Interview with Teng Xue

He “sculpts” with shadows, merging identities and dreams into fluid realms where souls commune in silent resonance, transcending time and space.

He “choreographs” with identity and technology, where boundaries dissolve and empathy blooms in the interplay of mediums.

Born: Lanzhou, China
Now: London, UK

@teng_10_x | | Vimeo


Teng, you use interactive storytelling, combining digital and real-world elements. What led you to this “medium”?

For me, interactive storytelling that merges digital and real-world elements isn’t just a medium; it’s a reflection of my multidimensional identity and creative journey. Growing up as an Asian queer individual, I’ve always found myself navigating diverse spaces and narratives, both tangible and virtual.

My background in architecture, Asian queer sociology, Chinese philosophy, and interaction design has fueled my exploration of unconventional paths within the creative field. Through interactive storytelling, I’m able to create spaces where audiences can engage not just with the artwork, but with each other, with themselves and me on multiple levels. I also strongly believe that technology offers a powerful tool for amplifying human connection and empathy, which is a topic in my art. By integrating digital elements into real-world environments, I’m able to deepen the emotional resonance of my storytelling, fostering meaningful connections between individuals and the spaces they inhabit.

Ovah Exosketelon, digital art

What inspires you, and what is the theme of your creative work?

My inspirations for creative work stem from three main sources. Firstly, my personal experiences, particularly as a queer individual navigating both Asian and Western societies, as well as my immersion in queer subculture, profoundly influence my artistic perspective. Secondly, I draw inspiration from darkness, symbolizing the hidden aspects of the world and my own nightmares, which serve as fertile ground for exploration and introspection. Lastly, some of my creative endeavours are also fueled by an aspiration to transcend human connection and empathy, using new media art as a medium to bridge divides and foster understanding in an interconnected world. Together, these elements shape the theme of my work, which delves into the complexities of identity, society, and the human experience, while striving to illuminate the hidden, forge connections, and provoke contemplation.

Your visual works serve as pieces of a narrative, complementing each other to reveal the complete story. How immersive do you intend to make the viewer’s experience? “Ovah” looks like a great short film!

Thank you for your insightful observation regarding the immersive nature of my visual works, particularly “Ovah”. Immersion is indeed a central aspect of my artistic vision. My intention is to envelop viewers in an experiential journey that transcends traditional boundaries between audience and artwork. In the “Ovah” series and my other visual works, I strive to create an immersive environment where participants become active participants in the narrative unfolding before them. Each piece within my visual oeuvre is intricately connected, contributing to a larger narrative tapestry. By complementing each other, these pieces deepen the viewer’s engagement and understanding of the overarching story. Whether through XR experiences, experimental film, installations or other forms of visual expression, my goal is to craft experiences that resonate on both an intellectual and emotional level, leaving a lasting impact on the viewer’s psyche.

Continuing on the theme of interactivity and cultural intersections, can you share how the idea to establish the artistic and technological Elixirt Studio came about? What is the project’s goal, and why did you decide to base it in such different locations like London and Shanghai?

The inception of Elixirt Studio stemmed from a desire to bridge artistic expression with technological innovation, reflecting the intersections of culture and creativity. The studio’s name, a fusion of “Elixir” and “Trix,” embodies Eastern philosophy and craftsmanship. “Elixir” symbolizes a mystical cure, while “Trix” signifies playful artistry. Together, they encapsulate the studio’s goal: to craft imaginative experiences that inspire and “cure” through art.
Choosing London and Shanghai as base locations was deliberate. Both cities offer contrasting yet complementary perspectives. London, a hub of innovation and cultural diversity, provides a fertile ground for artistic exploration and technological advancement. On the other hand, Shanghai pulsates with dynamic energy and serves as a gateway to Eastern philosophies and aesthetics.

These juxtapositions spark endless inspiration and facilitate cross-cultural dialogue within Elixirt Studio.

Let’s talk about how you present your works. You have an impressive list of exhibitions. How do audiences respond to your pieces?

Thank you again! I’m quite proud to say that audiences respond to my works with a blend of fascination and introspection. The immersive nature of my pieces, such as the”Ovah” series, “Parallel” and “Nocturnal Animals” prompts viewers to engage deeply with the themes. Feedback I got often reflects a sense of awe at the interplay of technology and storytelling, as well as appreciation for the emotional resonance of the narratives. Some viewers even express a heightened sense of empathy and self-reflection, while others are inspired to explore new perspectives on societal dynamics and personal experiences which I’m really glad to know. Also, I’m constantly seeking for improvement or better perspectives and performance of my works so I’m also grateful for all of the suggestions and advice from the audiences.

What are your plans for personal creativity and project development this year?

This year, I’m eager to continue exploring the intersections of art, technology, and culture through personal creativity and project development. For Elixirt Studio, I have several exciting projects under development, so stay tuned! Additionally, I’m thrilled to participate in Milan Design Week, Sonica Glasgow, and various galleries, showcasing both current and upcoming works. Furthermore, I’m delving deeper into the realm of NFT and web3 art from a very personal perspective, exploring new frontiers of digital creativity and decentralization.

What advice would you give to young artists who are just starting their journey? How important are location, theme, and medium?

For young artists embarking on their journey, my advice is to take your time and embrace the process of self-discovery. It’s crucial to explore different themes, mediums, and locations to find what resonates most authentically with your voice. While location can provide unique opportunities and inspirations, it’s not the sole determinant of success. Rather, focus on honing your craft and developing a distinct artistic identity. Experiment with various mediums and themes to uncover your true passion and purpose.

Remember that artistic growth is a journey, not a destination. Stay curious, stay open to new experiences, and trust in your creative instincts.

Ultimately, your unique perspective and authentic expression will shine through, regardless of location, theme, or medium.

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