Curator‘s Comments

The Birth of RMB Cityby young Beijing-based artist Cao Fei is an animated video of the “construction” of a virtual city named after the Chinese unit of currency (RMB/Renminbi). The video is a cutting-edge example of art associated with the Internet, where RMB City currently exists as a virtual and interactive community on the Second Life platform. Working with Vitamin Creative Space, Cao Fei constructed her city as an amalgamation of old and new Asian architectural landmarks, including the People’s Palace (Beijing), Rem Koolhaas’s CCTV building (Beijing), the “Bird’s Nest” stadium from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, and Jiang Huan Cheng’s Oriental Pearl Tower (Shanghai), among others. She envisioned her project as “an experiment exploring the creative relationship between real and virtual space and … [reflecting] China’s urban and cultural explosion.”

Cao Fei, with Vitamin Creative Space. Chinese, born Guangzhou, born 1978

The Birth of RMB City, 2009

Single channel color video with sound, duration: 10.5 minutes

Gift of the Contemporary Associates, Smith College Museum of Art