Cheang Shu-lea

Cheang Shu-lea
b. 1954, Tainan, Taiwan
Film and video-filmmaker, multi-media and net installation artist
From community-based video to ‘art porn’ film to high-tech digital installations, Cheang Shu-lea’s brilliant international career defies easy characterization, crossing the boundaries of genre, traditional authorship, aesthetic medium, national and sexual identity. After studying at NYU (1977–9), Cheang became involved with Paper Tiger TV (1980–90) and Deep Dish TV (1990–4), two alternative media public access organizations in downtown Manhattan. Her trip to Beijing in June 1989 inspired two critical deconstructions of the media representation of the event in the US, Taiwan and the PRC: Making News/Making History (installation, 1989) and How Was History Wounded (Lishi ruhe chengwei shangkou, video, 1990). She produced the series Will Be Televised (1990), in collaboration with artists in five Asian countries, including Hong Kong (the performance art group Zuni Icosahedron), Taiwan (the agit-prop organization Green Team) and the PRC (a selection from the banned television series River Elegy/Heshang, 1988). In the early 1990s, she presented ground-breaking multi-media installations: Colour Schemes (Whitney Museum, 1990), an ironical commentary on US multiculturalism, and Those Fluttering Objects of Desire (Whitney Biennale, 1993), a collaboration with twenty-five women artists on sex, pornography and interracial desire.
Her first feature, Fresh Kill (1994), was a witty, transgressive variation on ethnicity, sexuality, ecology and urban political resistance. Then Cheang opted to become a ‘digital drifter’, creating web-based interactive installations throughout the world: Bowling Alley (Minneapolis, 1995), Elephant Cage Butterfly Locker (Tokyo, 1996), Brandon (Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1998–9), Carry On (Hanover, 2000), Baby Play (Tokyo, 2001), GARLIC=RICH AIR (New York, 2002), Burn (2003, Liverpool). In Japan, she directed I.K.U. (2000), a science-fiction digital porn feature—polysexual, queer-inspired, and visually stunning.
Marchetti, Gina. (2001). ‘Cinema Frames, Videoscapes, and Cyberspace: Exploring Shu Lea Cheang’s Fresh Kill’ positions: east asia cultures critique 9.2:401–22.
Tomes, K.S. (1996). ‘Shu Lea Cheang: Hi-Tech Aborigine’. Wide Angle 18.1.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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