Lily & Honglei 杨熙瑛,李宏磊

More about "Land of Illusion" -
Chinese Folklore & Digital Arts

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Influences

Concepts / Philosophy

Presentation

Goal

Construction

Research

Resources


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Video / Machinima

Merry Go Around by Lily & Honglei

trace - machinima by Lily & Honglei

Land of Illusion Video

Folk Art Traditions have profoundly inspired Lily & Honglei's creativity, influenced on not only the visual style of their work, but the understanding towards culture and life. (below: Cut Paper displayed in Land of Illusion )

lily & honglei - new media art from China

Lily & Honglei - Second Life Project

Lily & Honglei - Second Life project

Lily & Hongeli - Land of Illusion in Second Life

Constructions: Land of Illusion in Second Life

I. Peach Blossom Shangri-la

Lily & Honglei - New Media Art from China

II. Grand View Garden - Performance

Lily & Honglei - New Media Art of China

III. Crystal Palace (underwater city) - Installation

Lily & Honglei - New Media Art of China

IV. Great Fire Wall - Video

video of Wall & City

V. Heavenly Banquet - Installation

Lily & Honglei - New Media Art of China

VI. Red Chambers Courtyard, the virtual museum -

Summer Chamber

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Land of Illusion is an art project interpreting symbolic themes in Chinese folklore culture. By utilizing virtual world (Second Life) installation, performance, animated graphics and traditional art forms, the project reflects on relations of social environment, history, culture and individual. We believe that while the processes of development and globalization often result personal identity multilayered or misplaced, art functions to reveal the inner life and rebuild spiritual connections...

INFLUENCES back to the top
"Nothing can overcome memory , because it's ideal..." - as a kid, I happened to live in ancient Chinese architectural surroundings. My elemantary school and family's "unit," usually called "institution" in the States, was located in The Temple of Xiannong (God of farming and herbs) in south Beijing. My leisure time was spent on roaming around the giant mixture of ancient palace of Ming Dynasty and new buildings constructed during 50's to 70's. To catch crikets and dragonflies, the mysterious relics or abandoned royal gardens and temples became my playgrounds (image I).

Temple of God of Farming

Image I: a building next to my home, in The Temple of God of Farming, Beijing. 2003

It's a lively memory that at school, we had lunch in a temple with not only hundreds of people, also countless swallows and pigeons flying above our shoulders and tables; Monday mornings, we attended Flag Raising Ceremony at The Alter of God of Farming, where the emperors held annual worships during Ming and Qing Dynasty. I remember students and teachers had passionate, heroic, patriotic speeches there, and sang for the bright future of new China...

Time passed. I left. The landscape of Beijing has been radically changed. Four years ago, our dinning hall was renovated to the Architectural Museum of China. But nothing is sweeter than growing corns on the top of ancient city wall beside our apartment building with my families, or enjoying morning sunshine in the pine forest around temples... Gradually, the peacefulness, slowness of live in the old days appears more and more meaningful mixed with the freedom of inner life.

When becoming Lily Jun in Second Life, I knew the piece of virtual land, "Land of Illusion," is meant to be a manifesto that passes massages about feelings of an individual with turbulent cultural experiences, and a statement commenting on society quietly but firmly.

"Make a Chinese-scroll-painting a virtual reality and live it, ..." - I have been fascinated by the narrativity of Chinese painting since a child, not only by the elegant composition and style, but the "lives" and "stories" hidden in the scrolls (Image II), only careful scrutiny can uncover the pleasure and intention of the authors from ancient China. They lived in their painting, with those tiny, vivid characters almost unnoticeble to most audiences, dwelling or traveling through the most poetic yet realistic landscapes. This becomes my direct inspiration of "Land of Illusion," in where audience becomes visitor, even further, a residence, who is not only seeing, but living and sharing the virtual reality, or a personal "inner reality."

scroll painting by Wang Hui, Song

Image II: A portion of Wang Hui and assistants' 'The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll Seven: Wuxi to Suzhou' (1698). (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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Lily & Honglei: Peony Flower, animated ink painting (based on Ren Bonian). 2010. New York

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CONCEPT / PHILOSOPHYback to the top
The fundamental concept of Land of Illusion is to construct a symbolic digital space incorporating image, motion, text and sound to reflect on eastern philosophy (Diagram I). Land of Illusion is also designed as an online (in Second Life) forum focusing on the relationship between cultural heritage and globalization (Diagram II).

