. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

Shu Lea Cheang’s UKI

Posted by | gfung | Posted on | April 10, 2024

Wednesday, April 10, 6:00 p.m.

Join artist and filmmaker Shu Lea Cheang for the Chicago premiere of UKI (2023), an exhilaratingly queer science-fiction epic of corporate surveillance, contagion, sex, and biotechnology.

Shu Lea Cheang, UKI, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

In her latest feature, pioneering media artist Shu Lea Cheang mixes 3D animation and live action to create an exhilaratingly queer science-fiction epic of corporate surveillance, contagion, sex, and biotechnology. Residents of a city beset by a viral epidemic discover that the pharmaceutical firm GENOM has been harvesting data about their sex lives to develop a drug that will bring the population under its control. Meanwhile, one of GENOM’s humanoid data collectors, dumped into a toxic e-waste site, mutates into the virus UKI. Backed by mutants, castoffs, and the city’s infected activists, UKI sets out to sabotage the firm’s authoritarian ambitions. Drawing from her experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and ‘90s, Cheang imbues UKI with the power, in her words, “to mobilize, to infiltrate, to subvert.” 

2023, Shu Lea Cheang, Germany / USA, 86 min.
In English / Format: Digital

Presented in partnership with Video Data Bank.

About the artist

Born in Taiwan and now based in Paris, Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker whose work aims to re-envision genders, genres, and operating structures. She began her career as a member of activist media collectives Paper Tiger TV and Deep Dish TV. Later, as a celebrated pioneer of Net Art, her work Brandon (1998–99) became the first-ever web-based artwork commissioned and collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Since 1994, she has produced four feature films, Fresh Kill (1994), I.K.U. (2000), Fluidø (2017), and UKI (2023), which encompass a new genre she calls “Scifi New Queer Cinema.” In 2019, she represented Taiwan at the Venice Biennale with the mixed media installation, 3x3x6. Over the years, Cheang has participated in many renowned international biennials, including Performa 19, New York; the 11th Taipei Biennial; the 50th and 58th Venice Biennale; and the 1992 and 1994 Whitney Biennials among others. Her works are included in the world’s key permanent collections for contemporary art, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and DSL collection, Paris. 


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