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

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(Jul 02, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Producer: L&H Art Studio (
Artists: Lily X. Yang, Honglei Li and He Li
Medium: Online virtual world environment and performance, digital video, soundtrack
Year of Completion: 2006- 2009
Duration: 30 Minutes

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 social issues in China. The work interweaves Chinese folkloristic 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 character of the silenced Chinese girl wearing a mask to Butterfly Dream of Zhuang Tze, the work uses visual metaphors to point to current social issues.

Working as an artist team from Beijing, we have been developing Land of Illusion since 2006. Chinese garden culture becomes our inspirations for it comprehensively encompasses eastern philosophy and aesthetics, as Shen Fu said, 'it aims to see the small in the large, to see the large in the small, to see the real in the illusory and to see the illusory in the real.' Like the design of real Chinese garden, virtual architecture of Land of Illusion embodies correlative cosmology from ancient China, for instance, Sunken City symbolizing cultural losses is built on the west, the direction corresponding to death, Hundred Schools of Thought performance is held on the north matching with confliction of opposite forces. The Butterfly Dreams is taking place in the East Chamber related to birth or revival, and so on. The composition of video Land of Illusion reflects this system.

Upon completion of the virtual construction of Land of Illusion, we invite individuals and groups to participate a series of Internet-based performances reinterpreting Chinese traditional culture, or metaphorically addressing current societal problems. The real-time interactions on Internet and immersive digital imaging technology contribute to overcoming the geographical boundaries and cultural strangeness, therefore enable deeper dialogs that help young people from all over the world to access to history, aesthetics, philosophy and social realities of China. Land of Illusion therefore proposes solutions preserving and re-evaluating cultural heritages in the Internet era.


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