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SHU LEA CHEANG

 

 Shu Lea Cheang, taiwanesa, es seguramente una de las artistas multimedia con propuestas más transgresoras y radicales. Además, Shu se jacta de llevar un "estilo de vida digital" en sintonía con su trabajo como artista electrónica.

Shu ha sabido usar las posibilidades de la red como soporte fabulador, como frontera imprecisa entre lo real, lo irreal y lo fantástico. Su obra Brandon  (brandon.guggenheim.org) es un magnífico ejemplo de ello, "un canon del arte on line", como lo definía The Village Voice. Pero Shu Lea Cheang va a presentar en Sevilla lo que constituye su trabajo más polémico: el film IKU. Visión futurista de la sexualidad japonesa, IKU es una cinta transgresora, una orgía de colores y una sublimación de su propia fantasía. Obra cyber o tecno porno, como lo define la propia Shu, IKU es un preciso análisis de la sociedad japonesa actual, una instantánea digital y por ello conscientemente e inconscientemente manipulada, corrosiva, de la implantación en la médula del cuerpo social de unos códigos y una estética tecno que coexisten con unos valores medievales que están provocando una virulenta reacción por parte del estamento social más perjudicado por esta antagónica dualidad: las mujeres. IKU es un obra profundamente feminista y, más que moderna, actual, que pertenece al mundo en el que estamos viviendo. IKU no habla sólo de futuro: es presente. Y ese es su gran valor.

Sus instalaciones de Net Art han sido exhibidas y están albergadas en las colecciones permanentes de instituciones como el  Walker Art Center (Bowling Alley, 1995), NTT[ICC], Tokyo (Buy One Get One, 1997)  y el Guggenheim Museum (Brandon, 1998-1999). 

Su primer trabajo como realizadora, "Fresh Kill", fue galardonado en el Festival de Berlín.

Su instalación "Baby Play" fue seleccionada por el NTT  (ICC), en Tokyo,.

Ha realizado instalaciones en el Ota Fine Arts en Tokyo, The Project, en New York y en la galería Julia Friedman, en Chicago. 

Shu forma parte del Shopping Window net art en Telepolis.de.

Actualmente, está desarrollando el proyecto "Fluid", otra scifi porn digital picture, con los estudios Innocent Pictures/Zentropa en Dinamarca.
                         

         Biografía:

 

EXHIBITIONS

 

             2001

             Baby Play, InterCommunication Center (ICC), Tokyo (solo exhibition)

             IKU Stripped, Women Art Network, Tokyo

             I.K.U. (screening) Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

 

             2000

             Taipei Fine Art Museum Biennale 2000

             FLUID, The Project, New York

             CARRYON, Media Arts & Research Studies (MARS), Institute for Media Communication, Bonn, Germany

I.K.U., 90:00, a Japenese Sci-Fi Porn Digi Movie, an Uplink Production, Tokyo, Premiere, Sundance Film Festival

             I.K.U. (screening), ICA, London

 

             1999-98

Brandon, Guggenheim Museum, SOHO, co-production with Banff Center for the Arts, Canada, DeWaag, Society for Old and New Media, Amsterdam

 

             1997

             Buy One Get One, ICC Biennale, Tokyo, Japan (award, catalogue)

 

             1996

             Elephant Cage Butterfly Locker, Atopic Site exhibition, Tokyo

 

             1995

             Fresh kill, Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

             Bowling Alley, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

 

             1994

             Fresh Kill, feature film, premiered at Berlin International Film Festival

 

             1993 

To Enter, The Final Frontier Exhibition, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

Those Fluttering Objects of Desire, Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

 

             1992 

             Those Fluttering Objects of Desire, Exit Art, New York

 

             1991

             The Airwaves Project, CAPP Street Project, San Francisco, California

 

             1990

             Making News/Making History, ICA, Boston, ICP, New York

 

             1981-1990

             A producing member of media collectives, Paper Tiger TV & Deep Dish TV

 

             

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

             2000 Chua, Lawrence, "An Odd Circuit," Art Asia Pacific, Fall edition.

             1997 Kroker, Arthur and Marilouise. "Web Delerium, The Okinawa Project." Digital Delerium. New York: St. Martin's Press.

             1996 Furlong, Cindy. "Gender Bending, Works of Shu Lea Cheang." College Press.

1995 Asai, Takashi. "Fingers and Kisses." Dice, Japan. Nakamoto, Akio. "Shu Lea Cheang." Wired Japan

1994 Chua, Lawrence and Hagedorn, Jessica. "A Dialogue on Fresh Kill." Bomb, New York.

             1993 "Whitney Biennal." Art Forum, April.

