Looking at RMB City from the others’ eyes

“In January 2009, a group of 17 students in an undergraduate photo class at New
York University visited RMB City and made photographs of the things they saw.
The students were given the assignment by their instructor, Christopher
Phillips, who is the curator at the International Center of Photography in New
York. He got the idea for the assignment when he accidentally ran into China
Tracy (RL: Cao Fei) while he was exploring RMB City not long after it opened to the
public in January. It was China Tracy who suggested sending the NYU students to
RMB City on a group photo expedition.

Most of the students had never visited Second Life before, and they were
excited by all of the possibilities this virtual world offers. They all learned
to fly without too much difficulty, and many of their most interesting photos
were made while zooming though the air around RMB City. Many of the
students chatted with the other visitors to RMB City that they met. One student took part
in a wedding of two avatars that was being held in RMB City. One of the sexier
female avatars even received an invitation to teleport to a sex club! Many of
the students are continuing to explore RMB City and the countless other aspects
of Second Life.”

More pictures coming up…

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, March 5, 2009 @ 9:38 pm

Thanks!! All Lovely Vitamin members!!

Just saw this lovely Vitamin blog post which juxtaposes People’s Slum and the similar housings in Guangzhou.

12357238061 12357238062


Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, @ 4:21 am

哀悼格里耶 (Alain Robbe-Grillet,1922-2008)



第一次知道格里耶“是当年(“当年”的意思是,那时我看的是录像带,不是vcd更没有dvd)在朋友家中看了阿伦雷奈的去年在马伦巴L’Annee Derniere a Marienbad,1961), 那时看完电影就想看看原文, 知道作者是法国新小说创始人格里耶。真正看到格里耶的作品是四五年前,那时侯跟一个深圳的劳工组织工作,我在一个为工人而设的图书馆里,在一堆堆廉价,颜色鲜烈的杂志之间,看到了格里耶比较早期的作品橡皮。前年某出版社出版了一套格里耶的作品,就又买了好几本。

格里耶死后就开始有讨论,讨论他能不能上文学殿堂。这些死后功名我是不太感兴趣,我最喜欢的三岛由纪夫都没有拿过诺贝尔奖啦。媒体报道说格里耶“因为不理解这个世界,所以动笔写下来。然而写作不断,他对世界却越来越不理解”,我觉得很多人写作都有这样一个过程,由于受到几千年来东西哲学的 “求真” 包袱,老想在文字里面理清一些什么,然后找出个形而上的拐杖,慢慢的,写着写着,就发现离开所谓的真(如果有的话), 所谓的世界越来越远,笔下的已经是另一个现实。好像入梦以后,在另一个梦里醒过来。

廖伟棠很久以前在他的博客上引用了瓦雷里的一句诗:“人体最深刻的地方是皮肤”。当我看到格里耶白发苍苍,皱纹满面,不禁黯然。那些在他小说里让人迷路的女孩,凶杀,石头路,青蛙。。。都敌不过我们一开始就想翻阅的东西,当我们开始的时候,原因已经翻了一面,变成结果了。德里达去世的时候一位朋友哭了,那时侯不明白,现在是有点知道了。通过文字,音乐或者其它,我们试图把自己跟他人连结起来,试图造就我们的,或者他们的,身后的不朽,这种友爱的关系开始的时候就注定被“没有回应” - 德里达在别了,列维纳斯提到的,列维纳斯对死亡的解释。

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, March 3, 2009 @ 1:24 am

RMB City at H Box!!


We are going to show our RMB City videos in H Box (not X Box)!!

“H BOX is an innovative, roaming screening hall, presenting major new video commissions by eight international artists. Designed by architect Didier Fiuza Faustino, the unique structure hosts a rotating, diverse programme of videos by Alice Anderson, Yael Bartana, Sebastián Díaz-Morales, Dora García, Judit Kúrtag, Valérie Mréjen, Shahryar Nashat, and Su-Mei Tse.

Consisting of two entirely collapsible modules constructed of aluminum and Perspex, H BOX can be assembled, disassembled and transported as required. It is designed to travel the world, in search of new audiences. Each year, as H BOX tours between museums internationally, four new artists will join the programme as four others give up their place. The itinerant nature of the structure and the commissions shown within it highlight the exciting fluidity of video, a medium that continues to reshape the twenty-first century.
H BOX is produced by Hermès. Benjamin Weil, executive director of Artists Space, New York, is the artistic director of the project. H BOX was first unveiled at the Pompidou Centre in Paris in November 2007 and has traveled to MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon, Spain, and MUDAM, Luxembourg. Following its presentation at Tate Modern H BOX will travel to the Yokohama Triennale in Yokohama, Japan.”


