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Exploring Culture and Identity Through the Female Gaze: Zhuoyun Chen’s Latest Work Pushes Boundaries in Experiment Filmmaking and Multimedia Installations

Anyone interested in exploring and being inspired by the world of experimental filmmaking and multimedia installations need look no further than rising star, Zhuoyun Chen. Based in Los Angeles, her diverse and impressive work explores culture, identity, and the female gaze. Her films have been screened in festivals, galleries, and cinemas in the US and internationally. 

Chen’s earlier films, including What’s Ours and What We Are, and UUFO, delve into the political and social aspects of modern Chinese history, offering an intimate look at the emotional and psychological impact of important historical events. Recently, she shifted her focus to exploring the female body and sexuality through a more nuanced perspective on gender and power dynamics. Her latest multimedia installation, Love Language, challenges societal norms surrounding female sexuality, offering an alternative narrative free from the confines of patriarchal expectations. This provocative installation features ceramic sculptures and moving images, providing viewers a unique and thought-provoking experience.

Another of Chen’s recent works, Only If You Could See a View Above the Clouds, explores delayed emotions by creating a visual riddle through the use of analog 16mm film, adding a unique and visceral quality that enhances the portrayal of emotions in a way that is both personal and relatable to others. Her technical expertise in production and post-production has allowed her to experiment with textures, creating an organic and tactile experience that cannot be replicated digitally. The process may be time-consuming and cost-inefficient, but for Chen, the result is worth it.

Chen views her process as an experiment rather than trying to master each medium. Her biggest challenge is continuing to create and produce work. Sustaining a creative practice over the long term requires a significant amount of effort, motivation, and discipline. Chen tries to prioritize her creative work as much as possible, setting aside dedicated time each week to work on projects, remaining flexible and resourceful, seeking out funding opportunities, and finding innovative ways to work within her budget.

This dedication and innovation have paid off, as Chen’s upcoming projects include a 16mm film and multimedia installation centered on the domestic body of women. She will also be curating two independent film screenings in Los Angeles this year, focusing on new Chinese language cinema, with the hope of developing a long-term screening series.

In addition to her artistic practices, Chen is a creative producer on award-winning animation filmmaker Zhen Li’s next film set to come out in 2024. She is also developing an independent feature with director Yanyu Dong, scheduled for release in 2025, and will continue to collaborate with artists and filmmakers such as Annapurna Kumar and Alexander Stewart on their projects as a cinematographer.

Chen hopes to take on more curatorial and creative-producing projects in the coming years, alongside her artistic practices. Her dedication to exploring culture, identity, and the female gaze through the film is inspiring and thought-provoking. Her upcoming screenings will surely draw crowds in Los Angeles and beyond.

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