And then you find yourself at the 52nd Venice Biennale. The biennale opened June 10, in rl Venice, Italy. It lasts until November 21. Cao Fei is representing the People's Republic of China. The Concept of the China Pavilion in Venice is called EVERYDAY MIRACLES. Cao Fei is one of the four women artists representing China. The others being Shen Yuan, Yin Xiuzhen, Kan Xuan. The exhibition is commissioned by China Arts & Entertainment Group, and curated by Hou Hanru (U.S.).
Now, Cao Fei's contrubution to this exhibition has a focus on Second Life, that's my reason for writing about it here. Cao Fei's Second Life name is China Tracy. Her project is an online & off line project, SL & rl exhibition, SL video and research.
At the rl Venice biennale, she has made a pavillion; a kind of futuristic tent, an inflateable house, called "China Tracy Pavillion". In it she is showing her Second Life project.
For images of the rl pavillion with works and visitors, see her blogpost HERE. You'll find the video that she is showing in her pavillion in Venice at her YouTube site HERE. It's called i.Mirror; a 28 minute SL-machinima. The video is rather melancholy, a litle about the sex, the money, the gambling, the forever young and beautiful avatars, but mostly about loneliness, longing, and meeting someone from the other side of the planet with similar thoughts and feelings! Actually she meets Hug Yue/Ed Mead from San Fransico... It's cute, but for us "inhabitants" only a well done documentary. There's nothing new in it. No original twist to it. Or?
"as a mirror between the rl and the SL, reflecting the world and China under the fourth wave."
Coming to think of it, we, the inhabitants of Second Life, must of course have very different experiences entering this world, depending on our previous experiences, where we're from, how we live our rls. I remember how repelled I was about the hyper capitalist environment I found in SL, when I entered. That was before I found all the nice people... So, when it comes to Tracy's video, I think she is using SL to express something about the meeting between China and capitalism.
China Tracy has build up a replica of the rl pavillon in Second Life. It's floating up in the air though, and you sit in a tub while you watch the video.
The pavilion is here: China Tracy Pavilion, Parioli (181, 201, 64)
See a documentary from the opening of the SL pavillion, June 7, HERE.
You can get a nice t-shirt and a copy of the pavillon, a small version of it, that functions as a car... all for free. Hm, I'm beginning to like this!
Clipping from the SL notecard for the exhibition:
Naming her avatar China Tracy, Cao Fei is building up an on-line project for the Chinese Pavilion to carry out an adventure into this virtual world that is exerting crucial influence on our perception of the real and thus considerably modifying our social relationships. Creating a China Tracy Pavilion on the Second Life, Cao Fei will construct a platform for dialogue and exchange open to everyone. Venturing into this imminent future, this project will definitely bring the Chinese Pavilion itself to a much more global perspective.
It's funny how we are described... From the notecard:
Thousands of youngsters are deeply addicted to the virtual world created on the internet. The immensely popular online game “Second Life” provides them with a “3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents”. It offers “a truly collaborative, immersive and open-ended entertainment experience, where together people create and inhabit a virtual world of their own design.” In this new world, all people are the nation’s “inhabitants”, there are no “countries” or “regions”, but only a digital world generated by imagination and creativity...
When you teleport down from the pavillion, you land in the exhibition space at the Parioli Museum, Parioli Roma Italy, Parioli (225, 217, 40) , where China Tracy shows her research part of the project: "EVERYDAY MIRACLES - A research on Second Life". Co-researchers: Zafka Ziemia, Rivers Singh. Sounds a bit dry? Well, half a meter of water covers the floor. You can test your skills as a venician gondolier. You can pose inside all the globes where the reseach material is shown in the form of SL-snapshot slideshows. It's wild, wet and motley! I'm beginning to discover Cao Fei's humor and force. Looking into her previous work, like her photo series, "Rabid Dogs", from 2002, and others, which can be found HERE. Touch the globes for notecards on issues like politics, religion, real estate.
Cao Fei, born in Guangdong, China in 1978. "She has been working with video, photography, performance, experimental theatre, documentary and fictional films, writing and other media. She vividly express the intense experiences of a young generation of Chinese urban youth navigating the wave of modernisation, urbanisation and globalisation. With an incredibly fresh but vigilant sense of humour, she examines and makes visible the very realities and dreams of this generation in various contexts from work to play, from suffering to happiness."
Cao Fei's blog: http://www.alternativearchive.com/caofei/default.asp?cat=1
China Tracy' Second Life blog: http://www.alternativearchive.com/chinatracy/