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"PRD Anti-Heroes"Cao Fei

April 15, 2011

Artist Cao Fei discusses her multi-media theatrical work PRD Anti-Heroes (2005), a play performed by non-professional actors. Investigating the “anonymous and unsung heroes” of the Pearl River Delta or “the factory of the world,” Cao’s production incorporates elements of traditional Chinese legends, Hong Kong soap operas, and Cantonese farces.

Cao’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.” Depictions of Chinese architecture and landscape abound in scenes of hyper-capitalistic Pearl River Delta development, in images that echo traditional Chinese painting, and in the design of her own virtual utopia, RMB City. Fascinated by the world of “Second Life,” Cao Fei has created several works in which she is both participant and observer through her “Second Life” avatar, China Tracy, who acts as a guide, philosopher, and tourist.

More information and credits

Credits

Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview & Translation: Phil Tinari & Xiaotong Wang. Camera: Takahisa Araki. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Voiceover: Clara Jo. Artwork Courtesy: Cao Fei. Video: © 2011 Art21, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Cao Fei

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.

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Cao Fei

In this interview Cao Fei discusses cultural hybridity and her Hip Hop series, and the factory workers featured in her multi-part project Whose Utopia.