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

Recipe of the day: to build up a city you need…


What makes people live, die and even kill in the name of a Nation? How does Benedict Anderson theories of ‘imagined communities’ apply to a virtual world? RMB City and other SL realities need to be founded as RL cities are, or do they apply to a different logic of existence, balance and survival?

I don’t know the answers to these questions and I think it all depends on the needs and goals of any different virtual project…RMB City could become a showcase for artists and creative minds to show off their talents, it could be a stage for different trade and commercial activities, it could attract interests and provoke indifference but I personally still think that RMB City, as its own name registers, needs to be thought as a real, anthropological entity made of citizens sharing some common principles, faith and expectations and consequently still needs some essential elements to be laid for its stable foundation.

The birth of a new city and a new civilization must be built on something more than the mere defence from a common enemy or the mutual exchange of goods and services, and this is especially true in the case of virtual realities where you don’t normally need to bother about external threatens or perilous dangers. This is exactly the point: what brings people together if there is no fear and no need for self-conservation? Behind a virtual world’s artificiality there are real men, there are ideas, there are dreams and expectations that could turn out to be interesting and valuable in the construction of any kind of community. We should therefore find the proper ‘ingredients’ to build up this new community; this is particularly important in the modern multicultural context, where cultures and identities get lost in the huge macrocosm of globalization and it is also specifically urgent in contemporary China, a place of thousand-year traditions whose past has partially been erased from history books, though.
From this perspective, RMB City could also be used as an opportunity for contemporary China to redeem itself from the obscurantism of the past and start writing its alternative history anew.

If it is possible, this is my fundamental ‘recipe’ for the making of a new society:

a big handful of fantasy
three grains of Ancient M
yth (cosmogony, fratricidal fights and semidivine nature of the founder), three grains of Modern Myth (Childhood-as-Poet, Marylin Monroe, Libertė-Egalitė-Fraternitė)
a patron saint to whom pay homage every festivity
a past and a future
a founding text
a common language (what about sign language)?
a handful of utopic desires
a spoonful of transgression (useful to any society to regenerate itself)
a slice of sociality and free exchange of opinions
a copy of ‘The Noble Savage’ by Rousseau to believe (naïvely) in human goodness
a copy of Hobbes’ ‘Leviathan’ to keep in mind our animal nature: bellum omnium contra omnes
the complete edition of ‘Lost’ tv series for fun and as a modern reinterpretation of ancient myths and superstitions

Suggestions and new recipes are warmly welcomed.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, May 25, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

Money, faith and Chinese medical remedies: experience the new ‘People’s Limbo’ projects!



In adverse times of economical and social tribulations we can either complain and grieve over our dramatic fate or we can dust ourselves off and use the secret weapon of irony and playfulness in response.

I chose the second option and flew towards the first location of new RMB City project ‘People’s Limbo’: the Bank of China tower, also called ‘People’s Bank’.
Still crackling with enthusiasm in the outside area for the recent ordination of our new Mayor, its interior displays a highly intense icastic figure of faith and spiritualism: a huge golden statue of the virgin Mary ‘mapped’ on its surface with a sort of acupuncture web. The ten points drawn in the map actually relate to every single project of ‘People’s Limbo’ and by running the mouse over each point one gets teleported to a different related scene.
This mysterious place wanted to tell me something, I’m sure of that but still uncertain is the answer…inside its golden shining walls I expected to find cash and cheques but there’s only this enigmatic figure of Christianity enwrapped in Chinese traditional believes….I’m sure this is a message: should I count on faith and believe God will find a way out of this uncertain situation or should I find better answers in Chinese medical philosophy and re-equilibrate my interior harmony?

My life is in limbo and I’m waiting for some answers.
Any utopia demands for some sacrifices and any rebirth needs a process of purification…I’m waiting to experience the next step of ‘People’s Limbo’ to get some more clues on the solution.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, May 20, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

Immortal Art? Support the ‘Will your work’ initiative!


