Transient and unconventional artistic media






Spiral Jetty

Spiral Jetty

What first comes to your mind when you think about unconventional pieces of Art subject to the passing of time and to external factors?

My immediate thoughts go to the 1960s and 1970s Land Art of such artists as Robert Smithson (and of course his archetypal, provocative earthwork Spiral Jetty, made in 1970), James Turrell, Walter De Maria and many more.
This quirky art movement, sinking its roots in Minimalism and Conceptualism, considered art and landscape inextricably linked. The main pieces were actually outdoor ‘sculptures’ and installation made of natural material, subject to changes and final corrosion under natural conditions (quite interestingly the only way for the contemporary audience to experience them is through snapshots and video recordings). Most interestingly, and perfectly in tune with the contestative atmosphere of the time, Land Art was born as a provocation against the artistic ‘commercialization’ of the 1960s and the conventionality of Art displayed in museums and galleries. As a sign of protest, it therefore quitted conventional spaces and displayed in the open air, and actually made land and the environment the main subject of its installations.

Three decades after those peculiar artistic expressions, the wide world of SL presents itself as a creative platform in many ways similar to its Land Art predecessor.
As an artistic stage, it actually allows artists to display their pieces in an unconventional way, in a sense it is also a much more democratic way of expression, seeing that anybody can use it as an artistic medium or simply as an unconventional showcase to display his works.

In a way, both form of expression then, Land Art and SL Art (commonly known as SLart), encourage a revisionary understanding of Art and artistic approach, overthrowing our traditional conceptions and questioning the very purpose of Art.

There’s then another level in which the two forms of Art overlap: their transitory state makes both earthworks and virtual works ephemeral in a way; this is surely true in the first case with Land Art installations slowly degrading under the erosive effect of natural conditions, but it is also peculiar and incidental to SLart and its precarious state due to its own ‘insubstantial’ nature and its inextricable link to its Father, Linden Lab.

What if they just decide to close down, what happens to the innumerable avatars, prims and SLart works living in there?
And also, as already discussed in the post about Bettina Tizzy’s proposal of a ‘Slart will’, what happens when an artist die in RL? Unless he ‘wills’ his art, everything he’s done in SL is simply lost.

Although I also think it would be very regrettable to lose one’s work overnight, I still believe Art should be considered more as an ever-changing flux of energy and renewal rather than an immortal value and this is especially the case with Conceptualism and SLart, where more than objects and installations what really counts are IDEAS.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, June 30, 2009 @ 1:00 am

People’s Limbo 3: roll up your sleeves and get your future a kick start !






After meditating in front of the golden Virgin Mary and going through the cathartic second stage of my “People’s Limbo” in the money bubbles, it’s now time for me, on my third part of the journey to actively make some choices and start thinking about solutions.

‘What would a wise person do in time of economic instability and financial turmoil? –I therefore think-…He’d certainly roll up his sleeves and start from the basis, whish means the crucial and necessary step of applying for a job!”

What better place to find a job than the vibrant worksite in RMB City then?
I therefore teleport myself from the floating panda to this new location: RMB City 1 176, 193, 22 (Mature)
(remember you can always skip from place to place by going back to the initial stage of “People’s Limbo”, inside the bank, and click on the acupuncture points drawn on the golden statue).

This place reflects the intense urban architectural boom of contemporary metropolis, especially in China: it’s an active place of birth and innovation and gives me good vibes and optimistic hopes about the future: amidst street bars, Ktvs, scaffoldings, working tools, grout sacks and humble residences I finally find what I was looking for: a temporary ‘recruiting agency’ improvised for the extremely urgent situation we’re all going through.

Me-employer: What kind of service are you going to offer in RMB City?
Me-employee: I have in mind an ambitious and improbable idea….
Me-employer: Could you please cut it short? There’re many candidates queuing…
Me-employee: I’d like to change the end of Cervantes’ ‘Don Quijote de la Mancha’, I’m pretty convinced he wasn’t supposed to go back to its ordinary, boring life and I’m sure that’s the reason why he eventually dies…
Me-employer: RMB City and the whole world need practical solutions, wealth and stability, we don’t certainly want some lunatic’s delirious ravings!
Me-employee: You can call me ‘a lunatic’… those days, back in Spain, it happened to him as well but what if it comes out I’m right? What if the only way to save the world and start from a new beginning is by pushing forward our limits? …He wasn’t supposed to go back, he was meant to live his life adventurously, wandering the earth as a medieval knight…Please, don’t make the same mistake: don’t let creativity and freedom to be bottled up…. Please, let me be mad!
Me-employer: …….. I’d like to appoint you knight-errant, welcome to RMB City!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, June 23, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

