Cao Fei’s work deals with parallels: parallel universes, parallel lives, and parallel dreams. In her installations, videos, and photographs, fantastical qualities come in contrast with a discouraging and urban modern Chinese backdrop. For RMB City (2008), Cao used the virtual reality platform Second Life to construct a fictional Chinese city and collaborative space for investigations into the various humanities and social sciences, including art, architecture, politics, and economics—activities she has extensively documented through installations and performances. Her video installation Whose Utopia (2006) showcases actual Chinese factory workers acting out their aspirations, playing a guitar or dancing ballet, but stuck in their factories amidst machinery. Cao’s works are an outlet for invention, but behind her playful ruses lies an uncertain world of unfulfilled desires.