Shu Lea Cheang

Medium: Installation, Mobile Application, Multi Disciplinary, and Video
Issues: LGBTQ, Mapping, Transgender, Urban Space, and Violence

Project Links


WONDERS WANDER, commissioned by city of Madrid, was a location based mobi-web-serial in 2017 during Madrid Pride. Barrio Malasaña, known by Madrid residents as Maravillas (wonders), was once the countercultural hub of La Movida Madrileña (1980s) and now is hip and trendy with tourists. Departing from this Madrid Centre’s rebellious past, WONDERS WANDER, a four episode mobi-web-serial, takes the wonders out of Malasaña to explore the  off-the-mainstream nouveau queer generation that includes refugees, migrants, functional diversity, transfeminista, transfeminism, open family, subversive motherhoods, sustainable living, and the rise of auto-defense practices for self-empowerment. WONDERS WANDER takes the Madrid locals and visitors on GPS guided city-walks, from city center to peripheral Madrid, to visit the sites where documented homo-trans-phobic attacks took place. At designated hotspots along the walks, the public can download WONDERS WANDER’s filmic episodes that recount tales of current-day queer people’s resistance with relentless defiance, seductive sensuality and vigorous passion. Each WONDERS WANDER episode bases its fantasia narratives from the writings and stories of Madrid-based writers and performers. Filmed in collaboration with the residents, the refugees, the artists, and the performers, the 4-episode serial is threaded with an enormous 8 arm Octo-Senso who makes unexpected appearances to endorse power of the people united. The 60 minutes 4-episode video is distributed by Video Data Bank in Chicago.


Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker. Cheang constructs networked installation and multi-player performance in participatory impromptu mode. She drafts sci-fi narratives in her film scenario and artwork imagination. She builds social interface with transgressive plots and open network that permits public participation. Her genre bending gender hacking art practices challenge the existing operating mechanisms that impose boundaries on society, geography, politics, and economic structures. During the two decades (1980s-1990s) of living in New York city, Cheang was actively involved in media activism with collectives such as Paper Tiger TV and Deep Dish TV and engaged in ‘activated’ installations, including Color Schemes (1990, Whitney Museum), Those Fluttering Objects of Desire (1993, Whitney Biennale).  With the accessibility of the World Wide Web in the mid-90s, Cheang relocated herself to the cyberspace and created a series of projects and networked installations, including Bowling Alley (1995, Walker Art Center), Buy One Get One (1997, NTT[ICC], Tokyo) and BRANDON (1998-1999, Guggenheim Museum New York) known as the first web work commissioned and collected by the Guggenheim Museum. Initiated as digital nomad and rebooted in the Eurozone, her focus has shifted to the digital commons and open bandwidths, with network projects: Kingdom of Privacy (2002-2006, an online project with Armin Medosch and Yukiko Shikata), Burn (2003, FACT Liverpool, Venice Biennale), Garlic=Rich Air (2002-2003, Creative Time, Venice Biennale).  Her Locker Baby Project (2001-2012) starts a thread of [science] fictions in 3 parts – Baby Play (2001, NTT[ICC], Tokyo), ‘Baby Love’ (2005, Palais de Tokyo, Paris), and Baby Work (ZERO1 Biennial 2012, San Jose). She crafts her own genre of New Queer SciFi Cinema with her feature length films FRESH KILL (1994, a cybernoia film), I.K.U. (2000, a cyberpunk film) and FLUIDØ (2017, a cypherpunk film). From homesteading cyberspace in the 90s to her current retreat to post-netcrash BioNet zone, Cheang takes on viral love, bio hack in her current cycle of works. Her 3x3x6 (2019), a mixed media installation (curation by Paul B.Precciado) representing Taiwan and was exhibited at Venice Biennale 2019. Her current projects in development: ‘Unborn0x9’ with Future Baby Production hacks ultrasound echo-stethoscopes to investigate the (un)motherhood; UKI, a viral alt-reality cinema with a CNC/DICRéAM (France) development fund and a Guggenheim fellowship (2020).