I am Elif Ayiter, aka. Alpha Auer. I was born in 1953, in Istanbul, Turkey. I was trained as a graphic designer, and worked for many years in the graphic design industry as an art director; after which I switched to academia. Nowadays, I teach full time at Sabancı University, Istanbul. My areas of instruction are graphic design, art and computing, theory of creative practice, and visual communication design history.
These days, sadly, I am no longer active as a professional graphic designer, outside of teaching it, that is. I do however, still make a lot of stuff and some of it looks like graphic design, I suppose. But, what I mainly like to spend my time on is making habitats and clothing for Second Life and OpenSim avatars. I do not like to call what I make "art" or "design" or to describe myself as an "artist" or a "designer" - instead I like to call myself a "thingmaker," a term that I think covers a multitude of sins, and one which I have borrowed from a brilliant shape generator made by Dale Innis in Second Life.
As an academic, one is also expected to research, write and publish academically; so I do quite a bit of that as well: My texts have been published in journals such as the Leonardo Electronic Almanac, the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Technoetic Arts and the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds. I have authored several book chapters in edited academic anthologies and presented creative work and papers at art spaces and conferences including The John Hansard Gallery (UK), The Biennial de Cerveira (PT), ISEA2011, Siggraph, Creativity and Cognition, Computational Aesthetics, SPIE, Consciousness Reframed, and Cyberworlds. From 2009 to 2016 I also did editorial work as the editor-in-chief of the Virtual Creativity journal with Intellect publishers in the UK.
I have obtained my PhD from the Planetary Collegium, CAiiA hub in 2012, where I studied with Roy Ascott, Mike Phillips and Chris Speed. In more recent years I was also very proud to be the Director of Studies for the Ionian node (Greece) of the Planetary Collegium.
As Alpha Auer I am the CEO of the SL fashion store alpha.tribe. Together with Norwegian storyteller Heidi Dahlsveen (Mimesis Monday in SL) we have built several large storytelling spaces in Second Life, on which we have subsequently also published co-authored academic texts. I have participated in several curated SL exhibits, such as "SychroniCity," curated by Marc Moana, "Further Along the Path" curated by Bryn Oh, and the massively collaborative project "Moving Islands [Rafts]" curated by Eupalinos Ugajin. I have also been one of the SL artists who participated in the Russian Avantgarde exhibition at the Manege Museum in Moscow in Spring 2015.
And an everlasting big point of pride is that together with MosMax Hax and Selavy Oh, I have co-created the LPDT2/3 series of sim wide installations in Second Life and the OpenSim that were based upon Roy Ascott's concept of distributed authorship and his new media landmark work "La Plissure du Texte" from 1983. Both LPDT2, as well as LPDT3 have been exhibited at international, curated art exhibitions such as the 2010 multimedia festival at Tomorrow City, Incheon, Korea and the Culture 3 Festival in Patras in 2014.
Home, cats and other things
Me doing a lot of bla bla bla...
Nothing would have induced me to stand up and give a talk in front of a truly illustrious assembly of typographers, font designers and design theorist (including the likes of Ellen Lupton!), except that my darling friend and colleague Onur Yazıcıgil pretty much bullied me into doing so at the ISType 2012 conference in Istanbul. So, here I am, sweating bullets.
I also want to add a talk I gave at the 12th Consciousness Reframed conference in Portugal in 2011 since I rather like this because in it I speak at some length about two of my favorite people in Second Life - Eupalinos Ugajin and Naxos Loon. The paper and the talk are in fact named after them since they are all about The Wondrous Tales of Eupalinos Ugajin and Naxos Loon.
Richard Moss of ludiphilia.net made two podcasts, one only with me and the other with me and wolfgeng Hienrichs, my erstwhile and much beloved playmate, about playing in Second Life. The renowned hopes and fears web portal on art, design and culture held and interview with me in 2015. A year before that, in 2014 I was interviewed by Bryn Oh, who is a long-time friend and colleague; and in 2012 by Luciana Pinazzo for Mondi Virtuali, and excellent Italian portal for virtual worlds.
More recently I was also interviewed by Mirgün Cabas and Can Kozanoğlu for their podcast "Nereden Başlasam?" and that one can be heard here in Turkish.