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Shu Lea Cheang Selected as the 2024 LG Guggenheim Award Recipient

  • Date:2024-04-05

Taiwanese renounced artist Shu Lea Cheang is selected as the 2024 LG Guggenheim Award recipient. The Net art pioneer, whose interdisciplinary practice spans over thirty years, is the second award recipient to be recognized as part of the LG Guggenheim Art and Technology Initiative, a five-year, multifaceted collaboration designed to research, honor, and promote artists working at the intersection of art and technology. Cheang was selected by an international jury of experts in art and technology and will receive an unrestricted honorarium of $100,000 in celebration of her groundbreaking achievements in this field.

Shu Lea Cheang (b. 1954, Taiwan), an American-Taiwanese-French artist and filmmaker, has carved her own path as a visionary. She has engaged emerging technologies (often since their inception) in innumerable forms—including as a theme, tool, and medium—since the 1990s, and developed a remarkable understanding of their complexities, as well as insight into their role in shaping society. Her use of code, gaming engines, software design, and hacking strategies and traditional mediums like installations, film, and performance in her multifaceted projects reflect her unique approach to artmaking and reject neat categorization.

Cheang is celebrated as a Net art pioneer with Brandon (1998–99), the first web art commissioned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and she represented Taiwan with 3x3x6, a mixed-media installation at 2019 Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times. In addition to her pioneering work in Net art, she has had foresight into alternative currencies and decentralized organizations with Garlic=Rich Air (2002–), investigated gamified societies with Bowling Alley (1995), probed biotechnologies in Locker Baby Project (2001–2012) and explored their mutable nature in Mycelium Network Society (2017–).

Her work weaves sensorial experiences with technology and is deeply rooted in her interests in science fiction, queer aesthetics, and community building. Her explorations of social structures in networked societies have advanced understandings of the circulation of information and the ways in which people communicate. She has utilized analog communication tools in Those Fluttering Objects of Desire (1992–93), movement sensors and data management systems in BabyPlay (2001), to develop an alternative technological approach based on shared production. She is also an accomplished filmmaker and has produced and directed four feature-length films: Fresh Kill (1994), I.K.U. (2000), Fluidø (2017), and UKI (2023). Cheang’s installation, Utter (2023), is an example of how she has turned her attention to the societal implications of machine learning in recent years.

 “The LG Guggenheim Award revives an honorable tradition of the electronic industry’s support for art and technology. To be recognized by an assembly of diverse jury members grants me tremendous confidence in continuing and expanding my art practice. I thank all my collaborators on every one of my projects,” said Shu Lea Cheang.

A public program in the Peter B. Lewis Theater on May 2 will serve as an opportunity to hear from the artist directly as she discusses her creative practice, as well as new works in development. In addition, her film FRESH KIll, 30 years after Berlinale premiere in 1994, is restored in 4k scan and a brand new 35mm film print, will be screened at Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 9th at 7:00 PM. Shu Lea Cheang will attend Q&A following the screening.

Jury Statement

“Shu Lea Cheang’s oeuvre was exceptional among outstanding nominees. Her dynamic works present bursting energy, mesmerizing color palettes, and highly complex, playful, and aesthetically pleasing installations. In those, she renders the porousness between the physical and digital domains, offering empowering amalgamations for audiences to engage with.

Drawing inspiration from science-fiction literature and film as well as gaming, Cheang’s projects and experimentations in the fields of art and technology present a fascinating overview of advanced technologies. She continuously offers new understandings of technological changes and their effects on our societies and her expansive output is, and will remain, highly influential for generations. We are honored to support her groundbreaking practice through this prestigious award.”

About the LG Guggenheim Art and Technology Initiative

The LG Guggenheim Art and Technology Initiative is a five-year, multifaceted collaboration between the Guggenheim and LG designed to research, honor, and promote artists working at the intersection of art and technology. Unique in its areas of concentration and approach, the initiative is an unprecedented investment in technology as an artistic medium. It enables the Guggenheim to broaden its investigations into this innovative field, providing essential support to the visionary artists who inspire new understandings of how technology shapes, and is shaped by, society.