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Semi-serious account of Torino trip nov-2009

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Mix a bunch of 100% Chinese, some Cantonese, some half-castes, some Italians and some foreigners; place them on the most postmodern theatrical stage in the heart of ancient historical Torino, add a bit of virtuality, some superheroes and some ‘yan ban xi’ outmoded costumes and TURN ON THE FOOTLIGHTS!…

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November 7, 2009, A rainy night in the Northwest of Italy
Audience: ‘RMBCity Opera’ is the only performance repeating twice in Artissima theatre program…it must be quite interesting, tough very bizarre…
RMB City: we must test the CCTV model on the Astra Theatre stage…where the bloody hell are Superman and Superwoman?…
Voice-off: …having some pizza in the nearby…
Neo: I’ve taken the red pill, Trinity, and now I think I’ve stepped out of the glass into a new vivid reality where people eat REAL food (mainly ‘spaghetti’ and ‘pizza’) and build REAL houses and monuments…
Audience: What’s this weird ballet about? They look like robots in old-fashioned military costumes…
RMB City (with trained voice): “Perhaps it was a mad dislocation of the times and the body: revolution and ballet, revolutionary model and consumption – these taught the toe love and hate”
Voice-off:…China Tracy is backstage trying to seduce some lighting technicians! Somebody go and get her!!!
Cao Fei: Here it goes again: the snobby lunatic is unleashed…no way to stop her now! Batman, go and get her with your superpower!
Voice-off: …also having some pizza in the nearby…
Cao Fei: :-@!This world is a mess! Let’s close the doors, turn off the lights and login to SL!
Audience: Bravo!
…Neo: “Whoa. Déjà vu.”

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Blog — Gianna Yebut, November 16, 2009 @ 12:53 am

RMB City and Vitamin in Torino, Italy

China Tracy and Gianna Yebut’s photos from Artissima Art Fair and ‘RMB City Opera’, Turin, Nov 2009

What happens when a historical and ancient town in the northwest of Italy meets with China Tracy’s virtual city?

How does an empty stage look like before the frantic and mad show of an Art Fair begins?

Have a look at these pictures of our ‘Voyage to Italy’…

RL Torino

RL Torino

emty 'stage'

empty 'stage'

the show begins...

the show begins...

Italians enjoy 'Live in RMB City'

Italians enjoy 'Live in RMB City'

...Chinese, too!

...Chinese, too!

'RMB City Opera'

'RMB City Opera'

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Blog — Gianna Yebut, November 11, 2009 @ 11:37 pm

Virtuality helps to cure mental diseases

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Opening next December 17 Liverpool FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) will host an amusing exhibition on the influence and widespread circulation of virtual spaces and videogames in the contemporary society.

Among other artists and projects, ‘Space Invaders: Art in the Computer Game Environment’ will also display Cao Fei’s 2004 COSplayers, a film installation following the ‘epical’ performances of some teenagers miming their favourite anime.

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The exhibition analyses the way in which the virtual invades our everyday life and how this affects our behavioural and mental performances. Somehow these external stimula act upon our spatial and visual perception (to the point where die-hard fans of Tetris can contract a strange ‘imaginary disease’, ‘Tetris syndrome’, no need to mention this, where they believe that the world around them operates under the logic of the game…! ).

The influence of virtual games on the human mind is so well-acknowledged by now that in the scientific and psychological branch they’re even used to cure mental and neural pathologies such as depression or autism:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070301100807.htm
http://www.physorg.com/news174650438.html

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As long as you don’t get to confuse reality with games (threatening people with your ‘augmented reality’ umbrella, flying from the CCTV to the Bird’s Nest, grabbing objects and people and trying to put them in the right shape to fit a small space…!), virtuality could therefore become an important research and medical instrument.