1992 Highs, Kathy and Cheang, Shu Lea, eds/ "Shot/Reverse Shot, A Cross Circuit Videologue." Felix, New York.

1991 Howell, John, ed. "Breakthroughs, Avant Garde Artists in Europe and America, 1950-1990." Wexner Center for the Arts, New York: Rizzoli.

 

Su trabajo puede ser visto en :

http://brandon.guggenheim.org/shuleaWORKS


        urls:

bowling alley (1995) http://bowlingalley.walkerart.org

Buy One Get One (1997)  http://www.ntticc.or.jp/HoME

Brandon (1998-1999)  http://brandon.guggenheim.org

I.K.U. (2000)  http://www.I-K-U.com

Baby Play (2001)   http://babyplay.ntticc.or.jp

Expand (2001) http://www.telepolis.de/english/kunst/nk/shopping/default.html

 

        Sinopsis I.K.U.

En el año 20XX, Genom, una multinacional, esta investigando el poder del sexo en la era cibernética. Todo comienza en un ascensor cuando Dizzy, empleado de Genom, inicia a un cyborg extremadamente sexy llamado OS IKU 3.0 (conocido como Reiko) en los placeres de su "disco duro". Después de eso, a Reiko se le encomienda la misión de ir por la ciudad acumulando la máxima información posible sobre el acto sexual. Reiko demuestra grandes habilidades para la misión hasta que un virus llamado Tokyo Rose, con un gusto especial por la lencería y creado por una compañía rival, se introduce en su memoria haciéndole perder la información recogida hasta el momento. Pero todo problema tiene solución y Reiko la encuentra en un programador retirado que le enseña a evitar el virus mediante una intrincada forma de masturbación. Ya curada, Reiko tiene que luchar contra el reloj para volver a llenar su memoria experimentando al máximo toda clase de posiciones sexuales.

IKU (cuya pronunciación en japonés viene a significar "me corro") es una película porno japonesa independiente dirigida por una mujer, Shu Lea Cheang, rodada enteramente en vídeo digital y que experimenta con el erotismo en un marco futurista.


        I.K.U.

http://www.I-K-U.com

The ending of "Blade Runner" links to the opening of "I.K.U.". "I.K.U."

differs from the former film that never had sex although there was love, in the latter movie in it, I.K.U. runner and Reiko have intense sex in the elevator, where was the stage of the ending of "Blade Runner".

The development of I.K.U. system that the GENOM Corporation has been

planning to offer for sale reaches its final stage. An innovative information

technology enabled the development of the system. It will make people attain orgasm without having any touch between genitals, since the people will be able to receive the I.K.U. data directly to the brain by accessing to the I.K.U. server.

To complete the I.K.U. system, it is necessary to collect the orgasm data of

every kind of person. So the GENOM Corporation sends out to New Tokyo

seven sexy replicants "Reiko", who can transform themselves depending on

people's desires.

"I.K.U." is a sexy role-playing movie of orgasm hunting by the seven "Reiko".

< A net-surfing movie for the Internet Generation >

"Reiko" are the replicants of the GENOM Corporation. To collect the data for the I.K.U. system, they have been set out to New Tokyo and have various patterns of sex with men and women one after another. "I.K.U" continuouslywarps freely from scene to scene. It might be the same sense with net-surfing that takes people everywhere they want in the world only by entering the address of a web site.

In the history of movies which were invented 100 years ago, like dramas, the story of the novel form has been represented by its characters. However, the internet which appeared at the end of the 20th century has revolutionized the world.

First of all, computers gained the ability to communicate, then the technology spread to telephone and television. Now both young and old people are absorbed in acquiring to use the skill this new treasure. Following the current trend of the times, it would not be strange that the movies receive some influence from the internet.

"I.K.U." is a movie that was produced for the Internet Generation. The story developes like doing net-surfing. Shooting with digital video cameras. Non-linear editing with computers. No doubt "I.K.U." warps you to the world of the enhanced image.

< The near future that business controls personal pleasure >

"It wasn't love, it was sex." are the words in "I.K.U." that describe the sex

 scenes obstinately. Why? Because this is the promotion movie of the I.K.U.

