Two avatars meeting in front of the Temple.

LegionWorld is a Sony Community Place VRML avatar virtual world, produced for the ACTLab by Vernon Reed, with assistance from Bart Landry and Tom Ivey. It is available for download and participation by anyone over the World Wide Web.

The main thesis of LegionWorld is that the illusion of monolithic subjectivity breaks down in cyberspace. That is, the very nature of cyberspace acts as a sort of "solvent" to tease apart the strands of personality and functionality that normally work in concert to produce a public image to the world. Under the effect of this solvent, the subject stance begins to fragment and flow, and freed from the tyrany of monistic self concepts, multi-valent interaction is enabled and encouraged.

LegionWorld embodies this principle through the use of special avatars, which make functionally explicit the notion of mutiple personality. This is accomplished by the construction of each avatar from smaller sub-avatars, each of which corresponds to an emotive/engagement state, such as Happy/engaged or Angry/defensive. These sub-avatars are arranged as a small "gang" or "swarm", with the sub-avatar repesenting the dominant state being in front and fully represented. The other sub-avatars are still present, however, but are moved to a position behind the dominant one and become semi-transparent. The fact that such personalities not "on stage" are nonetheless always visible, is a powerful reminder that they can take control at any moment, and that the apparent unified self is a social construct.

My aim is to create new social contructs, where the notion of muliple personality is the norm, with no stigma of pathology attached to it. Indeed, I maintain that not only is such a dissociated state normal in cyberspace, but that is adaptive and desirable.