. Analyzing all these branches of ethnography paint a good understanding of the human experience. Digital Ethnography: The practice and study of ethnography in virtually created worlds. These worlds offer many experiences and is not so much focused on the human experience but rather the user experience.Source:Ethnography. 2004. Art Newspaper 14, (150): 45-47

Stages1Data Collection2Content Analysis3Comparative Analysis

Stages of Digital EthnographyData CollectionThe process of collecting information to use in a research project. For the purpose of ethnography, data collection will consists of recording data through observation, cultural experiences, and interacting with people submerged in that culture through conversation or interviews.

(Source: Content AnalysisA technique for systematically describing written, spoken or visual communication. It provides a quantitative description. Many content analyses involve media, print, newspapers, magazines, television, video, movies, the Internet.

(Source: AnalysisA tool used for analyzing data sets by listing and counting all the combinations of variables observed in the data set, and then applying the rules of logical inference to determine which descriptive inferences or implications the data supports.


Research Questions1How does Machu Picchu in Second Life differ from Machu Picchu in real life?2What connection do you feel with this ancient Incan World?3How are artworks chosen for display?

ContextThis location in Second Life a virtual replica of the ancient ruins in Machu Picchu. The location is preserved by the University of San Martin De Porres in Lima, Peru. The location is as magical as the real deal. The amount of detail to the site is spectacular and the ruins are lined with informative posters to teach you about the ancient past. For those adventurous types that want to witness the sight from above, a quick tour on the mighty condor will be your style. Glide through the valley in the back of a condor taking in all the sights and fun. Just a quick flight away, you will see two pyramids that house a unique mix of art, sculptures, rugs and history.

Data Collection

How much does the exhibition and layout of Machu Picchu in Second Life resemble the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu.

The exhibition on Second Life is a concentrated replica of the original. It does duplicate the ruins exactly but it gives people from all over the world access to see and hopefully visit in real life.

What do you hope visitors take from this experience?

We hope that people take a little bit of knowledge of our culture and history. We try to make it as informative as possible, we welcome questions and encourage interaction among visitors. *conversation has been translated from Spanish

Data Collection

What connections do you feel to this world and the Incan culture and history?

I share a strong connection to this world. It is not only the history and culture of most people here in Peru but it is also a very important of our everyday life. From tourism to our everyday language.

The gallery provides numerous artworks and sculptures on display. How are these selected to represent this culture?

The gallery is a collection and recreation of some artifacts we have at our university. We want to make them available not only to our students but also to the public.

Thank you for your time.

Content AnalysisHow does Machu Picchu in Second Life differ from Machu Picchu in real life?The differences can be seen in terms of layout, design, views, but does share a unique resemblance to the site just outside Cuzco, Peru. The virtual site of Machu Picchu is also packed with information, videos, meeting grounds, shops, and tours. The purpose of the virtual world is to teach by exploring and learning about a the Incan culture. What connection do you feel with this ancient Incan World?The connection people have is humble. Peru is synonymous to the Incan culture. Quechua, the native language dates back to the Incas can still be heard mixed in everyday conversations in Peru. The culture has become traditions and a form of identity to not only the Peruvian people but everyone in the Andes Mountains. How are artworks chosen for display? Artworks are selected by students and moderators of the Second Life Machu Picchu. It is a collection of artifacts that best represents the art of the Incan Empire including their skill in architecture, design, mathematics, engineering and science. Though the gallery has significant works, the main attraction is the reconstruction of the ruins.

Comparative Analysis

The collection of art found in this virtual world combines both the architectural wonder of Machu Picchu with the humbleness of the Incan culture. The recreation of the ruins allows visitors to explore the Incan city as they would in real life. Through the simplicity you understand that this culture wasnt primal, but instead highly intelligent in the arts, science, mathematics, astronomy, engineering and architecture. The simplicity of the architecture allows the Incan empire to flourish while still keeping the land as close to natural as possible, quite the contrast to architecture in other parts of the world. As you explore through the world you find information of the Incan way of life. You can see llamas as you would during the height of the empire. Just a short distance from the ruins you can explore two pyramids filled with art and sculpture. The pyramids are also a reconstruction of some of the greatness of the Incan empire and their cultural ties to their gods. The artwork resembles everyday life. People, shapes and lines adorn the cultural artifacts found in this collection. The same type of art and life that still resonates in Peru. The Incan culture is Peruvian culture and you can explore all the wonders in this virtual world.