sabato 15 novembre 2008

NO LAB in RMB City

“NO LAB in RMB City”
Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) + MAP OFFICE (Gutierrez + Portefaix)

Sto visitando una istallazione straordinaria di Cao Fei (China Tracy in SL) + MAP OFFICE.

Mi trovo dentro un paesaggio innevato, di un biancore quasi accecante, nel quale sono disegnati alberi, case, ponti, c'è pure un Barack Obama che invita a fare una donazione, quasi come mi trovassi dentro un disegno fatto a carbonicino. Non "come se", SONO dentro un disegno a carboncino, le cui texture sono state importate in sl e in 3D. Meraviglioso!
Un cartello mi suggerisce "What Happens Here, Stays Here". Presto mi accorgo cosa vuole significare! All'improvviso vedo soffici nuvole nere incombere sopra di me e il manto nevoso diventare acqua limpida, che in un attimo si trasforma in onde altissime che mi avvolgono insieme al paesaggio circostante.
Traduco dalla nota esplicativa:
Una visione surreale di New Orleans, basata su ricerche e disegni di MAP OFFICE, riguardanti il post-Katrina. Questa di NO LAB è una indagine analoga nel paesaggio (fisico, culturale, storico) di questa città unica al mondo.


Ecco una nota dell'autrice:

“NO LAB in RMB City” is a new collaboration between Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) and MAP OFFICE created for Prospect.1 New Orleans, the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States. A special section of Cao Fei’s RMB City, a virtual art community under construction in Second Life, has been transformed into a stark, surreal vision of New Orleans. Based on MAP OFFICE’s research and drawings about post-Katrina New Orleans, the NO LAB parcel of land is a similar investigation into the landscape (physical, cultural, historic) of this unique city.

In Real Life, an iconic “carnival cart” designed by MAP OFFICE will display drawings, photographs and research materials, as well as a video and live projection of NO LAB in RMB City and computer terminals for public access. Inside Second Life, visitors (via avatars) can wander among the virtual shotgun houses and oak trees, and even drive a carnival cart through the empty streets, while encountering figures like Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama and Waiting for Godot’s Pozzo and Estragon (in homage to Paul Chan's reenactment of Samuel Beckett's play in the Lower Ninth Ward). Of course, they will also experience a virtual storm that floods the entire land, and then recedes again, in an endless cycle…

Though distinct from the rest of RMB City by its striking black-and-white style (rendered by noted Second Life builder Sinewave Company), NO LAB is similarly a space for public interaction and dialogue. Though the full city is still under construction (opening in late 2008), avatars may also visit the Preview Center and the People’s Worksite to learn more about the city. Come visit NO LAB in Second Life and in New Orleans itself, to witness and participate in this ongoing discussion about urban space, society, and the trauma/drama of change.

NO LAB in RMB City: Movin’ on Up!

In Real Life: Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
In Second Life: RMB City: New Orleans, RMB City 2 (96, 170, 31)

Supported by Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou, China) and Lombard-Freid Projects(NewYork, USA)
NO LAB in RMB City Builder: Sinewave Company (UK)

About RMB City:

RMB City is a virtual art community in the online world of Second Life, initiated by Beijing artist Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) as a public platform for creativity. Opening in late 2008, it will continue to grow and change over its two-year run, with the participation and support of leading international art institutions and networks. The city is a laboratory for experiments in art, design, architecture, literature, cinema, economy, society, and beyond.

For more information, please contact:

Developer of RMB City: Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) and Vitamin Creative Space
Facilitator: Uli Sigg
Public Presenter: Serpentine Gallery (London)

Planning/Promotion Phase: December 2007- July 2008
Construction Phase: July- Fall 2008
Open City: Late 2008-Fall 2010

Artist Bios:

Cao Fei (SL: China Tracy) (

Born 1978, Guangzhou/Lives and works in Beijing, China
Known for her multimedia installations and videos, Cao Fei is acknowledged as one of the key young artists emerging from Mainland China. She mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works comment on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in all facets of Chinese society.

MAP OFFICE (Gutierrez + Portefaix) (

MAP OFFICE is an interdisciplinary design and research platform conceived by Laurent Gutierrez (1966, Casablanca) and Valérie Portefaix (1969, Saint-Etienne). Based in Hong Kong since 1996, both epitomize a new breed of architects who are rethinking the socio-political agencies of architecture. Their projects focus on territorial strategies of global spaces, involving a critical analysis of spatial and temporal anomalies and documentation of the ways in which human beings subvert and appropriate spaces for their own uses. A sense of play exists in much of their collaborative work, through a practice including text, drawing, photography, video and the creation of new platforms of communication.

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