Chip that GENOM Corporation has developed (please see the official site www.i-k-u.com to see this structure)

You connect to the I.K.U. server by plugging a I.K.U. Chip into the Net

Glass Phone -- It is like an evaluated form of the net idles or the net hunting on the internet. The sex industry in near future will only seek sexual pleasure and easily offer the orgasm data. Is it possible for people to enjoy having physical sex again once if they are enslaved by virtual ecstasy? What will the human race create from the new pleasures gained after being free from the ecstasy gained by physical friction?

"I.K.U" describes an era in which business controls personal pleasure. This

SF movie foretells of an all to near future warns against the present world in which the boundary of the human race is becoming unclear and the words like "Human Genome", "Clone", or "Human Robot" are being whispered.

< A plastic gender represented by digital art >

Although the movie is made up with an on parade of the nakid body and fuck, the scenes are not realistic at all. There only drifts a unique mood of ecstasy --- beautiful, and even like magic. Every cut is like a picture of digital art, at the same time it is like a comic book. A plastic ecstasy in which CG and music intertwine --- it is as if a virtual ecstasies is gained through the internet.

The director of the movie is Shu Lee Chan, who creates her art by making full use of the internet and digital techniques and is highly praised by the museums all over the world. The shooting is Kamoto Tetsuya, who is known for his music videos of Utada Hikaru and L'Arc〜en〜Ciel. The CG is created by E-MAIL, who plays an active role in the concert tour of GRAY or in club scenes. The music is presented by Hoppy Kamiyama and SABOTEN.

"I.K.U." tries to create the most advanced digital movie by gathering talented people of various kinds from all over the world who are versed in digital art.

 < "Pussy point of view" --- the pornography with women's eyes >                                          

 "I.K.U." monopolised the topics at the Sundance Film Festival and more than 20 other international film festivals. At all film festivals, "I.K.U." was regarded of "the pussy point of view", the seeings of sex from vagina. Many women accepted "I.K.U." and made the comment, "I wanted to see more penises!"

The director is also a female and the seven replicants "Reiko" are the key to the story. A world that is like being in the different dimension or in cyberspace is somehow tender like being in the womb. This differs from the usual pornography that exists only as an outlet of man's desire, "I.K.U." is the brand new pornography that was born for the next generation.

< The mosaic data is the I.K.U. data >

The I.K.U. data is made up of visual and voice data in mosaic. Of the countries which have regulations against sexual expression, Japan's is one of the most nonsensical. Hiding genitals by mosaic peculiarly grew in the field of pornography in Japan. Japanese men have gained their ecstasies by

+ imaginating women's genitals beyond the mosaic visuals and voices. That is to say that Japanese people have made themselves into an exceptional nation which is aroused by a mosaic. "I.K.U." chose Tokyo in near future for its stage to parody their ecstasy, and expressed orgasm data in the pattern of a mosaic.

        Shue Lea Cheang Interview whit Geert Lovink

 

Shu Lea Cheang is one of the few artists I know able to operate in both the new media arts and the contemporary arts  world of museums and galleries.

Born in Taiwan, Shu Lea left Taipeh after the democratic changes and worked in New York as a member of the Paper Tiger Television collective to become a truly global artist in the nineties. It is hard to keep track of Shu Lea and her projects. I got to know her when we both worked in the media lab of the  Society for Old and New Media in Amsterdam. At the time, around 1998, she was producing the Brandon project, with programmers and designers of the Society, a website and installation which deals with gender and identity on the Net. She then moved to Tokyo to produce her first feature film in the sci-fi porn genre. The following e-mail exchange took place over a few months in the second half of 2000.

GL: Where are you? It is hard to keep track of you, digital drifter. Which trouble in, at this moment? You are such an expert in freaking out stessed, burocratic art institutions. Excellent. I know you are not looking for trouble perse. Still, your work provokes people, at some stage, though not in a direct, obvious manner. You are well known for strategy that in Japan.  

SC: Where I am, in terms of my X-Y positioning or Location URLs? My dissimulating body parts as compressed bytes, transmissible and available. Well, this year, I  barely scratched the skin in Germany, a bit of exchange with the German Federal Ministry of Internal Affaires over interfacing airport Hi-Scan machine and internet. I was warned that sending scanned images from suitcases onto the net, 'could possibly give information about how to circumvent measures taken for the protection of attacks on the security of air traffic.'

I do play by rules. My intention written in proposals are stated out front when dealings with Institutions. I stepped right into the political conflicts, those of Tokyo Central Government and Okinawa over US military base issues, during my residency in Okinawa with the project, 'Elephant Cage Butterfly Locker' (1996). The exhibition at Tokyo's Atopic Site led Japan's censorship debate after the recordings of my meetings with Tokyo Government representatives were published. Back in 1995, I got into trouble with Bowling Alley at Walker Art Center. The museum commanded the site to bear a warning, 'This Site contains mature subject matter. Discretion is advised'.