For more information about ‘Space-Invaders’ exhibition see:
http://www.gamersdailynews.com/story-13920-Space-Invaders-Art-in-the-Computer-Game-Environment.html

Blog,RL Events — Gianna Yebut, October 29, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

‘Your City is Mine, My City is Yours’ – ‘Better City, Better Life’ Shanghai Expo meets RMB City values.

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Opening next May 2010 Shanghai Expo is expected to be one of the major social, cultural and political Chinese appointments of the last few years, if only for the huge sums of money poured into the event and its symbolical significance as the first international expo taking place in a developing Country.

Shanghai Expo will become a platform of exchanges and discussions on social and urban issues such as the environment, pollution, ecology, cultural heritage, Chinese customs, science and technology and the remodeling of communities in the city.

To what extent these RL values can be applied to a virtual environment? Are these issues somehow also relevant in SL and RMB City in the specific?
On-line worlds are not threatened by pollution and ecological alarm, they’re also dispensed with the increasing problem of traffic and lacking of livable places.

Nonetheless, virtual worlds, and RMB City amongst them, are based on an aggregate of people and some shared values, interests and dreams.
The theme of Expo 2010 ‘BETTER CITY, BETTER LIFE‘ shares the same implicit utopian urge incidental to any real and virtual society. In Shanghai as well as in RMB City history and the past blend with progress and the future, ancient values and traditions find their way amongst modern models and new standards of life and Chinese paradigms overlap cosmopolitan issues.

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The funny mascot of Shanghai Expo, ‘Haibao’, reminds the Chinese character for ‘people’ ()(http://www.easytourchina.com/china-specials/emblem-mascot-of-shanghai-expo.htm) and our virtual city is ‘People’s City’, a city built on and made of any individual contributions, made of persons and their dreams.
The only hope we have for a better world is to use our imagination to invent a new one.

Your City is Mine
My City is Yours

“There are no nationalities or borders here; we are all world citizens in a future world where everyone lives his second life and creates his own values.” — China Tracy (RMB City Citizenship Announcement: http://rmbcity.com/community/)

Blog — Gianna Yebut, October 20, 2009 @ 3:10 am

‘Fashions of China Tracy’ in New York for ICP

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Fashions of China Tracy‘, the photo shoot recently commissioned by Modern Weekly magazine becomes part of  ‘Dress Codes’, the third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video in New York:

http://www.icp.org/site/c.dnJGKJNsFqG/b.5394877/k.97DE/Dress_Codes.htm

http://rmbcity.com/2009/03/fashionable-china-tracy-modern-weekly/

This year New York major exhibition focuses on the theme of FASHION and presents a wide range of projects relating to this ‘minor art’ and its connection with other artistic media and cultural phenomena.

Exhibiting over 100 recent works by 34 artists from 18 countries, ‘Dress Codes’ explores the realm of fashion as an artistic expression and a sociological manifestation.
As a multilayered language, infused with cultural, anthropological, historical and social meanings, clothes, apparels and accessories define one’s external identity and contribute to the construction of one’s social self.

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ICP created its own charming avatar for the show, a beautiful and intriguing ICP Seda, who, through in-gallery computer stations, presents China’s Tracy costumes in the world or RMB City.

The event, and specifically China Tracy’s project, even received some attention by one of the most preeminent US cultural magazine, The New Yorker, and appeared in the ‘Talk of the Town’ section of last October 12 issue:

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Blog,News,RL Events,Real Life,SL Events — Gianna Yebut, October 14, 2009 @ 12:52 am

Shiseido Gallery Solo exhibition

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Imagine that you could be reincarnated into a new life, that you could go back to birth and take your first steps in a new world…

A fantastic, exciting and unpredictable journey, the video ‘Live in RMB City’ follows the first breaths, fears and curiosities of newly born China Sun, the baby of China Tracy, in Second Life. The camera follows baby China Sun’s wanderings and explorations in a revived RMB City, inspired by brand new additions created by a team of artist, writer, architect, and philosopher collaborators, and infused with a fresh stream of life.