Blog,News,RL Events — Nokan Vlodovic, March 2, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

Master Q’s Virtual Fengshui at Kaai Theater

RMB City brought fengshui to Brussels!!


Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, March 1, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

Embracing futurism when living in now …


在比利时Kaai Theatre举行的performatik艺术节于2月21日(布鲁塞尔时间)完满结束,相信不少观众看过/感受过/听说过人民城寨,对在城寨里玩转风水的广州艺术家黄河印象尤深,其在虚拟世界对传统气场概念和空间的诘问是展览的一个亮点。

这一次Performatik除了对各种Live art 大力拥抱, 同时也对已一百岁的未来主义献上一曲赞歌。在Performatik的首页上,主办方开宗明义说明要庆贺意大利未来主义的一百大寿(自Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti 在1909年二月二十日于Le Figaro 发表未来主义宣言算起), 理由简单,皆因“未来主义是二十世纪先锋艺术的萌芽点”。

因为某些原因,一向甚少关注未来主义,充其量看过未来主义宣言和未来主义艺术家/音乐家 Luigi Russolo 在1913年写的噪音的艺术,对Marinetti为什么后来变成了墨索里尼的支持者,我也不追问,正如我对海德格尔倾向纳粹的反应一样。

未来主义是对十八,十九世纪欧洲工业化的回应(看到他们对汽车和速度的强调就知道,噪音的艺术中亦提及 “古代为寂闃一片,直至十九世纪机器面世,噪音才得以诞生。”), 提倡速度,是对科技和新时代的憧憬,希望时间巨轮能把个体的体验伸延到极限。我的未来主义很简单,就是把在当下透支想像中的未来。当过去一个世纪,社会的发展让我们感受到过快过热过剩的副作用,甚至有人已经对工具理性和速度厌倦到要反其道而行(譬如有人舍快餐而提倡“慢食”),我们到底要一个什么样的未来?再想深一层,什么是未来?下一分钟?十年后的某刻?还是未来十年的总和?

我们是不是像本雅明说的Paul Klee 天使一样,面向废墟一样的过去,被风吹向未来?

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti


Luigi Russolo

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, February 26, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

Coming! People’s Monthly


What does utopia mean in the mind of RMB City’s first mayor (SL:UliSigg Cisse)? What are the SL dreams of some international, accomplished curators? What do SL architects think about RL architecture? Find the answers of the above questions in People’s Monthly – RMB City’s official newsletter – that contains inspiring discourses connceting RMB City, urbanism, SL, Virtual worlds, art, utopia … in a neatly-designed, tiny publication.

The debut issue of People’s Monthly will hit the street in March … stayed tuned to the RMB City blog for more updated info.




Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, @ 9:46 pm

RMB City on That’s Beijing

In its latest issue, That’s Beijing brings an article about RMB City and Cao Fei.
To read the whole article., please click here.

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, February 15, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

RMB City on That’s Beijing, Feb 2009


Cao Fei’s RMB City
Brick-reduced recipes for Beijing’s future
by Jan Hauters, translated by Zhao Li
That’s Beijing, Feb 1st, 2009

When one puts a right hand onto The Chinese Dream—a bible-sized book on the urbanized east of China, apostled by Neville Mars and Adrian Hornsby—have a friend surrealistically utter “Do you swear to uphold the city and nothing but the city so help you Cao Fei? ”With this work in the right hand and a hand-held computer in the left, log-on the Internet and visit

-Intangible Architecture;Trans-local Museums
As a critical dweller of the Beijing metropolis one might begin to fathom what our city’s future might hold. that’s Beijing ventured out and explored Cao Fei’s collaborative online virtual art zone; RMB City.

With the aid of various art-oriented institutions and individuals, Cao Fei has conceptualized a virtual metropolis dubbed RMB City. It is set in the online construction named Second Life (SL); a virtual world. RMB City promotes artistic events and is an extension of China’s urbanized east. Fair to say, the city is a hybrid of Beijing, of Chinese cultural memes and any one metropolitan setting from around the globe.

The artist elaborated that it is an experimental art project initiated by individual artists and that it “takes virtual cities as units.”

-Real public Space in Virtual Worlds
Those readers who are unfamiliar with the overall concept of online worlds might want to visit Through that world’s market places it has an actual economy and real profits for its users, overall ranging into millions of tangible dollars. RMB City’s PR introduces its surrounding realm clearly, “SL was conceived as an online platform for participants to create a parallel reality in which 14 million people worldwide have registered since it launched in 2003.” Each user is represented by an ‘avatar’—a customizable and movable digital figurine within virtual reality graphics.

