This article is a report of an ongoing performative research project conducted by the author in the capacity of an experimental historian–cum–fellow artist to the research subjects. Performative research is meant to be deconstructive: enacting the “what-if-we-talk” point of departure, the researcher and her subjects reopen established conclusions and definitions and examine (rules of) inclusions and exclusions in the local art paradigm. The main tasks and methods that form the performative research are (re) naming, inscription, dialogues, and thick description. The author engaged female artists in conversations to solicit their self-portrayal as artists, or not; the importance of womanhood to their life and art making; and their use of feminism. The exchanges with six artists discussed here reveals the complex positions Hong Kong women occupy in sustaining artistic creation and innovation in Hong Kong, which reopens such questions as what is an artist and what is art making. This research supports a picture of art as being more about the process and the here-and-now moment than the final art object. Women’s art as a research framework productively points to a pervading mode of artistic practice that highlights collaboration, networking, and the making of relations, events, and situations. This performative approach also invokes all artists to become theory makers of their own practice.
Contemporary “Women’s Art in Hong Kong” Reframed: Performative Research on the Potentialities of Women Art Makers
Linda Chiu-han Lai is a Hong Kong–based academic, artist, and historian working at the intersections of experimental moving images, contemporary and media art, the history of everyday life, and media archaeology. She is associate professor at the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong, founder and artistic director of the new media research group Writing Machine Collective, and experimenter of the self-funded art space Floating Projects. She is also an advocate curator for videography and arts-technology dialogues. A recent published research-activist project is Videography. Micro Narratives. Temporal Beings. Our Manifestos (2018), a collection of critical statements and digital video works on experimentation with moving images.
Linda Chiu-han Lai; Contemporary “Women’s Art in Hong Kong” Reframed: Performative Research on the Potentialities of Women Art Makers. positions 1 February 2020; 28 (1): 237–274. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-7913132
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