Commissioned by Tokyo’s Shiseido Gallery for a 2009 Cao Fei solo exhibition, ‘Live in RMB City’ is a dreamy children’s tale on the mysteries of (real and virtual) life. Accompanied and instructed by the attentive guidance of an extravagant cyber-mother, RMB City’s newest born baby wonders through old and new buildings, weaving the net of an articulated journey between past, present and future.

The secrets of virtual existence are slowly unveiled in RMB City, a world where mothers never grow old and buildings can become ice-creams, and yet the deeper meanings of life remain unanswered because, as China Sun starts to learn, there is only one way of explaining it, and that is through poetry and imagination:
“If my little boat sinks, it has gone to another sea.”

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From Cao Fei’s blog:

http://www.alternativearchive.com/caofei/article.asp?id=387

Blog,News,RL Events,Real Life — Gianna Yebut, October 12, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

RMB City in Torino, Italy, for Artissima Art Fair

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RMB City is ready to sail to Italy for the upcoming ARTISSIMA FAIR 2009 in Turin, next November (6-8 Nov 2009)  http://www.artissima.it/?lang=_en

As a new stage of its ever-changing life, RMB City takes part in Artissima 2009 with an experimental theatrical play inspired by the ‘Eight Models Drama’ theatre, typical of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
On the borderline between past and future, between classic and contemporary realities, the performance will explore the connections of real and virtual identities, using both physical and virtual spaces as a stage for interaction between actors and ‘avatars’.

Reflecting on the new meanings of the term ‘model’ in contemporary society, ‘RMB City Opera’ will present itself as a reflection on current forms of urbanization and new millenium’s identities.

Citizens of the old and new worlds, you are warmly welcome to join the show!

November 7th at 11.00 a.m. and 17.00 p.m.
Teatro Astra, via Rosolino Pilo 6, Turin, Italy

Blog,Events,Media Center,News,Press,Projects,RL Events,Real Life,SL Events — Gianna Yebut, October 8, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up…” On real and virtual Patriotism

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In view of the upcoming celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the Republic of China, I came to think about Patriotism and national values.
The intrinsic meaning of celebrating anniversaries resides specifically in its emotional and ritual significance of keeping a community together through historical memory and common beliefs.

Quite often, though, the original importance of a specific anniversary gets lost in the flow of time, and what is left is merely a common sense of affiliation to some settled ideas, such as traditional customs or religious celebrations (with the feeling that the more these celebrations lose track with their original significance, the more they become a simple excuse to have some extra holidays!).
But despite this loss in meaning, they still keep their original sense of keeping the community together and in this way they are still to be considered an important occasion of mass aggregation and power.

RMB City saint patron

RMB City saint patron

What I’m wondering now is whether or not on-line communities undergo this same patriotic and national processes so typical in any RL societies.
I am still very doubtful about this subject, but I have the feeling that the crucial elements inspiring patriotic and national values are completely lacking in the virtual space (thankfully or not): the sense of affiliation to a common lineage, tribe, nation, state, religion, customs and traditions doesn’t belong to the vast, multi-cultural, intra-national and heterogeneous ocean of the net.
On-line communities and virtual worlds belong more to the ‘non-space’ of infinite possibilities, to that UTOPIA of chances and exchanges that doesn’t define any specific Nation and community.

But if we wanted to take it less seriously, we could initiate a SL anniversary on June 23 (this year would have been the 6th one) and celebrate our almighty ‘Linden Lab’ God in the form of His embodied son Philip Rosedale.

