RMB City at Utopia Matters, Deutsche Guggenheim




Utopia Matters: From Brotherhoods to Bauhaus

23 Jan-11 Apr 2010

RMB City takes part in a major exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin.

Exhibiting an extensive range of works from different art currents and spanning 130 years of Art History, Utopia Matters investigates the representation of ideal society and alternative worlds in the works of various European and American artists and groups.

Among prominent works from Primitivism to the Nazarenes, from the Pre-Raphaelites to Neo-Impressionism, RMB City presents a unique and ‘cozy’ installation of its virtual space. Playing on the idea of ‘private utopias’ and the splitting between a ‘real’ and physical space and a virtual ideal world, RMB City takes the shape of an intimate room where visitors can actively experience its virtual existence. Through SL portals, videos, press material and old project installations visitors can actually enter Cao Fei’s utopian world as if they were in their own bedrooms.

As intimately suggested in RMB City exhibition slogan, If What We See And Touch are real, What We Breathe And Feel Are Virtual.

For more info:

Blog,Events,Media Center,News,Projects,Real Life,RL Events — Gianna Yebut, January 28, 2010 @ 3:07 am

ChinePlus (Dec09-Feb10)



Explosion Urbaine, Demain Sera Vert , Issue n.13 (Dec 2009-Feb 2010)

ART CONTEMPORAIN section, Regards-Les Paysages de la Ville, Jérémie Thircuir


Se détachant du réel, Cao Fei sous l’avatar de “China Tracy” qui avec sa RMB City créée sur Second Life intègre la ville dans une complète virtualité. Intégrant nombre d’ éléments et monuments chinois, la ville se veut à la fois oeuvre et plate-forme de création pour l’artiste qui y situe la majorité de ses travaux: vidéos, expositions…

Blog,Media Center,Press,Press Coverage — Gianna Yebut, @ 12:48 am

FlashArt, Jan 2010 on ‘RMB City Opera’

Flash Art_grab shot

A Dramatic “Second Life” for Cao Fei, Davide Quadrio
FlashArt, International Edition, Vol. XLIII, No. 270
January-February 2010

As part of Artissima 16 Theater project “Blinding the Ears”, Arthub invited Chinese artist Cao Fei to develop her project “RMB City” –an experimental city and community on the Internet- in a live performance, where she continued her investigation into digital fantasyscapes and the physical world.

DAVIDE QUADRIO: Why did you use Yang Ban xi as a source of inspiration for this opera?
CAO FEI: I was fascinated by how Yang Ban Xi constructed a language of “control”, both of movement and politically charged gestures. I wanted to compare this to other ways in which contemporary social and economic systems actually control us. I thought that yang Ban Xi was a great way for communicating the universal principle of social control that also characterizes the consumerist society that “RMB City” represents and destroys at the same time.
DQ: Does “RMB City” describea world of the possible future?
CF: Second Life was created in the last century. AS Hu Fang said, “RMB City” is more connected to the idea of the past/future, both in its aesthetics and representations where buildings, elements and structures are sort of “remains” of the recent past/present time. In the video making of RMB City you can see the city while it is being built, with all the buildings that represent cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai, or other aspects of material culture that made China, my country, such a syncretic experimental place.
DQ: Picking up on this, what are the inspirations for your creations in “RMB City” and particularly for this new opera?
CF: I used high and low culture. Pop culture is what I experienced in the ‘90s and pop music is indeed so universal as to efficiently reach everybody. Of course I am able to combine it with complicated narratives that I build in the virtual stage. RMB City Opera is not based on cartoon animation but real recorded interactions between the characters appearing both in the virtual and physical stages. The huge images projected on stage filled all the space, and yet the two actors physically present were sometimes the center and sometimes the background of the action.
DQ: Is this opera a new chapter of possible experimentation for “RMB City”?
CF: When we started working on this project I was unsure about how to “transport” the density of “RMB City” to the stage. I thought this was going to be a very intriguing experience, and we will see if this interaction between different realities can progress.

Blog,Media Center,Press,Press Coverage — Gianna Yebut, January 27, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

Cao Fei’s talk at UCCA



January 30, 2010 16:30-18:00


UCCA Auditorium



For more info see UCCA website:

Blog,Events,Media Center,News,RL Events — Gianna Yebut, January 24, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

RMB City 1st Anniversary-RL Party


After the official celebrations hosted in SL last January 10, 2010, RMB City opened up the Real Life space of its Beijing brand new office and shared with colleagues and friends the real side of its virtual existence.


The whole team, together with colleagues and friends, raised the glass to one year of great success and exciting projects.


We have crossed the boundaries of time and space, of real and virtual spaces and different forms of art.

