Lily & Honglei 杨熙瑛,李宏磊

Table of Contents

Project 1. "Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China"

Project 2. "Land of Illusion"
project overview

I. Trace - cultural meditations in Cyber Chinese Garden

II. Hundred  Schools  of  Thought - performing in virtual world

III. The  Sunken  City - virtual  environment concerning cultural  heritage  losses at  Three  Gorges

IV. “Celebration!” - virtual  installation reflecting 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and Beijing Olympic Game

V. Monument 08 - Lunar New Year Event

VI. The Paradise of the Assassins

Appendix. Cyber Museum of Contemporary Art - Land of Illusion as a multifunctional space

Exhibitions & Publications

Blog Posts of Project Background

- Grand View Garden virtual architecture Part I, Part II

- Paradise of the Assassins online performance Part I, PartII

- Hundred Schools of Thought online performance Part I, Part II, Part III

- Lunar New Year Event project Part I, Part II, Part III

- Performing in Second Life at Eyebeam Art & Technology Center Part I, Part II, Part III

- Peach Blossom Shangeri-la project Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V

- Journey to the West project Part I, Part II, Part III

- Great Fire Wall and Sunken City

- Land of Illusion innovative Exhibitions:
* Cyber MoCA,
* TransForm International New Media Exhibition,
* Installation in Monash University,
* Installation in American Library Association

Other Links

Influences & Inspirations

Grant View Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

............................................

 

 

 

 

2010-present

A Project of Creative Capital

Shadow Play:
Tales of Urbanization of China

(by Lily X. Yang, He Li, Honglei Li)

The VR installation Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China creates an opportunity for the audience to experience the changing landscapes of contemporary China. In four chapters, virtual installation sheds light upon real-life incidents such as clashes during land evictions resulting from urban expansion, children abductions, suicides of migrant workers, and predicaments involving the cultural and environmental degradation.

A multi-year project, Shadow Play remains in progress. Watch slides video below or visit project website for more details: http://lilyhonglei.com/shadowplay2


Shadow Play became part of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University in 2014. For more info, please visit the project that is on view via NRPA website: http://turbulence.org/Works/shadowplay/

The project "Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China" receives support from Creative Capital, New Radio and Performing Art (NRPA) INC's net-art commission, Queens Council on the Arts in New York.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2006-2010

Land of Illusion
- Reconstituting History and Culture in Online Virtual World

Utilizing digital 3D environment and online performance, Land of Illusion reconstitutes Chinese history and culture, collapses past, present, and future into an amalgamation reflecting on relevant issues in China. The work interweaves Chinese folkloric traditions and globalization, superimposes its glorious past and elements from its chaotic and contradictory present to compose a multi-layered tale about free thinking. From the Great Firewall to the Sunken City near Three Gorges Dam, from the silenced Chinese girl to Butterfly Dream of Zhuang Tzu, the work uses visual metaphors to point to current social problems.

The video documentation of Land of Illusion is viewable at:
www.lilyhonglei.com/landofillusion_movie/

click to see larger images

Land of Illusion is consisted of following online performances and installations developed during 2006 to 2009:

I. Trace - cultural meditations in Cyber Chinese Garden
Medium: Digital video, Online virtual world environment and performance, soundtrack.
Video Running Time: 7 minutes. Year of completion: 2006 - 2009. Size: varied.

Project collaborators: Daniel Shanks, Bill He Li
The video Trace is based on cyber Chinese garden environment haunted with ancient spirits. It visualizes Derrida’s notion, “The trace is not a presence but is rather the simulacrum of a presence that dislocates, displaces, and refers beyond itself.” In the beginning, Daiyu, the protagonist of Chinese classical novel Dream of the Red Chamber, is setting off from her room. Carrying her flower-hoe and basket, she intends to collect fallen petals and bury them in the garden in a late Spring day (figure 1). She wanders through the Peony Pavilion and West Tower, gazing on the petals drifting away on the stream (figure 2). In her deep meditation, three spirits appear from dimmed, submerged zone: Ji Kang (figure 3) is playing Song of Guang Ling before being decapitated for offending officials; Mi Heng (figure 4) is beating the drum while cursing the then Prime Minister and his aides; under the wall, Mengjiang is morning his husband who died during construction of The Great Wall of Emperor Qin. Through the mental process of ‘lamenting, seeking, meditating and expressing,’ Trace brings the spirit of these historic figures embodying free-thinking and expression in Chinese history to a global audience. [View Video Excerpt]

click to see larger images
Trace_screenshot1_LilyHonglei figure 1
Trace_screenshot2_lilyhonglei figure 2
Hundred School_lilyhongleifigure 3
Trace_screenshot3_lilyhonglei figure 4

back to top
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Hundred  Schools  of  Thought - performing in virtual world
Medium: digital video, online virtual world application (Second Life), soundtrack.
Completion year: 2008-2009. Size: varied
Project collaborator: Daniel Shanks, Scott Grant, Victoria Bury (SL name), Bill He Li

Utilizing online virtual world application, the work reflects Hundred Schools of Thought, the important cultural, social and political phenomenon occurring from Spring and Autumn to Warring States Period in ancient China. Our online performance stages how the scholars present their views freely, voice opposition or offer constructive proposal. The video highlights two legends of Hundred Schools of Thought (figure 5), including Han Fei Tzu’s theory of Power, visualized through confrontation between people and dragon, and Zhuang Tzu’s Butterfly Dream addressing the transformations of individual’s identities. Although we interpret ancient themes, our point is commenting on current issues. For instance, the girl wearing a stained mask (figure 6) recalls SARS, bird flu and censorship problems in today’s China, while the Butterfly Dream meditates on personal and cultural identities (figure 7)in context of a global society. [...more]

click to see larger images
Hundred Schools of Thought_LilyHonglei figure 5
Hundred Schools_lilyhonglei figure 6
Hundred School_lilyhonglei figure 7

back to top
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. The  Sunken  City - virtual  environment concerning cultural  heritage  losses at  Three  Gorges
Medium: Online 3D virtual world platform, soundtrack. Completion year: 2008. Size: varied
Project collaborator: Bill He Li
The Sunken City (figure 8) comments the ongoing problem about cultural heritage losses at Three Gorges. The virtual construction is a recreation of a real historic site near Three Gorges Dam that causes cultural, social and environmental threats. The ghost-like female character wandering around the inundated place refers (figure 9) to Xishi, one of the renowned Four Beauties of ancient China, who dies from drowning in a river because of her relationship with the King Fuchai. The Sunken City is built on the west of Land of Illusion virtual environment. This direction is correspond with death according to ancient Chinese correlative cosmology providing essential influence on many aspects of traditional Chinese culture.

This virtual construction also functions as a prototype of our new project Three Gorges.

click to see larger images
Sunken City_lilyhonglei figure 8
The Sunken City_lilyhonglei figure 9

back to top
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. “Celebration!” - virtual  installation reflecting 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and Beijing Olympic Game
Medium: Online 3D virtual world platform, soundtrack, Oil on paper.
Video running time: 2 minutes. Size: varied. Completion year: 2009.

The work is in memory of the student victims of Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, in context of that Investigation on the death toll of students has become a taboo in Chinese official media. Ironically, this virtual merry-go-around (figure 10) is built inside Water Cube, the swimming pool of Beijng Olympic Game held three months after the historic disaster. In the video document of the virtual environment constructed in online 3D world, the scene of collapsed schools in Sichuan is inundated by grandiose national celebration (figure 11). [View Video Document]

click to see larger images
Celebration!_lilyhonglei figure 10
Celebration!_lilyhonglei figure 11

back to top
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Monument 08 - Lunar New Year Event
Medium: Online 3D virtual world platform, soundtrack,
Video running time: 5 minutes. Size: varied. Completion year: 2009.

On the Lunar New Year Eve in January 2009, we invited online community members to experience the interactive artifacts. The Cloud Ladder is located in a giant Confucius’ Chariot landed on Great Firewall surrounding our virtual garden (figure 12). In the video, a few people almost successfully reach the top of the ladder. Flipping skillfully, a male character is ascending along the Ladder. Dropping halfway down to the sea in a sudden, he reached an unknown place in where images of crushed bodies (figure 13), crowd gathering on square, and petitioners are haunting around in the form of blood red cut-paper (figure 14). Both Cloud Ladder and Confucius Chariot symbolize Chinese intellectual’s political ambitions embodied by ‘knowing the impracticable nature of the time, and yet will be doing them.’ [View Video Document]

click to see larger images
Monument 08_lilyhonglei figure 12
Monument 08_lilyhonglei figure 13
Monument 08_lilyhonglei figure 14

back to top
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. The Paradise of the Assassins
Medium: Online 3D virtual world platform, soundtrack. Video running time: 5 minutes. Size: varied. Completion year: 2008 - 2009.
Project collaborators: Daniel Shanks, Victoria Bury (SL name), Bill He Li
The work deploys video game tactics and virtual reality technology to create an opportunity that global audience can encounter Chinese history and folktales, and achieve a deeper understanding of heroism in China, as well as its implications of pursuing justice and individualism in the particular society. Paradise of the Assassins (figure 15, 16) is designed for performing at ImageRadio New Media Art Festival in Netherlands, 2008. It is a real time event during which audience in MAD emergent art center can experience the 3D environment and interact with our team members through virtual world interface. [View Video Document]

click to see larger images
Paradise of the Assassins_lilyhonglei figure 15
Paradise of the Assassins_lilyhonglei figure 16

back to top
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix. Cyber Museum of Contemporary Art - Land of Illusion as a multifunctional space
Medium: Digital video, online 3D virtual world platform, soundtrack. Video running time: 7 minutes. Size: varied. Completion year: 2009.
Project collaborators: DSL Collection of Contemporary Chinese Art
For more information about Cyber MoCA, please click here

Video Documentation of Cyber MoCA

back to top
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Exhibitions & Publications Since 2007, Land of Illusion has been presented at: Center for Advance Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media in Boston, ImageRadio 2008 new media art festival in Netherlands, 2009 Boston Cyberart Festival, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center in New York, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts Lowell, FILE 2009 - Electronic Language International Festival in Sao Paulo, EVA 2010: Electronic Visualization and Arts Conference in London, Jamaica Flux '10 in New York, and Steinhardt School of Art at New York University, among others. The work is published by ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art, volm.18 Export China, New Media Caucus journal, vol. 05 n. 01, Spring 2009 Foreignness and Translation in New Media in Chicago, Ars Hypermedia Spring Edition 2011 in Italy, DSL Cyber MoCA Catalog supported by DSL Collection of Chinese Contemporary Art in China, and Fine Arts Film: Social Reflections in Multimedia Art published in Germany, China – Living in between Real and Unrealby Xiaoying Yuan on China Sand - Art & Science Rearch in China, name a few. Land of Illusion project video documentation now is available for viewing on DVD launched at EVA 2010: Electronic Visualization & Arts, London.

©2006 - 2011 LILY & HONGLEI. All rights reserved. For further inquiries, please contact artists.