Inauguration of RMB City’s third mayor: Jerome Sans, Super Concierge


Date: 2nd August, 2009 2 pm (Beijing Time)
1st August, 2009 11 pm (Second Life Time)

Venue: People’s Palace, RMB City, Second Life
RMB City 1 (173, 41, 129)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the past four months, RMB City has been guided by the sage economic and artistic wisdom of our second mayor, AlanLau Nirvana. A time of recession can bring hopelessness and despair, but with AlanLau Nirvana and his “RMB City Stimulus Package” came encouragement, reflection, and creation. Our People’s Limbo project explored all of these feelings, and allowed RMB City to birth itself anew.

RMB City is now ready to experience new life, energy, and action. It will undergo a new phase of experimentation under the eclectic leadership of our new mayor Jerome Sans, a man of many different talents, who will also serve as the city’s master concierge. What new interpretations and ideas will he have in store?

Please join China Tracy and RMB City Management for a special afternoon ceremony. We will inaugurate Jerome Sans (SL: SuperConcierge Cristole), on his birthday, as our third mayor. In addition, we will introduce a preview of our upcoming “People’s Life” project. We sincerely invite everyone to share with us this new and exciting phase of RMB City development.

See you there.

RMB City Team

Jerome Sans is Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, and cultural curator for the hotel chain Le Meridien. He co-founded the innovative Palais de Tokio museum in Paris in 2002, and served as its co-director until 2006, and has curated numerous exhibitions worldwide. He is a singer and songwriter as a member of the rock band Liquid Architecture (

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

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 30, 2009 @ 11:42 pm

On virtual food “Take some more tea”, the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. “I’ve had nothing yet”, Alice replied in an offended tone: “so I can’t take more.”


New Japanese Air Yakiniku restaurant has recently become one of the most visited Korean barbecue of the world: no need for reservation, no queuing at all and most importantly no digesting problems…yes, because Air Yakiniku is actually a visual and auditory web-based restaurant and can only serve you virtual food!

The idea sounds definitely unordinary, if not completely crazy: you enter the site and are immediately invited to download a template to make a real paper apron to prevent your pc from getting dirtied by grease splattering; after that the site suggests to accompany your ‘meal’ with a (real) bowl of rice and some dipping sauce and when you’re ready there you go: your virtual meat starts to get cooked on the screen ‘till finally at the ring of a bell you can actually click on your chopsticks and enjoy your…meal.

Now I don’t think the point is to judge whether or not the whole idea makes sense or is just an idiotic and meaningless waste of time (go and have a look at the numerous exhilarating comments on the video: ‘Feeding on air…Yummm I feel full already!!’ style) but I would rather express a couple of thoughts regarding this weird ‘experiment’:


First of all, as already suggested by other bloggers the whole idea could be ironically interpreted as a satire both on the ongoing economic crisis (when my poor pockets don’t allow me to take my wife out for dinner, let me at least enjoy my virtual barbecue at home!) and also on the huge spread of visual and interactive games and communication platforms in our modern society.


Secondly, the whole idea of mimicking reality to an almost perfect level of likeness is a typical and age-old way for men to represent their world and in a way control and understand it better (think about the cave drawings of ferocious animals in primitive times);

This website could also be a funny analysis on human perception, on how our primary senses react to some visual and auditory impulses and immediately activate our ‘hunger centre’ in brain (I must say that I totally agree with some bloggers considering this quite a masochist and cruel game though!)

Air Yakiniku can give rise to such reflections or simply be a nonsense idiotic game for masochist players and desperate subjects on a diet….

…or maybe the truth is that we’re not used to spontaneous and ingenuous fun anymore, so used to give facts their right and rational interpretations that we cannot be surprised by anything anymore!


Just as a final comment on the need for all societies of any time to express themselves, artistically and sociologically, in a realistic way, I just want to remind that Lumière brothers’ “Arrival of a train at La Ciotat”, considered to be the first motion picture in modern history, is completely based on this realistic trick of a train heading for the screen and almost running over the audience.


Popular legend has it that, when the film was shown, the first-night audience fled the café in terror, fearing being crushed by the ‘approaching’ train.

Could it simply be that we’re not used to such simple and straightforward irony anymore?

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 28, 2009 @ 12:14 am

The economy is one big garden?!


There seems to be lots of plant (or farming) terms as analogies for our economy today.

Optimists have been talking of “green shoots” since almost 6 months ago. Roubini, a leading economist, didnt think that’s likely (at least not as of May). He thought its more “yellow weeds”, that could potentially turn into “brown manure” (now that’s going to stink!). Faber, another “Dr Doom”, maintained that “ultimate crisis” has yet to arrive. (Sorry I know this isnt a “plant” – but you cant get more pessimistic than an ultimate crisis…worth the record here)

But last week, Roubini said the worse of the financial crisis is over, and the US economy will come out of a recession by 2009 year-end.

Seems getting a consensus on the economy is as difficult as having a sunny nice weekend in Hong Kong these days. But to extend the plant analogy, dont you see different plants in different locales of the world? The same way that July is winter in Australia and summer in Japan, on the economy, you will see regions like China emerging from the recesssion sooner than anyone else (hence green shoots – or bamboos?). You see regions like UK or Eastern Europe still in deep troubles (yellow weed at best!). But even within these troubled regions, you will see “cactus” that grows in extreme weather!

The analogy goes on, and you can see the world economy as one big “garden” I guess…I wonder, is SL “in sync” with RL? What sort of garden and what kinds of plants do we see in SL, to extend the RL analogy?

