Ellen Pau Archive 鮑藹倫檔案
The archive of artist, organiser, and curator Ellen Pau provides insight into the emergence of video art in Hong Kong. It also documents her many community and artistic involvements, and through these, the development of organisations such as Videotage, the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival, and feminist and experimental art circles, as well as the LGBTQ community.
Ellen Pau（鮑藹倫）was born in Hong Kong in 1961 to a medical family. She graduated from Hong Kong Polytechnic with a professional diploma in diagnostic radiography in 1985, and worked as a radiographer and mammographer at public hospital. Parallel to her medical practice, Pau embarked on an artistic career, beginning with her first super-8 film, Glove (1984). She subsequently discovered video through serving as a camera person with Zuni Icosahedron and others, eventually acquiring her own video camera in Tsim Sha Tsui, and making a number of single-channel works, including Disenchantment of the Statue (her first video, 1987), TV Game of the Year, She Moves (both 1989), and Song of the Goddess (1992), the last of which was made following a year spent in New York on a grant from the Asian Cultural Council. As part of a broader evolution in video art, she began to incorporate sculptural and audio elements in video-based installations around the early-mid nineties, including I Can Only Tell It to Strangers (1996), shown at the Container 96 exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Recycling Cinema (2000), Pau’s contribution to Hong Kong’s debut pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2001. Throughout, Pau’s work clearly demonstrates an interest in using technological developments and media as a way to pose questions about aspects of society and politics, including gender issues.
Aside from her personal artistic production, Pau has played a central role in the promotion and development of the local art community. Following her participation in the Phoenix Cine Club while still in school, Pau co-founded Videotage with May Fung, Wong Chi Fai, and Comyn Mo in 1986, with resources and support from Zuni Icosahedron. The organisation, dedicated to video and new media, remains the city’s longest running artist space, now located in Cattle Depot, Hong Kong. In 1996, she founded the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival. Since then, she has continued with new initiatives for the new media art community, including the open source festival Wikitopia in 2010, Inter-Act Arts in 2014, and later the Hong Kong iteration for the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in 2016, as the Satellite Events Director. Pau has also at times contributed writing, and been involved with administrative roles: in 2014, Pau was appointed by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council as a representative of the Art Form Group in Film and Media Arts, and since the same year, she has served on the M+ acquisition committee until 2020.
Pau’s work has been shown in film festivals and exhibitions worldwide. Aside from instances mentioned above, her work has featured in the Deep Dish TV series “…will be televised: Video Documents from Asia” (1990), the Hong Kong International Film Festival (1990, 1993, 1997, 2000), 8th International Film Festival for Women (Spain, 1992), the first Gwangju Biennale (1995), the second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Queensland, 1996), the second Johannesburg Biennale and ”Cities on the Move” (both 1997), the Liverpool Biennial (2003), ”Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” (2017), and "”Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s-1990s” (2019). “What about Home Affairs”, a retrospective curated by Freya Chou, was on view at Para Site in 2018. Her work is in the collection of M+, Centre Pompidou, Hong Kong Museum of Art, and Griffith University (Brisbane).
The archive comprises over 1000 records organised into 18 folders. It mainly documents Pau’s career from the 1980s till the 2000s, with notable concentrations documenting her artwork and exhibitions and screenings in which she participated. Also of significance also are documents related to the organisations with which Pau has been involved, including the Phoenix Cine Club, Zuni Icosahedron, Microwave, and above all Videotage. Less well-known, but also of interest are writings by Pau, frequently published under a pseudonym.
Ellen Pau, Videotage, Microwave, Wikitopia, Inter-Act Arts
English, Traditional Chinese
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History and Project Team
Digitisation work on the archive began in March 2021, and the initial batch of 651 records were launched December 2022.
The initial organisation of the archive was done by project researcher Freya Chou. Digitisation was completed by Terrence Cheung, Archive Assistant, working with Elaine Lin, Head of Collections, and John Tain, Head of Research, with support by Lydia Lam, Collections Assistant.
Digitisation of the first phase of the Ellen Pau Archive has been made possible by the generous support of the AAA Women and Gender Diversity Fund.