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Posts Tagged ‘china tracy’

New roles for art collectors, organisations created by Cao Fei on Second Life – Uli Sigg is RMB City governor

Posted by artradar on January 30, 2009


Cao Fei RMB City A second life city planning 2007

Cao Fei RMB City A second life city planning 2007

 

INTERVIEW CHINESE ARTIST CAO FEI

Editor of Asia Art Archive’s Diaaalogue, Sue Acret spoke to Chinese artist Cao Fei about her Second Life project RMB City which was officially launched in January 2009. In this project which uses as a medium the online virtual world called Second Life, Cao Fei develops new roles for collectors and art institutions which blur the lines between digital and real.

Susan Acret: Please tell us about your avatar China Tracy and the RMB City work and how the online world of Second Life became a platform for these works.

RMB City – a city utopia with Chinese aesthetics

Cao Fei: During the creation of i.Mirror and the China Tracy Pavilion (A machinima-documentary about China Tracy’s first explorations of Second Life, and the large-scale installation where it premiered at the 2007 Venice Biennale), I started to think about creating a place that belonged to China Tracy within Second Life… her own ‘city utopia’. China Tracy felt that since most cities within Second Life were Western in style, she wanted to represent some of her concepts about Chinese urban development in a space that incorporated Chinese aesthetics and identity, albeit in a surreal hybrid style.

Blurred boundaries between real and virtual for modern generations
S.A: You’ve said that your generation, brought up in a digital world, ‘will always compare virtual and real’ and that sometimes the boundaries between the two can be blurred. Your art reflects this movement between these two spheres. What opportunities do virtual worlds offer artists that are not available in the ‘real’ world?

C.F: Second Life is a world where the conventional free-market economy still applies. Although we call it a virtual world, its economic structure and the virtual currency is tied with the ‘real’ economy. From a visual perspective, Second Life appears to be hyper-real and excessively imagined. Combined with its uncertain identity, it can be mysterious and enigmatic to people. On arriving in this virtual world, China Tracy was attracted by the hyper-real prison, but also felt an unavoidable sense of oppression.

Cao Fei i Mirror 28 min machinima

Cao Fei, i Mirror Second Life Machinima, 28 minutes

Although the boundary between virtual and real is becoming more and more blurred, the way the virtual world contradicts and coincides with reality offers something ambiguous and complex. This, to a certain extent, enhances our lives as a whole, providing a reference for the exploration of individuality and the nature of life.

Another reason that the virtual world appeals to me is that it transcends obstacles in reality, despite being hyper-real. It offers a virtual platform for human beings to experiment with a possible utopia, such as building an individualistic heaven, drafting laws and systems, generating new discussions and thoughts, etc.

 
S.A: How many collaborators have you worked with for your RMB City project? How do you find your collaborations with these ‘real’ people?

C.F: Collaborators involved in RMB City include collectors, galleries, scholars, researchers, artists, schools, various exhibition projects, commissioned projects, biennials and triennials, etc.

New roles for art collectors organisations, Uli Sigg is RMB City governor

1. Collectors
We invite collectors to actively participate in the actual development of the city. For example, we invited Mr Uli Sigg to be the first governor of the city (for 3 months), in order for him to oversee and propose a blueprint for the utopia of RMB City in terms of its systems, construction and direction.

2. Public organizations
We are now working closely with Serpentine Gallery. They are one of the real information centres for RMB City. Also, UCCA which will collect RMB City, will have a virtual art gallery and other independent projects. Some art organizations are willing to rent spaces to be involved in this project and also develop their own projects.

3. Exhibition/ Project
I have realized personal projects for biennials and triennials via RMB City, for example, for the 2008 Yokohama Triennial and New Orleans Biennial, as well as on some consigned projects, such as H Box’s video project. I would like to some overseas artist residency programs to take place the RMB City’s platform.

4. Other
We invite different parties (not just limited to the art field) in the real world to participate in the virtual world. We also invite Second Life avatars who are interested in our project.

Therefore, RMB City insists on ‘the cooperation of virtual and real’: collaborators should come from both worlds. Through this process, we hope to improve conventions and develop a new path.

Cao Fei Cosplayers, video 2004

Cao Fei Cosplayers, video 2004

S.A: Your use of internet platforms such as You Tube and Second Life is a democratic, open way of creating work, insofar as it is available freely to large numbers of people all over the world. Do you often get feedback from ‘non-art’ audiences on the internet?

C.F: Yes. I have received emails and messages to China Tracy in Second life, and comments on my YouTube videos, and friend-offers via My Space and Facebook.

I quite like these different forms of feedback from different channels, and meeting different people in different worlds.

S.A: Born in the late 1970s and brought up in the ’80s, can terminologies such as Generation X (the consumerist generation) or Generation Y (the Net-generation or Generation Why) describe who you are? From COSplayers to the RMB City project, are your art projects the result of generational influence or your personality?