Proposals for the national anthem and flag are warmly welcomed!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, September 27, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

RMB City at ‘Utopics’ exhibition, Switzerland

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RMB City takes part in the 11th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition in Bienne (August 30-October 25, 2009): ‘Utopics, Systems and Landmarks’ presents 50 installations and interventions all throughout the Swiss town of Biel/Bienne created by artists, idealists, dreamers and thinkers from all around the world.  http://www.interversion.org/utopics/home-1

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More's Utopia

The idea of ‘utopia’ dates back to 1516 when English humanist Thomas More published his fictional work on a new and ideal form of society: originally meaning a ‘no-place-land’, the term have been stretched and often confused all throughout the centuries with the term eu-topia, meaning ‘good place’ and it is related to terms such as ‘dystopia’, ‘counter-utopia’ and ‘heterotopy’.

Esperanto flag

Esperanto flag

Ranging from interesting and heterogeneous interventions, from the linguistic dream of a common language, the Esperanto, to some civic and community experiments, the exhibition mixes real and fictional worlds and is meant to detect the common urges, criticism and dreams underlying the search for a ‘different place’.

Freetown Christiania, Copenghagen

Freetown Christiania, Copenghagen

At the base of any utopian desires there’s a very concrete and tangible criticism of the contemporary society, of some political, social and artistic situations, sometimes it becomes a real escapist way of believing in a ‘better place’ sometimes it is just an intense and magical spell allowing human mind to go over its limits and possibilities…quite distinctly human imagination is the only element ‘utopianly’ without boundaries in life.

Our virtual SL world of RMB City is a perfect case of ‘no-place-land’ and I like to think of this second life of ours as an immense platform for imagination, hopes and spiritual renewal.

Blog,Media Center,News,Press,RL Events — Gianna Yebut, September 20, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

Party People

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Famed writer, activist, and Second Life personality Hamlet Au put on his party suit on Sunday to help RMB City fete itself onto the SL map.

“Never mind the sex courtesans, dance first!” he urged gala guests (referring to the mei nu, or beautiful women, whose greetings in City Hall are intended to lure visitors into their sex parlor, one of the newest additions to RMB City).

And dance they did. DJ MoShang Zhao set forth a steady stream of ambient beats, and a full-to-capacity crowd watched as Iris Ophelia debuted stunning fashions inspired by RMB City from a variety of avant-garde designers.

The highlight was the world premiere of a new machinima from acclaimed filmmaker Lainy Voom, who created a mystical encapsulation of RMB City cloaked in the language and dreamy romanticism of Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”.

It was this particularly imaginative power that marked the first occasion in which RMB City’s people pulsed with a collective sense of energy and wonder, the same sort found in China Tracy’s own dreams.

Please stay tuned to Hamlet’s blog, New World Notes (http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/) for the best RMB City-inspired snapshots in the coming days.

Blog,Events,Media Center,News,Press,Projects,SL Events,Second Life — Zilla Warrhol, September 15, 2009 @ 6:04 am

New World Gala: A Grand Re-Opening of RMB City

New World GalaNew World Gala

PRESS RELEASE- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2009

New World Gala: A Relaunch of RMB City
A Night of Art and Music Inspired by RMB City, Hosted by Hamlet Au
Featuring the Unveiling of the Guggenheim Museum in RMB City
Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy)

September 13, 2009 @ 7 pm ( Second Life Time)
September 14, 2009 @ 10 am (Beijing Time)

“Is this your city?” asked the young man. The angel answered: “It’s yours.”

- Italo Calvino, “The Castle of Crossed Destinies”

Many of us are born into shelter, nurtured in the arms of people who guide us before allowing us to encounter our physical realities on our own. But imagine that you are born not into the arms of your mother, but into the arms of a city; and that you are grasped, embraced and cultivated by the towers and vessels, sounds and sights of a fantastical empire. For China Sun, the baby of China Tracy, this is reality from first breath. When China Sun asks “What is life?” it is RMB City who answers.