That was on the eve of US Congress' delivery of Communication Decency Act, the museum had yet to configure the cross-section of public and private space. When Brandon was presented at the Guggenheim Museum, all cautious procedures were taken to ensure that subversiveness could work within the system.

GL: You have specialized yourself in on a highly specialized meta level of (new) media work. It is the realm of the pure conceptual. In doing so, you depend almost entirely on other people's design, programming work, editing, pre- and post-production. Almost every aspect of your huge productions such as the interactive online installation Brandon and the sci-fi porn film IkU, are realized by third parties. How would you describe your work? Art director, media manager, concept artist?

SC: Why do you insist on the division of expertise as 'realized by third parties'? Every aspect of production works toward realization of concepts. I communicate with my parties on a conceptual level. I take the credit as concept/direction in executing large scale productions. I decide with which of the writers, designers, programmers, cinematographers who I would collaborate with. They are each self-claimed art practitioner in their own right. I seek collaboration as I conceptualize the projects. I have carried out my art installation as a filmmaking practice or directing a film as a large scale installation. I think there remains this romantic notion of the artist as loner and a sole operator. I do not practice art as self expression. The urgent command from the 'meta' level has designated me to be Institutionalized.

GL: How do you feel about the division of labour you are in?

SC: Concept_proposal_design sketches_routing public interface. This year, the project CARRY ON for IFU (International Women University), had me working with IMK:MARS/GMD as part of their CAT (Communication, Art & Technology network) initiative. (http://imk.gmd.de/mars). In this institution, a computer scientist made system analysis of the concept and three system programmers collaborated on database network platform and Java applet application. It was a group effort to configure languages and engineer the systems hard and soft.

GL: Let's speak about discontent in media activism - and what to do about its visual poverty. You have been a member of Paper Tiger Television, back in the late eighties. Like me, you have ambivalent feelings, about the immanent danger of activism, using whatever medium or platform, falling back into the one-dimensional styles of the video diary, documentary journalism and plain propaganda. Which strategies would you suggest to escape these obvious traps? The concept of 'tactical media' has been developed, intending to bring together media activists and new media artists. Are cross fertilizations sufficient? Is it an option to abandon the 'activism' label altogether? Good news is the renaissance. The WTO protest in Seattle (December 1999) has brought up a whole new (rave) generation. Then there is the concept of hacktivism. The dark period of neo-Luddism and pessimism seems to be over. What esthetics, in your view, could further energize, broaden, and critique the current global movements?

SC: Back in the 80's, we were out on the streets. There was this sense of global connectedness, camcoder media and satellite feed. The sense of urgency for information flow-- shoot, deliver and act. It took a while for video collectives to make transition onto the Net. but then, the nature of hyperlinks on the Net may also contribute to infodata overload and scattered social bodies. Shared information does not amount to counter-activity. I did buy in the idea of electronic disturbance. The Net sit in as media event, but is it helping the movement? Or is it intellectual exercise for computer crash course? The global net-connectedness can be an illusion. Locality reclaims matterness when political agenda is specified.  

Esthetics functions on conceptual level. I am encouraged by corporate level Netivity. No One is Illegal's campaign on http://www.deportation-alliance.com is good example. Counter information is a slap in the Corporate face one click away. Harwood's Uncomfortable Proximity for Tate Modern goes further to demand side(site) by side(site) fusion. And that is quite a few steps forward from demanding a media slot.

GL: You moved away from regular media activism for a certain reason. What is so hot, so interesting and so strategically important about the conceptual and formalistic level? Is it a meta level? Should we consider this more powerful compared to the ordinary levels of content production, design or programming? Can we perhaps compare it with the role of the film director or conductor?

SC: You seem to be caught in a twisted complex here. Are we back at the 'level' of white/blue collar class struggle here? I use the word 'level' for my replicants. Level 7 is my recent updated version of humanoid IKU Coders or HiC agents. Level 4 is the retired outdated copies. The machine drives me. A deliberate take over of control key in my functionality. The machine operates. The corporate schemes. The sole/soul artist is out on the bound. Acting as 'floating agent digitale' on my own terms, all directorial and conducting power is given.

