‘Society Has Become the Biggest Panopticon’: An Interview with Shu Lea Cheang

‘Society Has Become the Biggest Panopticon’: An Interview with Shu Lea Cheang

2019

In Frieze, Issue 203, with Shu Lea Cheang.

Frieze Issue 203 May 2019

I first met Shu Lea Cheang in the summer of 2011 at Medialab-Prado in Madrid. We were taking part in a residency on the theme of ‘devisualize’, which aimed to resist digital control technologies and push back against the god-trick of software visualization. During the residency, a manifesto was collectively written that called for a post-anatomical body and the reconfiguration of visibility in technical systems. In the lab, amid 3D printers, naked performers and hacked computers, Shu Lea and I were at work on new projects. I was just starting the first prototypes of what would become my ‘Facial Weaponization Suite’ (2011–14): a series of masks that thwart biometric facial recognition technologies. Shu Lea had a frenetic team of young queers and techies about her as they worked relentlessly on UKI (2009–14), a game and performance about queer infiltration and viral outbreaks.

Publisher