Reconstituting History and Culture in New Media Art: Lily and Honglei's Work and Inspiration

Beijing artists Lily and Honglei (Xiying Yang and Honglei Li) have been developing ‘Land of Illusion’ new media art project since 2006. The piece is constructed in cyberspace with virtual traditional Chinese architecture where Lily and Honglei have created a series of networked-performances and multimedia installations. It is a cultural meditation engaging history, philosophy, as well as Chinese diaspora. The work examines the current economic development of China within the context of globalization, while simultaneously exploring the meaning of virtual online communities in terms of global dialogues as they relate to cultural roots and the fantasy of China. ‘Land of Illusion’ also functions as a net-art platform aiming to fulfill the premise that the Internet is the direct continuation of Enlightenment thought, namely by promoting cultural openness, decentralization and independent thinking. As Chinese contemporary artists, Lily and Honglei consider that these notions are extremely relevant to art-making. The book includes more than 100 images of Lily and Honglei’s virtual reality work, as well as animated films inspired by Chinese folkloric traditions.