"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 5 (2009)
Featured in this video
“Dear ladies and gentleman, I’m China Tracy—the avatar of Cao Fei—and I’m her interpreter.” Cao Fei’s digital Second Life alter ego acts as the English translator for the Chinese-speaking artist throughout the segment, guiding the viewer through seven multimedia projects. A day-in-the-life is captured in the sensitive "Milkman," corporate culture is critiqued in the surrealistic "Rabid Dogs," while the assimilation of American pop culture by Asians is celebrated in Cao's series of "Hip Hop" videos. Through a blend of documentary and magical realism, the artist investigates various aspects of role play: costumed youth and their families, workers’ dreams come to life at a Siemens light factory, and the simulated romance between avatars. The segment culminates in the artist’s ongoing project, "RMB City," an artificial island built in the 3D virtual world of Second Life that resembles a postmodern collage of landmarks, urban over-development, and Chinese landscape painting.