“Land of Illusion” by Lily & Honglei (杨熙瑛, 李宏磊)

March 17, 2009 § 2 Comments

Since being launched in 2007, virtual installations, multimedia presentations and online performances have been launched in “Land of Illusion.”  Artists Lily & Honglei (杨熙瑛, 李宏磊)aim to make the virtual world a space developing new art forms, experimenting  new media  as vehicles conveying rich cultural meanings, especially exploring the relationship between aesthetic traditions and digital arts. 

“Land of Illusion” Virtual Construction (also view video): the large-scaled virtual installation in Second Life includes following five major constructions.

Grand View Garden

(eastern section)


The riotous and lonely garden once merely existed in our silent imagination… It’s disassociated, drifting in-between the history and trend, traditions and identities, yet always persisting in inherent dream and childhood recollection. Such inextinguishable inner existence, like an eye, is gazing at all occurrences, the vicissitude, the struggle with losses, then passing through the dust and fog, until met the fellow traveler…

Red Chamber Courtyard

(central section)

Lily & Honglei - China new media art

How many years, this garden has been alive in our mind and body, despite thrive or deterioration, grows in the samsara, finally extends to the cyberspace, reaches the edge of physical reality…

Great Firewall

(western section)

Lily & Honglei - China new media art

…it has been opened widely, becomes a shareable dreamland with ocean and sky for gaming, meditating and lamenting. Step by step, we are establishing “Land of Illusion,” which achieves cultural reflection through Chinese art tradition, especially the folk art expressions, while Second Life multi-user virtual environment increases its social function significantly.

Crystal Palace

(underwater section)


Here, we use the ancient language to narrate today’s story. It is an extended dream of being a real individual, and bridging ancestors’ spirit and the deepest self …

Heavenly Palace

(upper section)

lily & honglei - new media art

“Land of Illusion” is also a paradise of gamers, staying away from material reality, waiting for brave visionary’s visit. The game is fun, simple, innovative, and uncompromising. With given rules, one needs to found rather than chasing. Discovering, preserving and promoting cultural tradition, the profoundness is beyond the impetuous development. We are not short on value, but tend to get lost in the social transformations. Yet being solitude and rethinking perhaps appear unbearable. To maintain the independent thought and free expression as a human, we need to build our community with members participating this creative game. The Internet time and digital reality have made the promise to fulfill the dream.


Net-art & Cultural Studies:  “Land of Illusion” net-art project interprets themes in Chinese history and folk tales by deploying animation, sound, digital video components and interaction online, and is designed to challenge the existing artistic approaches, also explore new ways of communication in an increasingly globalized world.

hongleiAs new media artists, on one hand, we propose using digital media and communication technologies, the effective and relatively low cost approaches, to enhance dialogue and collaboration in artist, intellectual communities global wide; on the other hand, we submit a constructive plan based on our several years dedicated work in reinterpreting folklore culture of China with  digital art, which aims to cause awareness in audiences and artist community to rethink the cultural impact of globalization, the value of tradition, especially, view our own heritage with a fresh eye, and translate them into a global language with digital arts, therefore contributing to studies of culture and value in the Internet age.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Butterfly Lovers” – Excerpt of Trilogy “Peacocks Flies Southeast”

Visit “Land of Illusion” in Second Life, please click here. If you don’t have a free Second Life account, register from here.

For more information about Lily & Honglei, please visit: www.lilyhonglei.com

§ 2 Responses to “Land of Illusion” by Lily & Honglei (杨熙瑛, 李宏磊)

  • could you explain how you will “use it for your project”? I don’t quite understand.

  • […] “Land of Illusion(太虚幻境)” has beendeveloped by Beijing artists Lily & Honglei (杨熙瑛, 李宏磊)since 2006. It is intended to make social and cultural commentaries about virtual worlds, particularly through reinterpreting themesin Chinese folklore. The work reflects on globalization’s impact on the environment and on the individual, which often results in multi-layered cultural or personal identity. It explores displacement and the spiritually homeless who struggle to preserve traditional values. More importantly, “Land of Illusion” is a virtual world art project that proposes solutions for preserving and re-evaluating cultural heritage with digital arts, and developing aesthetic traditions with new imaging techniques in the 21st century. […]

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