Blog — Alan, July 22, 2009 @ 12:32 am

22/07/2009: Partial solar eclipse in RMB City



Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 21, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

Shall we call it postmodern art? (second general reflection on (virtual) art(s))

While not a big fan of ‘labelling’ I cannot stop finding parallels between some forms of contemporary art we can call ‘postmodern’ and SLart.

img_0012Last week I finally managed to go and see the so much-mentioned Yan Pei Ming’s “Landscape of img_0016Childhood” exhibition at UCCA.

The piece consists of a series of painted flags representing portraits of 34 Chinese new born children surrounded by huge landscape scenes painted on the walls of the huge Big Hall space.

What makes this piece even more effective is the way in which it is thought to be installed and experienced by the spectator: an ongoing artificial air current keeps on flapping the flags, creating a quite noisy and upsetting atmosphere that keeps the audience tensed and alarmed.

The intensity of the work, already quite disturbing in its social theme (anonymity, misery and the difficult role of modern parents) is therefore further stressed by external ambient factors, such as the disturbing wind and noise.

This challenge to conventional forms and conventional exhibiting media is part of the big contemporary world of ‘postmodern and conceptual art’ (so huge and ‘un-categorizable’ that is covers so different forms of art such as Dadaism, img_0024-2Surrealism, performance arts, new medias, installations etc. etc.) and is quite typical of both manyimg_0025-2 contemporary exhibitions, such as Yan Pei Ming’s one, and of virtual art and virtual museums as well.

The idea is to eliminate the so-called theatrical ‘fourth wall’ between artist and audience and let instead the piece of art to be enjoyed and experienced in a different and more direct way.

Both in UCCA Big Hall and in any other ‘sim’ in the vast universe of SL, Art is meant to involve the audience in an unconventional way, escaping ‘classical’ and traditional art-displaying and exploring the boundaries of new ways of perception and amusement.


RMB City landscape pays homage to its dadaist precursor and 'artistic father', Marcel Duchamp, and his famous readymade objects.


Blog — Gianna Yebut, @ 1:54 am

My “People’s Limbo 5”, The atonement, a tale freely adapted from S.T. Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”


Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 16, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

“History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”: a reflection on virtual museums, historical memory and political myths.

charlie-chaplin Sl, as a looking glass, returns a slightly distorted but highly reliable image of our world. Real people’s interests, obsessions, fantasies, nightmares and wishes are directly transposed on this virtual platform and bounced back in their new virtual and fantastic appearance.

twin-towers_002 While musing on these thoughts I became curious to understand how people approach history and how they represent historical deeds in SL. Interestingly enough there are quite a few historical museums and historical memorials, some of which cleverly manage to display facts through the unconventional use of interactive games and virtual experiences.

I also found Hobsbawm conception of the 20th C as a ‘short century’ with rather no historical memory left but completely immersed in its present quite right also in this new millennium SL context (for Hobsbawm references see

chernobyl_002 Lots of memorials are actually dedicated to quite recent and extremely impressive historical facts: 9/11, Chernobyl, Holocaust, Iraqi war but very few of them pay homage to minor or older deeds and this is quite significant of the way in which we connect to our history.

Historical memory plays an extremely important role in any historical period and I’m sure that social way of interaction such as SL, Facebook or Twitter could become instruments of great value to spread historical knowledge and supply people with an immense platform of communication and exchange of thoughts. With regards to this issue I’ve recently read an interesting article about the big importance covered by social web services in the recent election upheaval in Tehran:

In times of economical and political uncertainty, with Iran’s President claiming the Jewish holocaust never took place (or much tinier and less important historical fakes, such as the ‘Lega Nord’ separatist Italian party claiming the descent of its people to be of Celtic origin (!)) we all should be very careful to judge social networks and virtual games as rubbish and then maybe believe in quite extravagant (and highly dangerous) historical myths!

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 14, 2009 @ 2:28 am

My People’s Limbo, part 4, the redemptive foot massage




In my people’s Limbo 3 I finally managed to find a job and I’m now knight-errant of RMB City, which is still quite an uncertain definition but basically means to protect our city from abusers and use the power of creativity and fantasy to build a better society.

On my path towards salvation and redemption there’re still some steps to climb and some errors to be mended: I fly from the worksite towards the fourth People’s Limbo location, in the massage parlor of RMB City People’s Palace, the central city hall of our virtual town (RMB City 1 156, 25, 154 (Mature)).

I lie down on a luxurious sofa and while glancing through the magnificent interiors of this palace, its Chinese paintings and porcelain vases I doze off and imagine that my spiritual guide, in the guise of Dante’s Virgilio is giving me a very relaxing foot massage:

Virgilio: What brings you here, my dear Gianna? You look tensed and worried.
Me: To be honest, I need treatment, I want to wash my sins away and start anew, everybody has his own part of responsibility in this shaky economical situation and I want to take this burden and fight to mend my mistakes
Virgilio: The acupuncture flux cannot be wrong…I feel greed and superficiality in your body.
Me: I suppose I’ve been slightly lazy in the past few months and rested on my laurels
Virgilio: That’s what your body’s telling me, do you feel pain here, right below you large toe?
Me: Ouch! Yes, God if it hurts!
Virgilio: You should always nurture your mind and creativity, laziness is a bad and dangerous thing, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty.

I suddenly wake up, I’m alone in the room, my muscles are less tensed and one sentence keeps whirring round my head “O human race born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou fall”…I need to atone for my past mistakes and find my way towards redemption.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, July 6, 2009 @ 1:04 am