RMB City’s original manifesto envisioned freedom from the conflict between virtual and real, positing the city not as a mirror for determining cold hard truths, rather, as a partial reflector, a magic pond of sorts for discovering the complex, layered, and fuzzy strangeness of existence. An experiment in modern urban planning, RMB City is evolving into a compact, yet whimsical and decidedly complex setting for such discovery. It now begs questions such as: Can a decision made in second life affect the first? How does density, in turn, impact our destiny? What does it mean for life in a city to be sustainable? What is it like to fly?

The answers can be found by ushering in a new phase of RMB City, an era, beginning today, in which you are encouraged to not simply visit the city, but rather to live there. RMB City has a new mayor, SuperConcierge Cristole (RL: Jerome Sans), who will welcome newcomers by answering the questions of any visitor, be they philosophical, practical, or personal. New, interactive destinations in RMB City, like an experiment in noise and listening by Yan Jun, a dynamic UFO by Neville Mars, and a Sex Parlor by Cao Fei will challenge visitors to repeat their experiences in order to understand and interpret their inherent tensions. Finally, a new building, a Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in RMB City, will open for the public to enjoy.

Please join China Sun for RMB’s grand re-opening party, a celebration of energy, vitality, and action filled with prominent figures in the Second Life community. The gala, hosted by the venerable in-world writer Hamlet Au, will feature a fashion show and photography contest presided over by in-world designer Iris Ophelia, and the premiere of a new machinima by in-world filmmaker Lainy Voom. Additionally, all of the new additions to RMB City by its real-life artistic collaborators will be open for exploration.

RMB City is a place for, among many others, the flaneur, the voyeur, the laborer, the aristocrat, the scientist, the poet, the activist, the sage, and the child alike. You are encouraged to come in, visit, and make RMB City your home.

LOCATION: People’s Palace, RMB City (RMB City 1 (220, 16, 65))
TIME: Sunday, September 13 @ 7 pm (SL Time), Monday, September 14 @ 10 am (Beijing Time)

New to Second Life?

To join Second Life and visit RMB City, register for a free account at https://join.secondlife.com/

Need Help? info@rmbcity.com

About RMB City:
www.rmbcity.com

Developer of RMB City: Cao Fei and Vitamin Creative Space
Facilitator: Uli Sigg
Public Presenter: Serpentine Gallery
Chief Engineer: Avatrian

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“Revolutionary Pleasure Area” and “Second Life Tremors”

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“Revolutionary Pleasure Area” and  “Second Life Tremors”

Original works by Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) and Neville Mars

August 28, 2009
11 am, Beijing Time

RMB City 1 (220, 16, 65)

Please join China Tracy for the unveiling of her Revolutionary Pleasure Area: RMB City’s first sex parlor.

Also debuting will be an earth-shattering new work by architect Neville Mars, creating tremors all throughout Second Life.

To visit, teleport to:

RMB City 1 (220,16,65)
or

http://slurl.com/secondlife/RMB%20City%201/220/16/65/

New to Second Life?

To join Second Life and visit RMB City, register for a free account at https://join.secondlife.com/

Need Help? info@rmbcity.com

About RMB City:
www.rmbcity.com

Developer of RMB City: Cao Fei and Vitamin Creative Space
Facilitator: Uli Sigg
Public Presenter: Serpentine Gallery
Chief Engineer: Avatrian

New SL opening in RMB City

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New opening in RMB City

Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday 25th August 2009, 11 a.m. (Beijing time) for new RMB City opening: Chinese artist Yan Jun will present his new sound project ‘Never Real Sound’…come and experience this mysterious, ‘disturbing’ project in the new vibrant atmosphere of our virtual city!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, August 24, 2009 @ 4:27 am

Is this man going to win his game with death?

French artist Christian Boltanski

French artist Christian Boltanski

Talking about art and new standards of life (virtual identities as well as the contemporary trend of ‘performed’ existences, Big Brother style) some days ago I read a very interesting article about French artist Christian Boltanski’s new extravagant project (unfortunately I’ve only found the original interview made by Le Monde to the artist: http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2009/07/29/christian-boltanski-je-joue-une-partie-contre-le-diable_1223806_3246.html and another Italian article on the subject: http://www.repubblica.it/2009/08/sezioni/persone/pittore-francese/pittore-francese/pittore-francese.html?ref=search).