Cover of Outlook Magazine 87


Brightly dressed in her futuristic cyber-armour China Tracy, together with poor Lehman brother and a beautiful black and white view of RMB City, are the protagonists of the latest issue of ‘The Outlook Magazine’, entirely dedicated to virtual worlds.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, June 21, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

New pics of RMB City@Art 40 Basel

RMB City is traveling all around the world with its unexpected and ever-changing shape….

Here are some pictures taken at Art40 Basel last 10-14 June 2009.

On this occasion RMB City presented the brand-new series of ‘People’s Limbo’ projects + some previous ‘classics’ such as ‘The Birth of RMB City’, ‘No Lab in RMB City’ and ‘Qi of RMB City’. Have a look!








Blog — Gianna Yebut, June 19, 2009 @ 12:19 am

‘Land of illusion’ machinima





Going back to the concept of ‘heterotopy’ (other space), today I’ve come upon a beautiful machinima entitled ‘Land of Illusion’ by Beijing media artists Lily Xiying Yang and Honglei Li (杨熙瑛, 李宏磊).

It’s a very dense and multilayered tale about freedom of thought and cultural isolation and it interestingly superimposes different Chinese traditions and folkloristic elements, both of its glorious past (from the literary classics such as the ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ and the legend of the ‘Hundred Schools of Thought’ to the religious taoist beliefs, the emblematic profile of the Great Wall and the traditional Chinese scroll-paintings) and elements from its chaotic and contradictory present (from the contested Three Gorges Dam to the intense figure of a modern woman wearing a blood-stained mask, reminding many contemporary social issues, from censorship to the role of women in society or the recent mortal bird flu).

‘Land of Illusion’ interweaves tradition and globalization and it’s a perfect and beautiful example of the unlimited artistic possibilities offered in a virtual platform such as SL. What I personally like especially in this machinima is the highly refined accumulation of symbols, emblems and visual metaphors: from the powerful and visually effective Great Wall in flame (I like to interpret it as a symbol of openness to the outside world) to the submerged world under the sea (another ‘heterotopy’ inside the biggest one of SL) and the final intense character of the silenced Chinese girl.

Unfortunately the actual SL sim of ‘Land of Illusion’ is currently unavailable and you can only teleport your avatar to the nearest Museum of Contemporary Art, which is apparently the original setting of the machinima. (DSL Cyber MoCA – Museum of Contemporary Art in SL,, UQBAR 164, 237, 35).

Blog — Gianna Yebut, June 12, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

‘Money bubbles’: experience the 2nd project of ‘People’s Limbo’




After some time spent in the mysterious and enigmatic interiors or RMB City’s People’s Bank, surrounded by divine presences, phantoms of economic disasters and beneficial fluxes of regenerating energy I’ve finally teleported myself to the second setting of ‘People’s Limbo’ project: the ‘economic cauldron’ in ‘People’s Love Center’, that is the emblematic floating panda of RMB City. You can either reach it by flying over the city or using the ‘Limbo 1’ teleporting command on the golden statue of the Virgin Mary.

The first reaction when you enter inside the giant panda is a childish outburst of excitement: you fly above the ancient copper vase, take a deep breath and when you’re ready to let yourself go you stop flying and get bounced up and down by the money bubbles for an indeterminate period of time and following unpredictable trajectories.

We all know, though, that our bothersome adult consciousness lies in wait for the right moment to muck up the party and so you gradually start catching the metaphorical meaning of the whole scene: you’re in a panda, a symbol of peace and the ‘diplomacy animal’ for some time between China and other Countries but also an endangered species, and you actually get bounced by banknote balls that all of a sudden burst and let you fall from the sky and crash on the ground…it’s a tragicomic interpretation of the crisis: one moment you profit by money speculations and favourable economic cycles and ‘fly high’, and the moment after everything collapses and you need to get on your feet again.

