RMB City 5, 2008, digital c-print, 120 x 160 cm
She is especially know for her RMB City. From ARTFORUM (China):
The architectural apotheosis of the Chinese city built in a virtual world. Developed by Chinese artist Cao Fei, RMB City offers an intense China experience. Combining the surreal with the virtual, critique with commerce, RMB City is an exercise in suspension that uses a dimensional distortion of architecture to create something which is described as “a city.” A place impossible to live in, but potentially an interesting one to invest in.
The other thing is the COSPLAYERS (costumed players). From oneinchpunch.net:
In cosplay — slang for “costume play” — people emulate the appearances of fictional characters. Cao Fei’s extensive series began by following Guangzhou youths, dressed like their favorite Japanese manga heroes, romping through their hometown. Gilded and winged outfits hearken to the future and far-away cultures, but gray cement overpasses and towering skyscrapers prevent any escape from the struggling city. In her more recent series, Cao Fei casts older Beijing residents in the same absurd roles and inserts them into typical street scenes.
Complementing these imaginative tableaux, Cao Fei chronicles the artistic creations of her peers in her Alternative Archive blog and further explores virtual reality in her Second Life blog via the avatar China Tracy. With her characteristic insight and wry wit, Cao Fei captures a generation caught between fantastic optimism and reality.
Statement about COSPLAYERS from CaoFei.com:
This cinematic work is an experiment that employs a surrealistic plot to give COSPLAYERS (young people dressed as game characters) the ability to traverse the city at will, and to engage in combat within their imaginary world. They expect their costumes will grant them true magical power, enabling the wearer to transcend reality and put themselves above all worldly and mundane concerns.
All COSPLAYERS are very young, with dreams in their heads, spending all their waking hours in the virtual world of video games from a very early age. Hence when they eventually grow up, they discover they are living a life style frowned upon and rejected by society and family members alike. With no channels open to express their feeling and aspirations they resort to escapism and, becoming alienated and out of touch, they turn into ever more unbecoming characters. However, in that moment when they are turned into genies, chivalrous knights, fairy princesses, or geeks, the pains of reality are assuaged, even if the "real" world they are standing on has not changed to the slightest.
In recent years a group of COSPLAYERS, growing up in and around China’s coastal cities, have been confronted by both the traditional values of the Chinese education system and subjected to the pull of invading foreign cultures in the new century. As a group of adolescents who refuse to grow-up, they choke themselves with passionate impulses and an undisguised infatuation with personal fancies, expressed through ways and manners only they can understand and be comfortable with.
Info about some of her works can be found at Alternative Archive.
I suppose it figures that art work that employs the internet, film, etc. would be considered the best new thing. I like the aspect of internet art that it is available to anyone.