‘Art is man’s distinctly human way of fighting death’ says the American painter and sculptor Leonard Baskin; this post is to sustain the immortality of Art and specifically to suscribe to Bettina Tizzy’s proposal of establishing one day to encourage content creators to “Will your work”. This is her proposal:

About two weeks ago, virtual artist Vanfarel Kupfer died. Had he not left copies of most of his work (no trans, no mod) with his virtual girl friend, Native Aeon, his only legacy would be what is currently rezzed today.
Avatars in Second Life devote thousands of hours to creating content, and all that work is LOST when they die. Yes, even if they backed up that work by giving it to an alt. Even if they gave their account password to someone. When you die and unless you have taken appropriate measures, no one, not even Linden Lab, can legally access your work. It is simply lost forever.
I have been in communication with Linden Lab regarding the correct procedure for “willing” one’s artwork – or for that matter, any assets – in SL. Legally, the correct and ONLY procedure boils down to this:

In a nutshell, I propose that we establish one day a year, May 18, to encouraging content creators to “Will your Work.”
The goal would be to celebrate Van’s art while at the same time encouraging people to either give copies of their work to one or more avatars (not their alts) whom they trust, or add them to their Real Life will.
Also on May 18 and for one week, and working with his beloved Native Aeon, Vanfarel Kupfer’s work will be exhibited at four locations: his former home sim, EnLuminaria, the Crescent Moon Gallery, the Blackwater Gallery, and Chakryn Forest. Understandably, Native is still very much in mourning over her loss, and when I asked her how I could help, she stated that her greatest wish is that Vanfarel’s work become known throughout the grid. So be it.’

I would like to sustain Bettina’s proposal and maybe ask our fellow bloggers and visitors of RMB City website to leave a comment on the tricky issue of the immortality of virtual art and pay homage to Kupfer’s work.
As for myself, I totally agree with the general idea of living wills (as I actually do also in RL) but I also would like to raise a question: wouldn’t it be possible that the original intention of an artist is to let his art vanish together with himself?
Do we still have to believe in the immortality of Art (in regards to this subject I suggest the reading of the marvelous Keats’ ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’) or is it also possible to consider it as an eternal and ever-changing flux of energy and renewal?

Bettina Tizzy’s blog:

Blog — Gianna Yebut, May 14, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

Virtual reincarnations


Skipping through the huge amount of articles, manuals and essays I have been recently reading on virtual worlds and SL community, I have found out that the term ‘avatar’ is actually the Sanskrit word for ‘godly incarnation’ or ‘descent’. This is just a curiosity but still the definition strikes me as quite important.

First of all, I am wondering why, amongst all the languages of the world, Sanskrit has been chosen as the depositary of the meaning? And secondly, I am trying to think how this original definition connects to the actual concept of your-secondlife-self…

Sanskrit is an archetypal language, it has a very long history (apparently even longer than Chinese) and it is the best-preserved indo-European idiom thanks to the Veda and still nowadays one of the eighteen languages recognized by the Indian constitution. It is also of course the original language of Hinduism, religion predicating as one of its most important pillars of faith the theory of reincarnation and karma.
Both ‘samsara’ (reincarnation in Sanskrit) and ‘avatar’ are therefore specific Hindu words referring to a change or re-birth to a new (in the second case even lower) realm of existence. Is therefore your SL avatar a mere inferior replica of you real self? And most of all, do we really ‘replicate’ ourselves only through virtual worlds and role-playing games or do we maybe do it every day also in RL? Am I the exact same person in a formal business meeting at work and going karaoke night with my intimate friends?

Everybody in his everyday, ordinary life wears masks and creates social ‘avatars’ of himself in order to interact with different social situations.
With regard to this concept, I would like to suggest some readings of a famous 20th Century Nobel Prize Italian novelist and theatre writer called Luigi Pirandello and his interesting theory of the mask (

Blog — Gianna Yebut, May 10, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

Happy Buddha’s Birthday!

buddha-bdayToday is Buddha’s Birthday. The proper name for this annual celebration is “Vesak”, which is the Sinhalese word for the Sanskrit name “Vaisakha”. Vesak actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment (or Nirvana), and passing of Gautama Buddha. The Buddha explains Nirvana as “the highest happiness”. This happiness is an enduring, transcendental happiness integral to the calmness attained through enlightment, rather than the happiness derived from impermanent things.

In today’s turbulent world, may we all be protected and blessed as we celebrate the annual Vesak, and derive true happiness from calmness and enlightment.