Many questions still have to be answered in this second phase of my journey but at least I’m starting to collect some hints, and while reading the instructions board of the ‘money bubbles’ I realize this is not actually just an ancient vase but a religious ‘burner for processing elixir of Tai Shang Lao Jun, the highest Taoist God’…this game is also my cathartic stage -I think- my purification ‘limbo’, a highly necessary proof in order the rebalance the world equilibrium and stabilize my internal Qi.

Are you ready to face this adventure and jump into the cauldron?

Blog — Gianna Yebut, June 5, 2009 @ 1:21 am

RMB City at Art 40 Basel


Basel, Switzerland
June 10-14, 2009

“… Spaces have multiplied, been broken up ad have diversified… To live is to pass from one space to another, while doing your very best not to bump yourself.”

–    Georges Perec

This is the context in which RMB City exists at Art Basel, as a space along a journey of varying places and surroundings. A fantastical community in the vast virtual world of Second Life, RMB City now features “People’s Limbo”, a new series of interactive, experiential activities in response to the global economic crisis. The project is an exploration of the feelings of despair, denial, and loss of control that accompany financial catastrophe, as well as the simultaneous potential for progress toward rebirth, self-reliance, and freedom. In the words of Lao Tsu, “If you empty the self and relax your desires, you will know more clearly where you are heading.”

The People’s Limbo video, consisting of 12 short scenes, offers a Real Life (RL) audience a unique view of the essence of the “People’s Limbo” experience. Some of the activities are competitive and reflect the influence of past economic realities: for instance, one in which the visitor is thrown into the middle of a dense bubble of chaotic, bouncing balls, only to find it increasingly difficult to maneuver her way out, mirroring the quick loss of control that occurs as an economic bubble builds (and quickly collapses). Others, like a sustainable community garden, are meditative, and represent idealized visions of the future. A foot massage parlor staffed by Marx, Mao, a Lehman Brothers executive, and Lao Tze, serves as a philosophical platform for investigating all of these ideas.  In their imagined dialogue about desire and self-awareness, the Lehman Brothers executive quips “Take all this as a journey in the ‘Limbo of Life’”.

In addition to “People’s Limbo”, RMB City at Basel also consists of short videos of previous experiential projects, including “The Birth of RMB City”, “No Lab in RMB City” (a collaboration between Cao Fei and MAP Offices that envisions a virtual New Orleans) and “Qi of RMB City”.

Blog,Events,Media Center,News,RL Events — Zilla Warrhol, June 3, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

Sweet (virtual) dreams!


While having my breakfast this morning I realized, honestly a bit worried, that last night I dreamt about SL. I haven’t got to the point of thinking myself as my avatar ‘Gianna’ or communicating with my friends via chat yet (but I’m also sure this will happen soon or later…), nevertheless, in my dream I was flying over my Italian hometown with the typical SL movements, that is with the common ‘follow’ mode (the camera behind and slightly above my avatar), ascending and descending abruptly (I’m honestly still very clumsy in my new life), running into ghost buildings that suddenly materialize on my way and clicking on my ‘stop flying’ command to finally land on the top of my house.

This is quite intriguing, I thought, and very interesting too because it reflexes and it is symptom of the invasive way in which virtual worlds, digital webs and network data enter in and connect with our real life and real space. From a sociological and anthropological point of view our ways of communication and socialization have changed completely and this is especially due to the wide spread of social web services, such as Facebook, Twitter or SL or the everyday use of technological instruments such as mobile phones, GPS receivers or webcams. As long as the world evolves we also conform to these new changes and try to adapt ourselves to the standards: our relation with space, time and people has been changing enormously in the last decades to the point that it would be unimaginable nowadays to arrange appointments without mobiles or e-mails or to use a paper map in order to reach a place.

Aram Bartholl, an original young German artist, through his peculiar artistic projects, raises consciousness on these sociological issues and explores the way in which our real lives have been recently modified by the advent of new technologies and virtual communities.

speech bubble


Have a look at his website ( and pick up your favourite project! Mine is ‘Speech Bubble’, an exhilarating performance in which participants were to pick up messages that party visitors did post digitally at a party at Plazes platform, and bring these messages back to the user in form of a physical object.
This is the world upside-down: virtual conventions becoming models for real life games!….And it’s great fun! Check it out!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, @ 3:00 am

Opening Night for People’s Limbo

Miniature Tigerpaw’s photos from the star-studded opening of Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation @ Hong Kong Museum of Art

Blog,Events,Media Center,News,RL Events — Zilla Warrhol, June 2, 2009 @ 1:48 am