Diagram I: Philosophical / Architectural System of Land of Illusion - architectural structures are built upon ancient Chinese correlative cosmology, which teaches that the movement of the universe follows the ceaseless transformation

Philosophical System of Land of Illusion

Diagram II: An aerial view of Land of Illusion in Second Life (since 2006) - constructed based on Diagram I

lily & honglei - new media art of China

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PRESENTATIONS:back to the top
Gallery Presentation: Upon completion, audiences can experience Land of Illusion both in a gallery space and through the Internet (in Second Life). In a gallery, video/machinima based on virtual world installations and performance are presented with large-scaled projection(s) and sounds. The work is considered in the venue of "video art" although the imagery is created largely in a new world - virtual environment.

Online Presentation: Land of Illusion virtual construction include three major sections: Red Chambers Courtyard, Grand View Garden, and Crystal Palace (the underwater city) & Great Fire Wall, have been built in Second Life (Diagram II). The structure visualizes ancient Chinese correlative cosmology, which teaches that the movement of the universe follows the ceaseless transformation of yin and yang forces. In Land of Illusion, performance, animations/videos as well as sequential graphics presented are strongly inspired by eastern folk tales and art, that contribute to a visual meditation on loss of cultrual and natural heratige.

below: Performance: Paradise of the Assassins (video)

below: Performance: Hundred Schools of Thought

below: Virtuall Installation: While the interior is arranged in conventional ancient style, on the window, the piece of Cut Paper, a distinct type of Chinese folks art, reveals contemporary perspective of Chinese society. The painting and calligraphy are digital copies of Xu Wei, a Ming Chinese painter, poet and dramatist famed for his revolutionary artistic expressiveness.

Red Chamber Dream

below:Multimedia Installation: Video and painting components on view

 

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CONSTRUCTIONS:back to the top

below: West Section: Great Fire Wall & Underwater City - reflecting on cultural isolation and loss

Great Fire Wall & Underwater City

Underwater City

below: East Section: Grand View Garden - a garden in the classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber, the setting of much of the story. Being very beautiful and peaceful, it is a perfect home. When the Jia family estates are confiscated, the Garden is ransacked. Being farther from the inner apartments, it is also destroyed by the Imperial Guards.

Grand View Garden

below: Central Section: Red Chambers Courtyard - the typical Chinese architectural structure clearly reflects Taoist philosophy, a theory studies the relationships between individuality and nature. The yard is also inspired by A Dream of Red Chambers, the novel remarkable for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.

above: South Gate entrance of Courtyard

South Gate

below: Five Willows Path Leading to the Garden - the site refers to the stories of an uncompromising scholar and his Utopia

Dream of Five Willom

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back to the topGOAL: Nurtured by the open atmosphere of Internet culture, we build Land of Illusion online (in Second Life) as an open forum that enables:
- dialogue between eastern and western culture
- discussion on preserving and developing traditional aesthetics with digital multimedia
- research on folklore and its cultural impacts on both historical and modern societies
It is our dream to make the project an open forum, a free exhibition space promoting, restoring values and spirits lively existing in Chinese folklore throughout the history. Dedications, collaborations and innovatively using technology combined with traditional aesthetic approaches are equally significant for achieving the goals.

Visit Land of Illusion:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Regeneration%20Island/71/117/31/?title=Land_of_Illusion_Project

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#topRESEARCH:As multimedia and virtual reality applications become increasingly influential to the Internet culture and the information-based society, our research in this field will require a long-term dedication. The MUVE project Land of Illusion is a testbed for applying digital multimedia to create new artistic and cultural expressions, for exploring the potential of preserving traditional eastern aesthetics through the latest imaging technologies, and more importantly, for evidencing that freethought, openness and freedom of speech construct the foundation of creativity.

Except indicating that how cultural implications and communication functionality can be achieved through aesthetic approaches, our explorations in multimedia, particularly in the area of virtual reality, also illuminate pioneer theorists' discussions prior to or throughout the digital age.

Focusing on delivering multimedia contents online, including time-base work and 3D virtual environment design, I perceive image as a dynamic system containing text and shape, motion and sound, layer and space, and observe it from following aspects affecting interpretations: integration, immersion, interactivity, hypermedia, narrativity, the key concepts largely shared by new media and information theorists. Explore the Timeline of Virtual Art below -

evolution timeline
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RESOURCES back to the top