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Building "RMB City"Cao Fei
In her Beijing studio, Cao Fei discusses the inspirations, process, and challenges behind developing and building a virtual urban environment within the digital realm of “Second Life” for her project, RMB City (2007).
Comparing the virtual landscape of RMB City to the styles of traditional Chinese brush paintings, Cao draws connections between the past and the present, Eastern and Western cultures, and aesthetic sensibilities developed from her upbringing.More information and credits
Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview & Translation: Phil Tinari & Xiaotong Wang. Camera & Sound: Takahisa Araki & Frank Dellario. Editor: Joaquin Phoenix. Voiceover: Clara S. Jo. Artwork Courtesy: Cao Fei.
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Cao Fei’s work reflects the fluidity of a world in which cultures have mixed and diverged in rapid evolution. Her video installations and new media works explore perception and reality in places as diverse as a Chinese factory and the virtual world of “Second Life.” Applying strategies of sampling, role play, and documentary filmmaking to capture individuals’ longings and the ways in which they imagine themselves—as hip-hop musicians, costumed characters, or digitized alter egos—Cao Fei reveals the discrepancy between reality and dream, and the discontent and disillusionment of China’s younger generation.