We have attended the birth of SL baby China Sun, mused on and reacted to the difficult economical times.

We have staged the story of an all together ancient and cosmopolitan Eastern world and opened up to the distorted sounds of globalization.

We have danced ancient Chinese ballets and experienced the arrival of extra-terrestrials, studied the arcane language of Feng Shui philosophy and bargained fake worlds and utopias.

It is now time to THANK YOU ALL! RMB City is your city, too. Stay tuned and join us in our new 2010 virtual experience!

Blog,Events,Media Center,News,RL Events — Gianna Yebut, January 22, 2010 @ 12:39 am

4th Mayor speech and RMB City Code announcement


Last Sunday January 10th RMB City celebrated its 1st Anniversary.

Here’s what Erica Dubach said in her first official speech as mayor of our community:

Congratulations to the team for the incredible island, the incredible experience and congratulations for reaching the 1st Anniversary, half time of the whole project. I have an incredible admiration for the work that Cao Fei and all of you have done here: you’re really working at the frontier of digital Art and this is why I’m so excited to be mayor, because I think that what you’re doing is absolutely groundbreaking. You are exploring a new technology that deserves a lot of credit and you’re doing it with unbelievable creativity and energy and you have my admiration. The reason I accepted the request to be mayor is because I believe that this technology has a great future I think Second Life and what you’re doing here is the way that people will interact in the future on the Internet and I would like to take a moment to explain what I mean and put in context what I think your work means.
I think that SL is the best example of a virtual world and its potential, there are many of them out there, about 150 to 200 different virtual worlds but SL allows an explosion of creativity that has not been seen in other worlds in the same way so what this means is that SL is very large and very active. For example, if you measure the transactions SL is the 175th largest city in the world, the largest country in the world and every single day ¼ of a million objects are Beijing produced by the residents such as you, so this means also for anybody visiting it that they have just this incredible richness of an experience. This island here and what you’ve done here is one of the best examples of this. What’s happening in the Internet in parallel, not just in SL but if you’re looking at Google Maps or Google Earth, for example, is that there is more and more emphasis on 3 dimensional work, recreating buildings and having people walk through this buildings. There’re also more and more opportunities for people to interact with each other on social networks, like Facebook, and people are having more and more interconnecting levels with different avatars and personalities; you can shop today for clothing on line and you have an avatar. I firmly believe that these two trends are going to convert and what you’re doing today in SL is learning about what digital Art means in an art form that will only expand in the future. So these two technologies are really coming together in a way that is important. This is why I think what you’re doing needs to have as much visibility as possible. I think what I’d like to do as a mayor is to connect these two trends , as a mayor I would love to have this city to be visited by as many as possible. So instead of building something else in addition onto this island, I would love to have people go through this space, RMB City, and really see it for what it is. So… as mayor, I would like to announce that we would like to combine the two worlds of the SL and the people outside by inviting people onto the RMB City Code, which is a treasure hunt through the city, there will be codes throughout the city, there’s a story and ancient mystery to be unfolded and in the end the person who can unlock the code will receive a special mysterious object and will be able to understand the city better. I’m looking forward tremendously to working with you for this next three months. Thank you



Following Erica’s exciting speech RMB City announced the upcoming ‘RMB City Code’ game:

RMB City staff and the new mayor E3A Digital are glad to disclose a new enthralling and arcane project: RMB City Code, the new intriguing ‘SL decoding game’ in RMB City and the first project of our mayor’s agenda
An inedited ancient story is to be revealed next February in RMB City. A mystery has to be unfolded, a puzzle to be solved, the quest is hard and the price unexpected. You will get to discover the city in order to disentangle the riddle, you will touch the dirt and the opulence of RMB City…
Open up your eyes and come to explore the island as you’ve never done before! As mechanized robots numbed by daily routines and everyday gestures, we pass by places and towns without grasping the small hidden details and uncommon treasures anymore. This is a game for those who want to start ‘seeing’ with new eyes, for newbies and old acquaintances who want to (re)discover the ‘legend’ of RMB City. Look for signs and get immersed into an ancient tale of Chinese mystery, the best explorer will be awarded with an unexpected precious prize…
Dear avatars, you will find yourself immersed in a complicated secret that will keep you involved until its final solution, you won’t be able to avoid it, the city and the mystery won’t let you go until the very end…
The end is just the beginning of another journey…we’ll all wait for you to discover the mystery of this code and experience RMB City with us

After the official announcements and the presentation of the the new marketplace we all broke out into dance with our most affectionate friends, a gorgeous China Tracy in her specal Viktor & Rolf dress and baby China Sun.




