Alina Nazmeeva is a researcher, architect and artist investigating the relationships between cities and digital games, interfaces and publics, CGI and politics. Alina holds a Master of Science in Urbanism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a fellow of the New Normal programme at the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design (2017). Currently she is a research associate at the future urban collectives lab at MIT where she works on designing spaces and platforms or new forms of collectivity, and a research analyst at the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab where she focuses her research on understanding the economy and design of virtual worlds and online games. Her writing has been published in PLAT, Media-N and CARTHA Magazine.

Virtual Social: Protocols of Space-craft and Self-Craft

Virtual Social is a video-essay and a written dissertation that aim to unpack the protocols of space-craft and self-craft and their manifestations found in virtual worlds. New technologies always produce new toys, and the toys become commodities that gain profit. The most pervasive and profitable technological toys of the contemporary world are online digital games, those spaces and environments have become dominant social spaces for hundreds of millions.

Avatar skins; virtual pets and gardening tools; virtual real estate speculation, urban development and terraforming patterns of online worlds manifest specific design rhetoric. Individual expression and territorial control -- the enclosure of self and the space – is a grounding principle of design in virtual worlds. At the same time, they are social and shared spaces that enable co-presence, social practices, collaboration and competition, and other social interactions.