When asked about her choice of an international virtual world rather than a domestic one, Cao Fei presents a few seemingly contradicting yet undeniable facts:“Chinese players account for 5% of the SL’s total population. SL is not very popular in China, as it is a society communicating in English. Still, there are also many Chinese organizations stationed in it.”

-A Tale of Binary Cities
The domestic counterpart of SL, Hipihi (, is still in its initial stage and groping its way. According to our interviewee it is still not creative and forward-looking. “More importantly,“ she said,“current [domestic] laws on online worlds are clamping down the virtual financial opportunities. [The international world,] SL, is a free-market economy and has been researched and developed for many years.”

“The birth of this new pan-internationalism,” this artist-visionary points out,“influences our understanding of ‘nation’or ‘region’.” She continues by underlining that “the realities of the geopolitical conflicts have been evolved into confrontations among international virtual communities and inter-cities with different concepts.”

-Cao Fei’s Virtual Roots
This revered video and New Media artist—who claims not to be an Internet nor Multimedia artist—explains that she got in touch with SL through Zhang Anding’s blog and articles:“his articles on the virtual economy, published in the 21st Century Economic Observer, awakened my curiosity about this un•known world.” Under the username ‘China Tracy’, Cao Fei has had a SL avatar since early 2007.

When asked what her motivations are, Cao shares that the project prompts her with a clear understanding of her own ‘World’in a broader sense.The artist continues by saying,“RMB City enables me to find out the possibility of a new cultural frame or a new future among the inter-conversion between the two worlds [the online vs. offline world].”

Cao Fei introduces her avatar-self, ‘China Tracy’, as “an etension of touch and feeling, a resident braving adventure in the virtual world and a mirror image.” Cao assures, “she is younger, closer to perfection, with an ever-young appearance, energetic and approachable.”

-The Hunted City, Free as Game
When asked to summarize RMB City, Cao Fei sets off in a po•etic mantra style: “ It’s an E-topian City / E-colony City / Non-plan City / Customized City / Mobile City / Post-Sedentary City / Sampling City / Superficial City / Buffer City / Drama City.”

While Beijing tries to catch a breath she continues that RMB City’s a place for:“Multicultural Exchange / Public Interaction and Dialogue / Experimental Projects / Art and Technology / OpenSource Art / Future-Architecture / Digit-Urban Explora•tion / Digit-Field Investigation / Virtual Community Building / E-Citizen Autonomy;” leaving us gasping in reflection.

The City’s TV Channel.

Glimpses of the binary urbanization Cao Fei spearheads can be caught on Youtube. A digital virtual TV channel, “RMBCity-Hall Channel,” is provided for those interested in specific docu•mentaries on the events unfolding within the city. Of course, the channel is also attractive to media users who are inhib•ited to jump onto the virtual-world wagon. Gazes can be jetted through Youtube’s looking glass into this specific Second Life’s urban culture. ( One of its lat•est ‘airings’ takes you on a first-person (as if you held the virtual camera) tour of “Christian Dior & Chinese Artists.” This project is in collaboration with 798’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Arts—opening its futuristic virtual museum space in RMB City.

Press — Nokan Vlodovic, @ 10:45 pm

RMB City at Performatik!


RMB City is going to be shown at Performatik 09, a Kaaitheatre festival that will be taken place from 13 Feb to 21 Feb, 2009 in Brussels, Belgium. Focusing on “work founded on exchange and collaboration between disciplines”, this fiesta of art happenings stresses an element — live event. Under this topic, concerts, performance art, live art, body art … are going to blow the audiences’ minds.

Among tons of programs/works by accomplished artists including Stelarc (you probably have seen his “third ear”) and Lawrence Weiner, RMB City will be shown at performatik on 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21 Feb 2009 (Brussels Time). Apart from the visual/ sociological/ art discourses and amzaing virtual architectures, Master Q, a.k.a Guangzhou-based artist Huang He (SL: queenShoe Voom) ‘s virtual fengshui project is definitely a highlight of RMB City — the SL fantasia developed by artist Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) and Vitamin Creative Space. Art-goers! Prepare for the new eye-blinding journey through the pixels!

RMB City on Performatik website:

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, February 11, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

RMB City on

Just saw an article RMB City in Second Life, a website offers news of games about sanpshotting, building and designing.

