Marco goes to China

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The Italian photographer Marco Manray has opened a new exhibition. This time, he shows pictures and a video taken not in Second Life, but in the Chinese equivalent Hipihi.

«It’s my meeting with a Chinese virtual world and the way I imagine China. I didn’t know anything about that virtual world,» says Manray. To make it more complicated, the Hipihi language is Chinese – «really impossible to understand». Some of the photos show Marco using gestures in an attempt to communicate with the inhabitants.

«It was an interesting and emotional experience to arrive there. It was like, but at the same time not, to visit SL for the first time. What reminded me of the early SL was the lack of people and events. But being used to virtual worlds by now, it didn’t carry the same shock of the new that SL once did for me.»

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The title of the video is ”Der Neue Wanderer – Lost in the metaverse”. Says Marco: «I liked to see the beginning of a new virtual world, still empty, and so far from me. I often felt lost, like you see in the video. It was a long, long march, and I didn’t know where I was going.» The video is ten minutes long, and shows Marco as he walks through empty landscapes.

One of his pictures recreate the famous scene from the Chinese student protests in 1989, when a lonely man stood in front of and stopped a whole row of tanks. «I found a tank,» explains Manray. «And I couldn’t resist to stand in front of it like the person did in the famous picture. The tank was not part of a strike or a manifestation. It just stood there, alone.»

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It’s not lost on Manray that he shares his first name with another Italian that also went to China: Marco Polo. «I thought of him, yes,» says Manray. All in all, he spent three months in China. Asked if he wants to return, he says he wants Hipihi to evolve and get an English interface.

The exhibition, which you can see at Prof Bad Trip’s Art Exhibition at Decoder Island, has a first life sister in a gallery in Milano, where Manray shows 80×60 framed pictures, treated images from Hipihi.

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~ by theresecarfagno on March 28, 2009.

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