An Interview with Lynn Lu
by Jenny Suhonen
Lynn Lu wants to make an impact to at least one person with her art. She wants to make work that “stays in the minds and hearts of the people she encounters”. She aims to create experiences that resonate personally with the audience. The experience can be difficult or challenging, but it is always engaging in a meaningful way.
I met Lynn Lu in an atelier -apartment in Turku. I spent one hour and a half with her and we talked about many things. I recorded our discussion with my camera but I had run out of memory space after 14 minutes. I didn’t see that happen before the end of our time together. However I remember that word “context” came out several times during our discussion.
I was curious of how she finds her subjects, what is her starting point in creation? She told me, that she primarily works in response to invitations and commissions, which provide a clear context within which to create.
The word CONTEXT (in this context) is:
a cultural context.
But also context is the space where the piece is going to be exhibited and/or executed.
Context is also the kind of audience there is going to be: are they paying to see the performance/work, or are they innocent passer-byers on the street who don’t have any idea what is happening around them?
And the context is also the theme that the event/festival/exhibition is about.
I am interested in failing, as failure cannot be excluded when talking about performance art: I asked how she handles failures, or does she fail? Lynn’s work often uses audience as material so she has to be aware of different ethical aspects: while working with the piece and before performance she separates herself from the piece and places herself among the audience. She lives the performance through all possible scenarios: she doesn’t want to be taken by surprise while performing. Lynn tells, that she tries to be prepared to all different reactions that the audience – or herself – is possible to have during the performance.
In her art Lynn often presents content in a way that it can only be perceived in fragments, so that the audience can make new and unexpected meanings. She collects material from the place she is going to make the work for – from the context. That can be content collected from audience, such as stories of greatest personal embarrassment and mortification or their personal love stories, or it can also be material that she finds from the culture, such as local folklore or proverbs, historical happenings or mythological beliefs. She turns those into performances and/or installations that often also require participation from the audience.
I see Lynn’s work also personal. She uses themes from her own life – and especially current life situations. But she does it in a way that is universal – and is included inside the context that she is working with.
Lynn Lu wants to make an impact to at least one person with her art. She aims to create experiences that resonate personally with the audience. The experience can be difficult or challenging, but it is always engaging in a meaningful way.