On the Individualistic Artist and Collectives in Organising Art Events: An Interview with Lee Wen

Lee Wen, C. J. W.-L. Wee


I see performance art as another medium of visual art practice. Like others with a fine-arts background, I tend to look at the medium of performance art as an extension of the two dimensions of drawing or painting, and of the three dimensions of sculpture. This ‘extension’ is then a move towards including the multi-dimensionality of performance art that will include time, space and body specificities. In later experiences, I came to realise that there are more permutations and hybrid possibilities beyond the time, space and bodily extensions, and that the complexities are immense as our constant search for new experiences lead us to experiment with film, video, sound, internet and the other technologies that engross our evolving contemporary society. 

As an artist who has participated in these complexities of performance in institutionally organised events and in events organised by independent artists internationally, I see the need for both types of events. Our artistic or other agendas often are not as transparent as is claimed in terms of criteria for inclusions and exclusions of participation, and our aspirations for fair representations for these events in terms of intercultural exchange is like an osmosis of power relationships that offer better possibilities of building a peaceful world of co-existence than a single penny spent on the military and fear-inducing instruments of social control such as immigration checks and border controls, censorship, surveillance of a population, and so forth.

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