C.F: Since 1978, China has undergone an inevitable reorganization. Before we were ready to respond, we were already receiving all kinds of influences from a new time. Everyone is the product of a generation; ‘I’ am an individual as well as a transcendental object. Perhaps a young person who attempts to influence the world or China Tracy who surfs around the virtual world, are indeed coming from the same route. And as for me, I remain extremely close to yet with an appropriate distance from any of these worlds. This gives me a macro view of the ‘world’. And then I decide how I should deal with it and derive my system to process all the complex messages of life. In Chinese terms, it involves entering (reality) and renouncing (the virtual) the world simultaneously. This journey is to experience both worlds while constituting the two.

This interview is edited. For the full version of this fascinating interview and more images go to Asia Art Archive.

Related categories: Chinese artists, virtual art, reports from China, video art, emerging artistsnew media, Uli Sigg, art collectors

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Posted in Anime, Cao Fei, Cartoon, China, Chinese, Collaborative, Collectors, Electronic art, Emerging artists, Fantasy art, Identity art, Individual, Interviews, New Media, Participatory, Social, Trends, Uli Sigg, Urban, Utopian art, Video, Virtual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Artist to watch Cao Fei

Posted by artradar on September 16, 2008


ARTIST TO WATCH

As we scan the news every day, some new artists and new trends emerge out of the cloud of informaton bigger bolder and brighter than the rest. This is the first in an occasional series in which we beam in and take an in depth look at one artist or art trend.

CAO FEI

Cao Fei  is a female artist who was born in 1978 in Guangzhou China and is now based in Beijing.

What people are saying

Red Mansion Foundation, London: “Cao Fei is no doubt one of the most remarkable and powerful artists of this generation.”

Serpentine Gallery London: “Cao Fei is one of the pre-eminent Chinese artists of her generation”

About the art

Photographs, videos and installations.

Influences include superheros, avatars, electronic entertainment, pop music, TV drama, computer games and new subcultures such as Japanese Manga, American Rap, and Hong Kong films.

Why her work is interesting

Cao Fei fearlessly experiments with new media, in particular virtual media such as Second Life. She is fascinated by the contrast between urban reality and fantasy-perfect etopia and how it is possible to move between the two at the flick of a switch. Her art presents the issues and zeitgeist of her generation.

I am interested in “the premise that people can choose characters that are very different from their real selves. They can use their character to create a “second life,” to change their friends, family, and lifestyle — like switching a TV channel “says Cao Fei in an interview with Artkrush.

“I started to confuse my two lives, and so I compared them. The younger generation, like 15-18 year olds, I don’t think they ask as many of these questions; that kind of lifestyle is their real life — they belong to a technological world — but for my generation, we will always compare virtual and real”

Her work

 

Cosplayers: King Kong at home

 

She first attracted international attention in 2004 with COSplayers, a video and photo series about Guangzhou teens dressing up as Japanese manga characters.

At the 52nd Venice Biennale 2007, she premiered China Tracy Pavilion, a project exploring the virtual worlds of Second Life that merged role-playing, ethnographic documentary, and animation.

After discovering Second Life, Fei embarked on a six-month journey through the wonders of the digital realm, as China Tracy, and many came across her through a YouTube stream in which she introduced herself in machinima footage with Chinese subtitles.

According to Fei, all sorts of typical activities occurred during that period: ‘Fly, chat, build, teleport, buy, sex, add friends, snapshot…’

 

I.Mirror Documentary Video 2007

 

These experiences were documented and generated the three-part, thirty-minute epic, ‘i.Mirror’ that Fei exhibited at Venice’s Arsenale back garden as well as on YouTube.

A recent project RMB City, an online art community in the virtual world of Second Life is on show at the Serpentine Gallery and on-line.

Institutions and collectors are invited to buy buildings in RMB City and programme events and activities in them. The project is an experiment exploring the creative relationship between real and virtual space.

Career highlights

Cao Fei has exhibited around the world in premier institutions such as Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Beijing, Mori Museum Tokyo, San Francisco Art Instute, Serpentine Gallery and Red Mansion Foundation.

She has been shown at the Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennial, Taipei Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and her work has been included in important survey exhibitions such as “Between Past and Future – New Photography andVideo from China” Asia Society New York.

Collectors of her work include Guy Ullens, Carnegie Museum of Art, The Israel Museum, Uli Sigg, Guan Yi amongst others.The famous Chinese collector Guan Yi names Cao Fei along with a handful of other artists as an important artist of her generation.

 

Cao Fei Siemens project

Cao Fei Siemens project

 

In the Siemens sponsored art project “What are you doing here?”, the artist Cao Fei worked with employees from subsidiary OSRAM China Lighting to turn their individual ideas, hopes and expectations into art.

Auction history

As at September 1 2008, Cao Fei is still much under-appreciated at auction. She has only had 3 photographs at auction, one at China Guardian May 2007 which sold for US$21,890 including premium (over double the estimate) and two at Sotheby’s New York 2007 which were bought in.

Where to buy

Dealers:

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Posted in Acquisitions, Cao Fei, Cartoon, Chinese, Collectors, Manga, Market watch, New Media, Photography, Video, Virtual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »