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: Denial Shanks, Scott Grant, Victoria Bury (SL name), Bill He Li
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Utilizing Online virtual world application, the work reflects Hundred Schools of Thought that refers to 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, including Han Fei Tzu’s theory of Power visualized through confrontation between people and dragon, and Zhuang Tzu’s Butterfly Dream addressing the transforming individual identity. Although we interpret ancient themes, our point is commenting on current issues. For instance, the girl wearing a stained mask can be related to SARS, bird flu and censorship problems in today’s China, while the Butterfly Dream meditates on personal and cultural identities in context of a global society.
Project participants from China, Japan, Australia and America are encouraged to interpret the profound cultural message with their own readings. Viewers are invited to obtain an immersive experience through digital multimedia presentation giving new impetus to traditional culture. The performance takes place in Land of Illusion virtual Chinese garden developed by us since 2006. Our inspiration is the long tradition in China that scholars usually directly involve the design and construction of their private gardens, invite his friend circle consisted of officials, poets and artists, to drink and make poems sharing their insights and feelings simulated by the garden environment upon completion of the construction. This is evident in Moment in Beijing, the book written in the late 1930’s by Lin Yutang, depicting the ‘garden party’ in fact functions as a forum of global intellectuals at that time. Hundred Schools of Thought is one of the online performances created in our virtual garden.
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