The Girlfriend Experience, Back Online

Internet game with 4 flesh and blood avatars at Picnic 07

26 Sep 2007
28 Sep 2007

Mediamatic and the Liminal Institute presented a reprise of Martin Butler's project 'The Girlfriend Experience' at the cross media conference Picnic 07 in Amsterdam. On September 26, 27 & 28 Butler presented four human avatars to play with on your computer. This time you could log in from home as well as at Picnic 07 on Noah Valentyn (actor in the Dutch film Het Schnitzelparadijs), Marjolein Vogels, Aimar Pérez Galí (Spain) and Helga Wretman (Sweden). Everyone could choose an avatar and direct them via Skype.


the girlfriend experience at Mediamatic - Noah

With: Jans Possel
The Program

Check out for more information. The playing times were:

Wednesday 26 september
11:30 – 13:30
14:30 – 16:30
17:00 - 19:00

Thursday 27
13:00 - 16:00
17:00 - 19:00
21:00 – 23:00

Friday 28 September
10.00 - 12.00
13:00 - 15:00
17:00 - 19:00

The concept

The rampant growth of online avatar communities such as Second Life and World of Warcraft has enabled the creation of a personal online social and economic existence. Simultaneously this triggers inherent questions about this existence, as it questions what the consequences will be for first life, or reality.

When you use virtual avatars you can do as you please. In The Girlfriend Experience you will have to get to know each other first. Player and avatar explore what they can do for each other and how far the avatar wants to go in performing specific desires. Who is really controlling the situation remains ambiguous. You have 10 minutes to figure out what you can do with your avatar after that, your time is up and another players can take your place.

The title of the project, The Girlfriend Experience, denotes the paradoxical character that online social interaction has. On one hand, the safe anonymity by using the avatar, on the other the intimate releases and projections that can spread easily. For Martin Butler is this the merging of two apparent extremes, anonymity and intimacy, which characterizes an important part of contemporary social traffic. The best paid prostitutes are the ones with whom the client feels as though he is with his girlfriend, or with whom he has a Girlfriend Experience.

The Girlfriend Experience attracted worldwide attention when it was presented for the first time at Mediamatic from January to March 2007.