Dr Linda Chiu-han Lai is a research-based interdisciplinary artist, seeking extension of her doctoral training in Cinema Studies to relevant artistic and theoretical endeavors. She persists in artistic creation as the practice of theory. As a critical researcher on the History of Everyday Life, her works are historiographic experiments, visual and auto-ethnography, urbanity and popular culture. Her most recent research embodies media archaeology, highlighting the co-agency of human and machines, and intricate crossings of institution, daily makings, alternative practices, activist moments and personal callings. She created SCM’s first courses in generative art, sound art and visual ethnography. With no restriction to artistic mediums, she turns art-making into criticism, history-writing, gaming and voyages of discovery. Her works have appeared in key venues worldwide – International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Open City London Documentary Festival, LOOP Barcelona, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Women Make Waves (Taipei), and experimental film/video festivals in Seoul (EXiS), Taipei (EXiT), Macao (EXiM), Kuala Lumpur (KLEX) and Hong Kong (HKEX), among others.
Recent significant works include her essay “Video Art in Hong Kong: Organologic Sketches for a Dispersive History” (2015, HK Visual Art Yearbook 2014), “Documenting Sentiments in Video Diaries around 1997: Archaeology of Forgotten Screen Practices” (2015, Companion to Hong Kong Cinema, Wiley-Blackwell), a historiographic experiment drawing from concepts of ego-documents and phenomenological thinkingand, also a supplement to HK cinema history, as well as the research-based installation “Object-Subjectivities” (2016, 'No Reference', Videotage) on HK’s media art history. Her latest initiative is the Floating Projects, an experiment on artistic sustainability and modes of art association, featured in the 'Hard State, Soft City' symposium (2016, ARI, NUS, Singapore).
As a montage artist, she considers images intensely rich perceptual surfaces that defy the binary division of representation and abstraction. Her works deploy the notion of archive and self-archiving, as in ‘1906-1989-2012: Guangzhou-Hongkong-Shanghai-Anji’ commissioned for the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012, which is also experimental history deploying childhood memory, everyday objects and HK’s postal history. She founded the HK-based new media art group, the Writing Machine Collective (2004- ), exploring computational thinking and contemporary art. The Floating Projects is her latest experiment on modes of sustainability in art-making.
As an activist artist-scholar, Lai occasionally plays the role of advocate curator to advance deeper understanding between art and technology, such as her ITF-funded project "Algorithmic Art: Shuffling Time & Space" (2018.112-2019.01, City Hall). She is always working on the second edition of her Manifesto project to gather young videographers to articulate their position on the interventionist creationof moving images.
Linda C.H. Lai ia Artist of the Year 2017 in Media Art, awarded by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council on 11 May 2018. Her large-scale installation commissioned by the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012-13) is now permanent collection at the Power Station for contemporary art in Shanghai. In 2016-17, Video Bureau (Guangzhou, Beijing) completed archiving 26 videos of hers (2000-2015) for art and media researchers. M+ completed acquisition of 3 videos and 1 automated projection (combinatorial narrative on 3 windows) in June 2019.
- Critical Theory
- Early Cinema
- Experimental & Intermedia Art
- General Organology
- Generative Art
- Media Archaeology
- Phenomenology (Research Methodology)
- Visual Ethnography