GL: I am saying this because there is a general discontent, for decades, about the work done by activists, like going to demonstrations, making pamphlets, targeting governments and corporations for their policies in the form of direct action. I see a certain fascination with the more symbolic meta levels where power is located these days. Do you think activists protest at the wrong spot when they go on the streets, blocking roads and offices?

SC: I was just off track into daytime porn.... stepped into a major web attack-- 'Webmasters, join us and increase your traffic drastically!' The net windows are launched one after another faster than I can close them. eXXXtreme! are screaming at me !! The Net era traffic jam with roadside vendors hawking. Now, I have not seen activist organizations united this way. Have you? Hyperlinks decentralize. Virtual sit in holds still the information flow. The power to be is clearly s(c)ited. One chooses to confront or comply. The road block is metaphysical. The streets are up for grab. You can claim the streets for spirit refill or make the move to say 'chess' in the final play.

GL: Does it make sense for you to distinguish between a polymorphous 'art porn' practice and the mainstream porn industry? Which distinction would make sense for you? Is it a matter of high and low culture? I suppose you would agree that the mainstream porn industry is reproducing the worldwide male dominance and patriarchy. Obviously certain parts of the emancipated middle classes, the upwardly mobile gays, cosmopolitan lesbians, bi-sexual office workers etc. do need their own porn. In that sense 'art porn' is a niche market. Still, I suppose you are not just working for a market. You want more. What drives you to make these films, apart from the fact that it is fun.

SC: I have wanted to get away from institutions and funding cycles for a bit. I stepped into porn production as a director for hire with an indie Japanese producer. With my producer, we have all intentions to make money with this film. But it has proved to be quite difficult as the film doesn't fit into any specified market.

The self claimed Japanese scifi porn I.K.U. (2000, Uplink Co.) operates on high concept, the meta level in your term. In every sense, it meant to subvert 'the worldwide male dominance and patriarchy', the hard on dick that upholds. Here I want to distinguish my practice from that of art porn which I consider to be a soft industry domain. I.K.U. <http://www.I-K-U.com> confirms cyberporn as Corporate operation of level 7 hard and soft fusion. Ultimately, I.K.U. severs cumbersome tentacles of the wired 90s' cyborg entity and initiates the body as a gigabyte hard drive, self-driven by a programmed corporate scheme. It updates VNS Matrix's ' The clitoris is a direct line to the matrix.' by claiming 'The Pussy is the matrix'.

GL: Do you mean that in the biotech cyberpunkish sense, as Kronenberg's biopods? Is it the aim, still, to merge bodily functions with technology? Isn't that fantasy already implemented and played out? To what extend do you see the sexualized techno-body as a role model, or let's say, reference of an unlikely future?

SC: I am looking at a wireless digital mobile present with no portal to channel us; built in memory flash and gigabyte hard drive as delivered at birth; genetic mutation for ALL NEW GEN. The merge is complete. We ride on the fantasy. Living comfortably with the monster within, I assign my body as a self-programmed, self generative sexual unit. This body functions with an operating system that requires version update and memory upgrade. The unlikely future has come and gone. The retro future could be the next comeback.

GL: Over the last years you have been one of few artists who has managed to operate in both the 'contemporary arts' field and in the much smaller scene of new media arts. You have seen both worlds. How do these two rather different fields, which both use the 'arts' label, relate? Will they merge at some stage? Contemporary arts has finally discovered video. How long will it take once they will inhabit the computer networks? And will electronic arts ever leave its own self-referential ghetto?

SC: Hey, I am still working...and (projects) under development. I did cross over a few fields. I am not really in that particular 'contemporary arts' scene. But yes, I managed to work the medium. The new media arts field is in step with software development. Technically there are needs for collaboration between artists and programmers, which can be best facilitated by the Institutions. Like any large scale public installations, the new media art can be nurtured as commissioned art work. The Corporate funding is at the core of this underwriting. Here I am not neglecting the web as self-expression, self-distribution medium for a genre of web artists. However, to consider the Net as happening public space, not simply a broadcast medium, how do we keep up with web appointments? I want to feel collective breathing (can be extended to collective orgasm) on my computer screen.

As for the self-referential ghetto, we have to grant the privileged club members the fun of mutual masturbation. They don't have to leave. They own the Net. Meanwhile, the rest of the world strides to catch up. Every art agency must comply to digital update. Only yesterday we were handing in our web work for 'permanent collection' at the museums as long as they can provide the archiving servers. Today, we float. (in market and travel sense). The dealers will eventually come around and work the scene.

 

 

 



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