Just off the heels of her latest highly acclaimed album, ‘Losing, Linda’, Melbourne experimental pop / electronic and performance artist, Sui Zhen, reveals her surreal new video “Another Life”. The video’s inspiration was from a still in Eric Rohmer’s Renaissance period film, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, she tells Talkhouse who debuted the video. “The whole piece was conceived as part of a greater whole which appears in the album’s in the Living Memory website – the digital ecosystem created by Sui Zhen herself that aims to create an online world for listeners where they can interact in real time with Linda.”
‘Losing, Linda’ is a lovingly personal and humanistic document of our ever-changing world, the things we lose along the way, and the insights we gain from loss itself.
Melbourne’s Sui Zhen zooms in on the intersections between human life and technology – how to exist in the digital age, as well as the ways in which we risk losing true sight of ourselves in the process. ‘Losing, Linda’, pairs her signature inquisitiveness with a surreal electronic pop that possesses a dreamlike quality: vivid, uncanny, and upon close examination, revealing of deep emotional and personal truths. It’s an album that examines loss on multiple levels – from the death of our loved ones, to our widespread societal tendency to disappear within the ones and zeroes of modern life’s tech-driven rush.
‘Losing, Linda”s creation began back in 2016 when she took up an artistic residency in Sapporo, Japan. Zhen originally came to the residency equipped with demos conceived in the wake of her preceding breakout record, Secretly Susan – but real-life tragedy intervened, as her mother was diagnosed with cancer. In the process, a sense of overall mortality was unmistakably infused into the thematic structure of Losing, Linda.
On ‘Losing, Linda’, Sui Zhen takes the theoretical form of Linda, a digital doppelgänger and avatar invoking the e-learning channel Lynda and its founder Lynda Weinman, as well as the humanoid robot BINA48. The character of Linda is personified on the album’s cover by choreographer and colleague Megan Payne, whose literal embodiment of Linda interrogates the disembodiment of online life, and calls into question the possibility of death in the digital age.
The album is also accompanied by a digital ecosystem, aiming to create an online world for listeners where they can interact in real time with Linda. “It’s somewhere between a ghost, a memory, and a digital assistant” Sui Zhen explains. In other words, a perfect evocation of what ‘Losing, Linda’ represents thematically and musically: a trip through the real and the uncanny. ‘Losing, Linda’ is a lovingly personal and humanistic document of our ever-changing world, the things we lose along the way, and the insights we gain from loss itself. You can see the first stage of the digital ecosystem here: https://livingmemory.suizhen.com.au
Sui Zhen Live Dates: 18/10: Canberra, AU – Sideways* 19/10: Sydney, AU – Freda’s 25/10: Hobart, AU – Altar 9/11: Melbourne, AU – Peel Street Festival* 16/11: Melbourne, AU – Scienceworks* 30/11: Tocumwal, AU – Strawberry Fields Festival* *Solo Live