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Unbox M+: RMB City
Unbox M+: RMB City

They created something that does not exist . . . and we have to find a way to make that more tangible.

Pi Li

For a few years in the early 2000s, Cao Fei’s RMB City was the place to be in the online world of Second Life. Avatars of artists, collectors, and virtual passers-by visited Cao’s city to attend happenings, witness mayoral inaugurations, and tour her reconstructions of iconic Chinese buildings.

With the rapidly changing tastes of the internet, the project was discontinued in 2011, and Cao extracted an offline version for collection and preservation. Join us as David Smith (Conservator of Digital and Media Art) and Pi Li (Sigg Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial Affairs) explore this offline version with Cao’s original avatar, China Tracy, and discuss the challenges of collecting an artwork meant to be played live and online.

This video was originally published on M+ Stories.

Video Credits

Produced by



Pang Ming Hei


Cho Chi Chiu


Au Ching

M+ Video Production

Chris Sullivan, Jaye Yau, Jessica Law

M+ Curatorial, Conservation

Pi Li, David Smith

M+ Transcript and Closed Captions

Amy Leung, Gloria Furness

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