Linda Lai


Doors Medley / 重重門。門對門。

2014, 6 min 59 sec


A game of montage art, Doors Medley is a re-mix of two existing work of mine – Door Game (2005, 26m) and Door Games Window Frames (2012, 11m30s), which explores visual mannerisms and formulaic structures of film melodrama of the 1960s in Hong Kong. Doors Medley highlights specifically gender paradigms embedded in popular culture. From anthropology's viewpoint, we have created drama and we also reenacted the drama we create. Popular cultural texts fine-tune specific course of events with narrative logic, which we fervently imitate to act out our daily roles. Isolated narrative fragments, as they are subject to free combination, reveal their hidden predispositions.

A Ph.D. in Cinema Studies (NYU) and Associate Professor at the City University of Hong Kong's School of Creative Media (SCM), Linda LAI has been a writer, trans-disciplinary artist and independent curator for contemporary media arts. She was the Expertise Group Leader for the School's Critical Intermedia Studies (2002-2010), and currently the Leader of the Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media.
Lai has regarded teaching as both a location for exchange with young people and that for research in pushing the limits of disciplinary boundaries. Evolving from her prime training in cultural and media/cinema studies, she has actively sought connective extension to other relevant art and cultural domains. With such an orientation, she has not only taught cultural studies subjects, contemporary art, film histories and theories, but also authored various innovative courses at SCM. For example, she started Hong Kong universities' first sonic art course in the context of contemporary art and cultural studies, as well as the course Generative Art & Literature, in which experimental literature and code-writing are examined together to illumine the nature of computational thinking. She has experimented with a new pedagogic model with her colleagues -- the "concept-driven workshop/laboratory" in which the teaching of theory and history is intensely integrated with art-making, and where a process-oriented approach re-defines artmaking as a passage of discovery through rule-driven experiments and hypothetical thinking across media. In this light, she has designed and taught a series of workshops on narrative explorations and experimentations with moving images. She also created SCM's first-year core "Writing & Creativity" in which students experience writing as the meeting point of creativity, intermedia thinking, self articulation and research.
Her critical and creative works in general have a strong concern for language and micro/meta-narrativity, grounded in a feminist sensibility that integrates critical theory, cultural studies and historiography. Her academic writings primarily interrogate the problems of history-writing. Most of her creative works have a visual, auto-ethnographic dimension. Her video art, installation and digital works have been shown in funded exhibitions in Hong Kong, and in art and film/video festivals in Oberhausen, Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Birmingham, Barcelona, Madrid, Taipei, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Kaohsiung and Seoul. [go to -> video works and other art works] Her latest major work is a mixed media installation commissioned by/for the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012.10.01 - 2013.03.31) at the Power Station, in which childhood memory, the use of everyday objects and folk material, the postal history of Hong Kong and family history form an alternative account of the Chinese Cultural Revolution from a HK point of view.

Of her various academic and sponsored publications, her personal favorites are two art-books. One is Crypto-glyph: Dialogues in Many Tongues in the Hidden Crevices of an Open City (2004) with Theresa Junko Mikuriya, a 288-page documentation of their 8 rounds of dialogues via photography and text. The book also carries her theoretical meditations on the dynamic relations between visuality and writing as a performance. Her next favorite is [Re-]fabrication: Choi Yan-chi’s 30 Years, the paths for interdisciplinarity in art (1975-2005) (2007), researched and edited for Para/Site Art Space's "Hongkong Artists in the 1980s" series. Her recent contribution includes the essay "Attempting a history of (new) media arts for Hong Kong: archaeology, literacy and education for artists" for the Hong Kong Visual Arts Yearbook 2007 (2008), a first essay of its nature to trace the fragments of events that would culminate in a history of Hong Kong's media art activities. She is currently working on two local art history book projects – on the history of expanded cinema and women artists in Hong Kong.