Experimental electronic / pop and performance artist Sui Zhen has revealed her latest single, “Being A Woman” off her forthcoming new album ‘Losing, Linda’ – out September 27 via Cascine.
Sui Zhen explains, “I don’t know quite where this song came from but it is probably older than the story of this album. The threat of losing my mother, the person who birthed and raised me triggered these sentiments. It was just before all the #metoo stuff started coming out and I was feeling sad but empowered as if a veil had lifted – perhaps this is one of the positive impacts of grief. I recognised the ways in which I had repressed myself and was able to step away from toxic relationships and step closer to projects and people that had my best interests at heart. Perhaps one of the final pieces of this was reconciling with how I identified within myself. Looking back now, I realise I was only fully able to acknowledge my queerness since Mum’s passing. I think there’s a lot of identity baggage that gets tied up in lineage. I’m still unpacking my thoughts around this. The sense of duty, obligation and function that comes with living in a female body is both heavy and powerful. It takes so much strength to live a life as a woman.”
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, Lindarepresents 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:
23/09 Melbourne, AU -11:30AM – Live to Air on 3RRR Radio
27/09 Sept: Melbourne, AU – 6:00PM Instore – Skydiver Records*
13/10: Melbourne, AU – Howler
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*
Losing, Linda track list:
1. Another Life
2. Natural Progression
3. Matsudo City Life (stream)
4. I Could Be There
5. Mountain Song
6. Being A Woman (stream)
7. Different Places
8. Perfect Place (video)
9. Night River Rider
Follow Sui Zhen:
Pre-order Losing, Linda – Website – Facebook – Instagram – Twitter