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Cao Fei: Second Lives, Doubled Legacies

For her current exhibition at Toronto’s A Space, Chinese artist Cao Fei invites viewers into RMB City, an alternate online reality that she has built via Second Life, one of the Internet’s largest user-created virtual worlds. Accordingly, Fei’s video People’s Limbo follows the avatars of Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, Lao Tzu and a Lehman Brothers banker through a series of numbered scenes that take place within RMB City. In one scene, Marx uses acupuncture to treat the banker for greed and deception. The banker protests, saying, “But I want to go to Cannes!” Another scene takes place atop an oversized “People’s Monopoly” game board. Fei’s blatant references to economics and politics punctuate an ongoing debate between the video’s protagonists on subjects like success, happiness and the meaning of life. Live in RMB City stars Fei’s own avatar, China Tracy, and China Sun, a baby who asks the existential question that defines this exhibition: “Who am I?” Starting December 4, the Gendai Gallery will host the parallel exhibition “Residency in RMB City,” featuring city-intervention projects for Fei’s virtual kingdom by Adrian Blackwell, Yam Lau and the collaborative duo Judith Doyle and Fei Jun. (110-401 Richmond St W, Toronto ON)

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