AlanLau Nirvana (Mayor, RMB City, April-June 2009)

Blog — AlanLau Nirvana, May 1, 2009 @ 10:06 am

Literary constructions



While still exercising my avatar in SL (my current mission now and for the next few days is learning how to gesticulate) I came across a sentence of a novel I’m reading in my RL which struck me because of its perfect definition of ‘heterotopy’:

‘We want here, we want now, we want the Island, but we also want magic. We want our Visitors to feel that they passed through a mirror –regarding this Carrollian reference I’ve also posted a pic of me in a SL Alice’s Wonderland– that they have left their own worlds and entered a new one, different yet strangely familiar, where things are not done as in other parts of the inhabited planet, but as if in a rare dream’ (Julian Barnes, England England, 2008, London: Vintage, p.120)

This is a science fictional novel about the construction of a giant amusement park that duplicates the tourist spots of England and should represent the authentic ‘Englishness’ of the country. It is an enjoyable book, a discussion and parody on the invention of cultural tradition and on the questionable notion of historical authenticity.
Does RMBCity with its symbolical buildings and spots represent the authentic ‘Chineseness’ of the Republic, should it actually do it, how does it connect to real China and how more constructed than reality is it (if it is at all)? I leave all these questions open to discussion and in the meantime go back to my new SL clumsy attempts of gesticulation.

Blog — Gianna Yebut, April 27, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

Our New Mayor’s Speech!




Last Saturday (Beijing Time), RMB City’s new mayor AlanLau Nirvana (RL: Alan Lau) gave his speech about his STIMULUS PACKAGE :


“The time for talk is over, the time for action is now”
The RMB City Stimulus Package

To the people of RMB City. Thank you for choosing me as your second Mayor. We have a huge task ahead of us. That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. This isn’t some abstract debate. Thousands are losing their jobs, people are not spending, and our streets and buildings are deserted. Excess and greed have taken us here. There is a sapping of confidence across our land; fear that our decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.
We must now act on a broad stimulus package to bring prosperity back to RMB City and its avatar citizens. We need to create a harmonious society, where new collaborative programs will stimulate our citizen’s minds, and where fast growth will be complemented by slow dreams.
The time for talk is over. The time for action is now! Let us learn our lesson: continue your excesses, not on borrowing and spending, but on dreams and ideas instead!
The stimulus package I am proposing has 3 parts: create jobs, offer aid to those who need it the most, and stimulate the minds of our fellow avatar citizens.

Job creation. The idea is simple: let’s put our citizens to work doing the work that RMB City needs to get done. I am calling on all bankers, hedge fund managers, and those who lost their jobs in the crisis, to come join me in constructing new monuments and recreating our ancestor’s grandeurs. Think big! And add to the already impressive cityscape of RMB City. Senators, I ask that you approve the funding to support this much-needed infrastructure spending.
Financial/housing aid. We need to offer immediate relief for struggling avatars under the crisis. Today, I signed a memorandum requesting the People’s Bank to give out Linden dollar to support those in need. This is part of the TARP program that I have outlined before in my campaign. Each citizen is entitled to L$10. We want you to go spend in SL, and stimulate the economy! In return, we ask that you tell us how you will spend the money, so that we understand your desires, hopes, and dreams, so we can plan for a better city in the future for you.
The housing bubble in SL has prevented many from building their own homes. Openspaces price has gone by 50%. And Mainland remains prohibitively expensive for many. We at RMB City welcome you to come set up your homes in People’s Neo Village, where you can take temporary refuge.

Mind stimulus. Our citizens’ minds are no less creative and are not yearning for less than when this crisis began. We need to keep our fellow citizens engaged, and let tourists see RMB City as SL’s leading creative and cultural hub. I am calling on SL’s best performers to come show your talent in our city. I propose to follow through on the plan laid out by our first Mayor, UliSigg Cisse, to host the “RMB City Super Avatar” contest. Come, and we will offer RMB City as your theatrical stage to show us your best to millions in SL.

Inaction is not an option that is acceptable to me and it’s certainly not acceptable to the people of RMB City – not on jobs, not on aid to those who need it, not on mind stimulus; not at this critical moment.
So I am calling on all Senators to rise to this moment. No plan is perfect. But the scale and the scope of this plan is the right one. Today, we begin in earnest the work of making sure the world we leave our next generation of avatars is just a little bit better than the one we inhibit today.
We have duties to ourselves, our city and the world; duties that are challenging but that define our character. This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
I am eager to work with all of you as we stand up to meet the challenge. That’s what the people of RMB City are looking for. That’s what I believe we can deliver to our avatar citizens, and the generation to come in the future. Thank you.

Blog — Nokan Vlodovic, April 26, 2009 @ 11:33 pm
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