(from RMB City)
On Monday evening, I was driving home in a taxi along Beijing’s 3rd Ring Road (in Real Life), when the traffic began to slow down… It was the final day of the Lunar New Year, also known as “Lantern Festival,” and hence the night when all of Beijing would attempt to set off as many fireworks as possible before they became prohibited again the next morning (and until the next turning of the Lunar Year, which would briefly make the city a flashing kaleidoscope once more). The evening was full of bang, sparkle, and pop in all directions, many revelers young and old standing on street corners to enjoy the show, but then as we approached the CCTV building, the crowds grew bigger and the cars ground to an almost halt. The taxi driver exclaimed that there must be a fire, and urged me to look out the left-side (Eastern) windows of the car. Sure enough, I saw small flames and huge black smoke clouds billowing out of the top of the tall building next to CCTV. He said, “I’m sure this will be in the newspaper tomorrow.” Only a little while later, the entire building was burning – as I continued to watch via my laptop at home.
Of course, RMB City has its own People’s Entertainment Television Center, gently spinning in the air above our Sims, untouched by any threat of spreading sparks. It’s amazing to remember, on such a huge scale, just how fragile a platform First Life is.
(From Artforum China)