I was fascinated by the polaroid-esque pictures they took inside RMB City, and their understanding about city – “fragments of lives”, more than a whole set concrete blocks mass-produced by some famous architects.

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, February 10, 2009 @ 2:41 am

RMB City in Second Life


RMB City in Second Life
February 8, 2009

We’ve seen Cao Fei’s “RMB City” in many forms already, ranging from real life 3D models to CGI images and video of the virtual city design, but only recently this giant build was created in Second Life. Ranging 4 Second Life islands, the RMB City is since January accessible for the wide avatar public. Together with the opening in Second Life, the website is being filled with lots of RMB City goodness, such as RL & SL event listings, a city guide, the latest news and a city manifesto. In that city manifesto Cao Fei (avatar name: China Tracy) writes:

“What we see and touch are real, what we breath and feel are virtual; our voice is real, our memory is virtual; fortune is real, poverty is virtual; fulfilment is real, sadness is virtual; resentment is real, affection is virtual; foolishness is real, wisdom is virtual; reigning is real, endurance is virtual; living is real, dying is virtual; the land is real, the sky is virtual…then, from this moment on, let all the virtual-real conflicts vanish in RMBCity.”

At RMB City, there is just one thing that makes that this virtual urban area does not qualify fully as a city, yet. Despite all city planning, in real life, never does one person, or only a few, think out a city. It’s a collection of little pieces of lives… your life, that of your neighbours, that of your colleagues, that of the stranger on the bus, a kid going out for ice cream … . RMB City has not been “lived” yet. There are no marks of use: a road worn down, buildings that tell history, graffiti on the bus, a thrown away bottle, little advertisements with phone numbers on them or even worn down flowers for the kid that wanted the ice cream so badly it didn’t look before crossing the road. Some might call this all “decay”, but it’s exactly that contamination by life which makes a city interesting to me. I hope, that as RMB City progresses, we get to see exactly that, fragments of how life in this city could be.

Read more on RMB City at (press connect to enter the site) or go see for yourself in Second Life (TP link or search for “RMB City” using the Second Life Map). And if you have figured out how your life this “virtual but real” metropolis would be like, write them down, illustrate them with snapshots and share the story, as I’m dying to know how it is to live here and how the city will look once it’s “used”!

(PS. water reflections are off in the snapshots, and glow makes things look weird. blame LL. that they stop forcing us to mandatory upgrade to buggy clients when the previous one was working perfectly. *sighs*)

To read the original article, press here

Press — Nokan Vlodovic, @ 12:37 am

Art in the shadow of Katrina: Prospect New Orleans P.1 in the critic’s eyes

Writer/ critic/ designer Hrag Vartanian wrote an interesting article aboout Prosepct New Orleans, the biggest among the art biennales that have taken place in the United States. Starting with Mark Bradford’s piece – an ark called “Mithra” (2008), Vartanian commenced his journey of wandering amongst the art pieces in the post-Katrina New Orleans.

Hrag talked about NO LAB, RMB City’s project collaborating with MAP OFFICE , after his encounter with the paper-cut-out Obama in the virtual New Orleans in NO LAB, Hrag commented “It occurred to me that we will realize soon enough how well-placed our hope in him really is.”

To read the article, press here

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, February 9, 2009 @ 2:37 am

Our First Mayor!

After his interesting speech at the People’s Hall on Jan 16 2009, UliSigg Cisse (RL: Uli Sigg) officially commenced his term of office, this week, he gave his value “Do not do anything that I wouldn’t do”.

What will he do? What you will do?

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, January 21, 2009 @ 10:14 pm


NO LAB in RMB City, originally created for Prospect.1 New Orleans by Cao Fei+MAP OFFICE, is being presented “on tour” in Lacoste, France at the Galerie Pfriem du SCAD from Jan 17-Mar 15, 2009.


NO LAB: Cao Fei and MAP office
Galerie Pfriem du SCAD, Lacoste, France
Vernissage, 17 Janvier. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
NO LAB in Second Life, landmark: RMB City 2 (96, 170, 31) City 2/96/170/31/







Learn more about NO LAB:
Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) ‘s blog post on NO LAB in LACOSTE, SCAD, FRANCE
NO LAB on Youtube
NO LAB on Tour.1 (SCAD/Lacoste, France)
RMB City: NO LAB, New Orleans Biennale Preview Day 1
NO LAB, New Hope—by James Au
NO LAB opening in Real Life New Orleans & Second Life RMB City
RMB City: New Orleans Biennale coming soon, 1st, Nov

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, January 20, 2009 @ 12:28 am
 Page 2 of 4 « 1  2  3  4 »