Blog,Events,Media Center,News,Press Releases,Projects,Second Life,Shop,SL Events,SL Products — Gianna Yebut, January 14, 2010 @ 12:02 am

RMB City at dusk – Looking towards the future


Blog — Gianna Yebut, January 7, 2010 @ 1:14 am

Art iT on RMb City 1st Anniversary

ARTiT_RMB 1st ANniversary_shot

Media Center,Press Coverage — Gianna Yebut, January 6, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

RMB City’s One-Year Anniversary

January 10, 2010. 12 am SL time / 4 pm Beijing time. People’s Marketplace (RMB City 1 205, 53, 66) )


RMB City invites you to a special gathering on January 10th, 2010, at 12 am SL time, 4 pm Beijing time. The location? The brand new People’s Marketplace (RMB City 1 205, 53, 66 (Mature)). The occasion? RMB City’s first birthday, and the inauguration of its fourth mayor, Erica Dubach, aka E3a Digital. A special announcement about an exciting new mission, the RMB City Code, also awaits.

Come and join China Tracy and the newborn China Sun in the stalls of our new bazaar. Buy a new costume for your avatar. Watch the dancers of RMB City Opera perform their revolutionary choreography. Last but not least, come to hail E3a, our new captain in chief, as she speaks to us about the increasing relevance of our virtual world.

Erica Dubach E3A Digital, Fourth Mayor of RMB City:
Born in 1969 in Switzerland, Erica Dubach travels the digital world in search of the new and interesting, both professionally and personally. As E3a Digital in Second Life, she has connected the virtual world to the real world using RFID technology. RMB City is destined to achieve the same leap in the context of art. As Erica in Real Life, she is a PhD candidate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH Zürich) since February 2007, and a senior researcher in the Auto-ID Lab University of St. Gallen / ETH Zürich since February 2009.

RMB City Code, a SL decoding game, Coming Feb 2010

Announcing Mayor E3A Digital’s first project, RMB City code.
A series of codes have been planted in RMB City, where the mystery of an ancient story is waiting to be discovered. You may embark upon different experiences to try to crack them. The moment you unfurl the web, you will revel in an unexpected surprise…….

The New York Times-Art&Design

The New York Times, Art & Design
Published: December 31, 2009

Snapz Pro XScreenSnapz003

Make Room for Video, Performance and Paint

SINCE the 1970s people have perennially complained that while the number of artists keeps rising, the number of good ones remains the same. Many of us have nodded in agreement to curtail yet another lament that the good old days were better. But let’s do the math; the odds are very much against this equation

Over the past decade the number of artists has indeed continued to increase, but so has the tally of good ones. The years 2000 to 2009 saw the emergence of a tremendous number of really good, interesting, promising artists. They came from around the world and every demographic, working in every medium.

This was inevitable. There is now officially more of everything. Why should good art be exempt? The increased number of art schools and art students has upped the number of people determined to be artists. The globalization of art has increased the chances for visibility and market support. Various liberation movements — concerning race, gender, nationality and sexual orientation — have continued to have effect, adding participants, energy, traditions and subject matter, meeting and making new challenges.

From where I stand — which is very often in some sort of New York art gallery — the decade had a high yield of impressive debuts, along with some debutlike second shows, stirring game changers (Carroll Dunham’s latest show at Gladstone) and comebacks (Nicole Eisenman’s at Leo Koenig). And since I didn’t see every show that occurred on the planet, I can only think that nearly as many good artists made their presences felt elsewhere and have not yet passed through the New York portion of the art-world pipeline.

This situation was impressed upon me by the humbling number of unknowns in the no-frills “ ‘Younger Than Jesus’ Art Directory,” in which the New Museum published the work of the 540 artists considered for their first triennial — of which about 50 were selected for the actual show. As important as the show itself, this publication gave a new transparency to the selection process; it may contain a better show than the one chosen and could serve as a sourcebook for future exhibitions.

For proof that the last decade has been a great time for art, forget about auctions and copycat collectors. Open your personal image bank of memories, study it through a wide-angle lens and see what comes up. (The Internet of course aids greatly in the process; many galleries lavishly document their exhibitions.)

Some high points I remember or revisited online include the black-gray-and-white taped floor of Jim Lambie’s debut at the Anton Kern Gallery (then in SoHo) and the makeshift greenhouse in Peter Coffin’s first show at the Andrew Kreps. At Zach Feuer (or its predecessor, LFL), there were: the spongy nose picker among Dana Schutz’s early paintings, Tamy Ben-Tor’s spot-on video evocations of sundry female stereotypes and Nathalie Djurberg’s hilarious video animations of humanity’s dark side. The free-spirited Klara Liden arrived from Sweden, dancing (in video) in a trolley car at Reena Spaulings, a space that Josh Smith also filled with barstools as paintings.

