RMB City — Online Urbanization
Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy)
A city dubbed RMB City is being built in Second Life by China Tracy. It’s a city that is a condensed incarnation of contemporary Chinese cities with most of their characteristics; a series of new Chinese fantasy realms that are highly self-contradictory, inter-permeative, pan-political, extremely entertaining, and laden with irony and suspicion.
China’s current obsession with land development in all its intensity will be extended to Second Life. A rough hybrid of communism, socialism and capitalism, RMB City will be realized in a globalized digital sphere combining overabundant symbols of Chinese reality with cursory imaginings of the country’s future. In RMB City, we will be able to cruise the digital ocean, witness a Ferris wheel rotating on top of the Monument to the People’s Heroes; look down from the sky on the water of the Three Gorges reservoir gushing out of the Tian’anmen rostrum; pass the giant new totem symbolizing the Oriental Pearl TV Tower of Shanghai; hop over the Feilai Temple marooned in a raging torrent; walk across a vast, desolate state-owned factory area in Northeast China; and finally hover over the Grand National Theatre in Beijing. Also in our view will be gigantic planes gliding over terraces in the crevices of the central business district, and aerial super-malls. We will see water flowing into huge toilets on the container piers of the Pearl River Delta area before traveling through the sewage system into an ocean with floating statues of Mao Zedong. The rusted steel structure of the Olympic Stadium aka “Bird’s Nest” will be washed in splashes of ocean spray, while an aerial band on a floating sheet of the national flag filled with five-pointed stars makes a deafening noise that shakes Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV building, causing it to collapse….