A bizarre Australian millionaire, hardened gambler and art passionate, decided to literally ‘buy’ Boltanski’s life for 8 years: from January 2010 he will live in a cave in the man’s property in Tasmania and will be observed by cameras and visitors for eight years (note that Boltanski is already 65); he will be free to live his live ‘normally’ and express his needs and desires but for eight years he will constantly be subject to the irreverent eye of the cameras and to his superb ‘master’s wishes.

This already extravagant project becomes a real bet with death, due to the internal clauses of the contract: if Boltanski dies, his millionaire master will become the beneficiary of his life annuity, if he survives he will instead be due to pay Boltanski back of a huge amount of money.

The unforgettable scene from Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal": the knight plays a chess game with Death

The unforgettable scene from Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal": the knight plays a chess game with Death

In my opinion, the project is challenging, original, unacceptable and grotesque at the same time, but it’s nonetheless a very significant and multifaceted work, and it especially arouses many interesting issues:

First of all, the idea of a massive invasion of the public sphere into the private one in modern society (“I’m being watched, therefore I am”?);

Secondly, it is a peculiar overlapping of life and art: most of Boltanski’s work is actually imbued with this sense of loss, inexorability of time and memory:

could this project become his own personal way of immortalizing his life into a piece of art?

Is this simply a mere contemporary interpretation of the classical ‘memento mori’ motif and a way of securing his presence even in case of ‘extreme eventuality’?

I don’t really know the answer, but of one thing I’m sure: in this crazy game with Death, the incredible and even unexplainable human compassion and attachment to life will drive people to root for this man!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, August 23, 2009 @ 11:37 pm

‘People’s Limbo 7’ On-line platforms and the risk of misinformation

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At this stage of my ‘limbo’ journey, after numerous adventures and new encounters I decide to take a rest and fly towards the seventh location of ‘People’s Limbo’ inside ‘People’s Tower’.

Up to this point, I’ve learned many lessons: I’ve learned how to fight laziness and committed myself to maintaining the good harmony of my city, I’ve found a job and brought new hope through the arms of freedom and creativity, and I’ve finally learned how to re-equilibrate my internal Qi, because the only way to solve problems in the outside is by re-harmonizing our internal rhythm.

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I fly inside ‘People’s Tower’ (RMB City 3 179, 186, 88 (Mature)- RMB City 3) and let myself fall down the long tunnel conducting to the main hall (fellow avatars will notice the weird similarities with Alice’s journey to ‘another world’).
The place is actually an information centre whith newspapers and journals suddenly popping up in the air and surrounding your avatar with unexpected and, I must say, quite aggressive piece of information, from the recent economical crisis to the historical event of Beijing Olympic games and even some political propaganda.
I’m sure this place conceals some hidden meanings and I start to think about journalism, news and the role of information.

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When does journalism go beyond news?
Where’s the limit between information and sensationalism, or between information and propaganda?
Does a neutral and objective journalism even exist or is it always conditioned by personal opinions and perspectives? How has information and communication changed with the advent of technology and on-line platforms?
In a digital era when anybody can write on a blog and comment current events and news, how can we distinguish between reliable and non-reliable sources of information?
Does this multiplication of sources grow at the expense of clearer and more in-depth journalism?
Carmelo Bene, a contemporary and controversial Italian director, used to say that information doesn’t ‘inform OF facts’ but ‘inform FACTS’ (playing on the original Latin significance of the verb ‘inform’, which literally means ‘to form, to shape’).

SL and virtual platforms are to be used with special caution, as an immense pool of knowledge, creativity and inspiration but always aware of their potential for misinformation and myths.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, August 17, 2009 @ 1:29 am
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