Muyin Cui

Interaction & Engagement Studio

Email: JiemoYA980216@gmail.com
In the digital era, personal identities are expressed by network IDs, there has been a situation where "biological human" and "information human" coexist.
The rise of Virtual Youtubers is a good example of this, virtual humans may be a social evolution trend in the future. It breaks the limitation that the physical body brings to us, but it also causes the boundary between online-self and offline-self to become blurred. So, as a designer, how to discuss the relationship between online identity and offline identity in the digital age?

︎︎︎ peoject detail website: https://virtualavatar.cargo.site/

Firstly, my project is started with research on the VTuber culture. VTubers are the best embodiment of this blurred boundary in the digital age. Therefore, I did research from two perspective of the VTuber fan community and Vtuber respectively. 
Through the questionary surveys on the VTuber fan community, I found that thereason why so many fans like VTuber is they are attracted by the personality shown by VTuber. Although their image is virtual, their fans feel that it is extremely real.  Meanwhile, they think the avatar may an amplification of a certain trait in VTuber’s personality. 
After that, I interviewed a VTuber on Twitter.  His view of the relationship between avatar and himself is: virtual avatar can be an exploration of self, which helps people show a more real self. 

Based on the relationship between avatar and VTuber that I have investigated, I conducted a series of experiments:  
•    Exploring other people's imagination of their virtual avatar in the form of physical and digital respectively.
•    Communicating with others as an avatar
•    use virtual avatar walk in the reality

More experimental details will be shown on my personal website :  https://virtualavatar.cargo.site/

Based on previous research and experiments, I think avatar helps us show a part that we are not often shown in reality, but this part is also a part of us. So I think the avatar can be a way for us to observe, explore and understand ourselves in the digital age. Avatar is our online identity, as our real self is offline identity, these two identities constitute the most complete self.  In that case, I finally used animation and posters to convey this relationship between avatar and ourself. The avatar is more like a derived organ from our physical body, which only lives on the Internet and is also a part of us.


With reference to the form of the Midnight Gospel, I wrote a script and made this animation with an illustration major student in the London College of Communication. The main story is that the protagonist enters the virtual world and customizes her own character. The story mainly revolves around the dialogue between the protagonist and virtual assistant and the dialogue with strangers she meets in this world to show the relationship between the avatar and real humans.
Among them, the dialogue between the protagonist and the stranger refers to my third experiment.


The models of the avatars in this video are all based on other people's descriptions of their desired avatars in the third experiment.