Shu Lea Cheang: An Interview

Video Data Bank

1998 | 01:00:00 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Interviews, On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Future, Gender, Interview, LGBTQ, Technology, VDB Interviews, Visiting Artists Program

Taiwanese artist Shu Lea Cheang (b. 1954) tackles conceptions of racial assimilation in American culture, examining the political underbelly of everyday situations that affect the relationship between individuals and society. Using video in formally innovative installations, her works include the Airwaves Project, which focused on the one-way flow of global information and industrial waste, and Those Fluttering Objects of Desire, an installation presenting the work of women artists negotiating interracial sexual politics. Cheang’s single-channel work, distributed by VDB, focuses on lesbian desire and Asian identity.

In this interview, Shu Lea Cheang descibes her work as a ‘cyber homesteader’ and discusses her interest in the internet’s potential to realize new horizons for the development of wired bodies and cybernetic subjectivities. Beginning with a discussion of her project Brandon, based upon the murder of transsexual teenager Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon, Cheang develops a parallel between the gender play of transexuality and the ability to assume different identities on the Internet. Cheang describes the cyber play of bodies around and through the human/computer interface and the shifting hyperlinked personae they engender. The artist notes her interest in the application of this theory towards a media activism that would democratize the space of the internet, and establish networked communities in both physical and digital domains. –Kyle Riley

Interview conducted by Gregg Bordowitz in April 1998, edited in 2014.

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