Urs Fischer’s first hole in a wall (on this side of the Atlantic, at least) breezed through the old Gavin Brown’s enterprise on West 15th Street, and Cao Fei’s sci-fi photographs introduced slightly deranged action-figure devotees at Lombard-Freid.

Nalini Malani’s evocations of Indian deities at Bose Pacia were memorable for their diaphanous effects and simple hardware. Tauba Auerbach’s optical, letter-based abstractions at Deitch Projects compelled double and triple takes. Shinique Smith’s towering bales of recycled garments and fabrics revealed geologies of thrift-shop detritus at the Proposition. The Marian Goodman Gallery added Rineke Dijkstra’s “Buzzclub,” a mesmerizing video portrait of clubgoing adolescents; Pierre Huyghe’s “Third Memory,” an eerie video-installation evocation of the real story — and man — behind the 1975 Sidney Lumet movie “Dog Day Afternoon”; and Anri Sala’s video “Dammi I Colori,” which showed his shell-shocked hometown Tirana, Albania, rising from the ashes with Modernist primary colors.

Other striking video debuts included Aïda Ruilova’s percussive Goth vignettes at Salon 94, and, most recently, Mary Reid Kelley’s vibrant grisaille conflations of painting, book illustration, Dada performance and sea chanteys at Fredericks & Freiser.

Other mediums or styles were resuscitated with conviction to spare. Ellen Altfest’s debut at Bellwether, Karel Funk’s at 303 and Josephine Halvorson’s at Monya Rowe (still up) were among several to perform this service for realist painting. Sterling Ruby at Foxy Production, Jessica Jackson Hutchins at Derek Eller and William J. O’Brien at Marianne Boesky treated ceramics as just another medium, no big deal. At ATM, Huma Bhabha took figurative sculpture back to its ancient origins. In a group show at the SculptureCenter, Leslie Hewitt signaled a new phase in postconceptual sculpture and a more oblique approach to the subject of race. The Japanese artist Misaki Kawai dominated one of Kenny Schachter’s intrepid group shows with a large, determinedly not cute treehouse fashioned from cardboard and fabric and populated by decadent glam rockers, or something close.

For every incident here, there are probably four more equally deserving mention, among them Christof Büchel’s elaborate architectural intervention at Maccarone and Ryan Trecartin’s hyperkinetic, color-saturated coming-out saga “Family Finds Entertainment,” seen at the New York Underground Film Festival in 2005 and the Whitney Biennial in 2006 (albeit on a tiny monitor, one of the decade’s dumber curatorial moves). Even before art performances became as ubiquitous as photography, I remember Jamie Isenstein doing a soft-shoe with a skeleton at Guild & Greyshkul and Rachel Mason’s wobbly voice and acoustic guitar giving her own insistent update on folk music at the Alona Kagan Gallery.

Not only are there scores of interesting artists, they are working on all fronts, including some new ones. The number of mediums has expanded, thanks to the continued development of aspects of postminimalism — especially video and performance — and the rise of digital technology and the Internet. So has the ingenuity with which artists fragment and mix these mediums. The ways of being an artist — from membership in an anonymous collective with satire, social improvement or both on its group mind, to entrepreneurial mega-stardom — have also multiplied.

All this has moved beyond the simpler days of art movements, trends and warring claims for the supremacy of one medium or another. If it seems otherwise, you’re not looking hard enough or without blinkers. To beat a dead horse: even painting remains very much alive. It is a language that is too complex, widely spoken and beloved to expire, but you can bet it is changing all the time.

Finally, what might be called the liberation of art history that began in the 1970s has continued; new knowledge about and approaches to nonwestern, decorative, popular, folk and applied art forms have been grafted onto what was once called the master narrative. It is now a tree with many strong branches that gives us more to think about and greatly increases the kinds of visual culture and models of creativity that can inspire artists.

The lack of reassuring simplification means that we are experiencing the present in a fuller, less blinkered way. We can now see that most art begins in plurality, even if it is temporarily neatened into movements by artists, critics and art historians. Thus, as it was being made, New York art in the 1940s included Jackson Pollock and Janet Sobel (whose dripped paint influenced Pollock) and Steve Wheeler (a so-called “Indian Space” painter who hated the phrase but worked small and tight in a time of Abstract Expressionist expansiveness). For a few decades all you saw was Pollock. Now Sobel and Wheeler are back in the historical picture.

In all, we are confronted with the distinct possibility that quantity and quality may not be so mutually exclusive after all. More means more better.

Blog,Media Center,Press Coverage — Gianna Yebut, January 4, 2010 @ 9:11 pm