039.Lily & Honglei

Lily & Honglei

Lily Xiying Yang and Honglei Li are new media artists from Beijing, currently based in New York City. Since 2005, they have been working under a collective name Lily & Honglei. Their creativity aims at developing new artistic expressions through integrating traditional art forms such as painting and Chinese folk art with digital language. By utilizing online virtual world and digital animations, Lily & Honglei’s work are devoted to the reinterpretation of Chinese folklore traditions that remain highly relevant in reflecting on the current globalized culture and society.

Detailed biography

netart by Lily & Hong Lei (China)

title: Celebration
year of production:
2007 to 2009

used technology (software etc):
Online Multi-user-virtual-environment of Second Life, 3D and 2D imaging technology, streaming video & music

required plug-ins:
Second Life – free software for Mac and PC, please download from:

Enter the work

work documentation on blog:

Celebration is a virtual installation constructed within Second Life, the popular online virtual world. This multi-user-virtual-environment (MUVE) is designed to provoke inquiries to relation of development, social crisis and cultural traditions.

The construction is consisted with three major installations with real-time performances:

The Underwater Cities, meditating on cultural and social crisis in both east and west societies;

The Merry-go-around, investigating on historic tragedy, specifically, thousands of students’ death in 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China;

The Great Fire Wall, the notorious Internet censorship that isolates the largest netizen population from rest of the world.

We use the spatial relations of the 3D-rendered elements to imply the interconnections between socio-cultural phenomena and problems.

In this immersive space, audience can experience interactions with virtual artifacts, such as riding on Merry-go-around while being surrounded by panoramic earthquake landscape, or walking on the Great Fire Wall where one is desperately looking for access to the rest of the world, or descending to the Underwater Cities to witness the losses from devastating floods… Finally, following interactive instructions, audience can arrive a delightful beach area, where they will be suggested to join the “celebration” for “human progress” – with a group of astronaut who are performing like acrobats, crumbling… Fireworks can be lighted by audience themselves, which immediately engulf sadness with spectacular of vanity…

Our intention is to raise questions on those interrelated issues, to share insights with more audience in today’s global society, particularly through utilizing online virtual world application and updated Internet technologies. When sitting on the Merry-go-around, watching the scene spin, we doubt whether the human history is also infinitely looping …

netart by Lily & Hong Lei (China)

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