Shu Lea Cheang

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Shu Lea Cheang (born 1954, Taiwan) is a multimedia artist who works in the fields of net-based installation, social interface and film production.

Over the past decade, she has emerged as a prominent figure in new media art. Cheang is one of the leading multimedia artists dealing with multidisciplinary studies. Her work is unique in allowing viewer interaction. She is most noted for her individual approach in the realm of art and technology, creatively intermingling social issues with artistic methods.[1]

Cheang's art ranges in mediums such as film, video, net-based installation, and interface, which explore "...ethnic stereotyping, the nature and excesses of popular media, institutional - and especially governmental - power, race relations, and sexual politics." ("Shu Lea Cheang") Most recently, she has moved to 35mm feature filmmaking.

She has been a member of the Paper Tiger Television collective since 1981. Though originally based in New York, Cheang is currently living and working in Paris, France.

Notable works[edit]

Bowling Alley (Cheang, Shu Lea. Bowling Alley. 1995. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN) was Cheang's first cybernetic installation. Cheang collaborated with other Minneapolis artists to present a work which set to challenge the idea of what is personal and public, popular art and fine art by intertwining these oppositions.

Commissioned by the Walker and funded by AT&T New Art/New Visions, the installation linked Walker's Gallery 7, the city's community bowling alley Bryant-Lake Bowl and the World Wide Web. Bowling Alley mixed real-life with cyberspace to illustrate the similarities and differences of how people communicate with one another face-to-face and through the Internet.

Another major Web-based project Cheang created was Brandon. The one-year narrative project explored the issues of gender fusion and techno-body in both public space and cyberspace. The site gathers its name from Brandon Teena, a transman who was raped and murdered in 1993 after his biological sex was revealed. The Web-based art work was the first commissioned by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. It explores Brandon Teena's story in an experimental way that conveys the "fluidity and ambiguity of gender and identity in contemporary societies." [2]

She directed the feature film I.K.U. (2000), a pornographic film which she claimed was inspired by Blade Runner, which was nominated for an International Fantasy Film Award.

Recent works[edit]

Cheang's Locker Baby Project (2001-2012) is a playfield of sonic imagery triggered only by human interaction. Her baby series project proposes a fictional scenario set in year 2030. The transnational DPT (DollyPolly Transgency) advances clone babies as an intelligent industry. The Clone Generation holds the key to unlock the networked inter-sphere of ME-motion (Memory+Emotion).

Baby Play (2001), the first installment employs a large scale table football field. Opposing rows of 22 ball players are replaced by human sized cloned locker babies. The tracking of ball movement retrieves ME-data (texts and sound) deposited in respective lockers.

Baby Love (2005), the second installment consists of 6 large size teacups and 6 clone babies. Each teacup is an auto-driving mobile unit with spinning wheels allowing direction maneuver and speed variation. Each baby is a situated mac-mini engine with wifi linked to the net depository of shuffles and remixes of popular love songs.

Baby Work (2012), the third installment designates the public visiting the gallery to collect and rearrange scattered keys and compose words into collective sonic expression. Active participants are the clone babies who are entrusted to store and retrieve ME-data.


  1. ^ Shu Lea Cheang (2004-02-13). "WAC – Gallery9 – Bowling Alley". Walker art gallery. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  2. ^ Tribe, Mark; Jana, Reena (2007). New Media Art. Germany: Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8228-3041-3. 

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