Eugenia Lim

My work gives form to the interconnected nature of us and them—breaking down binaries and polarities. I seek to question the absurdity and inequity in systems of global capital, power and control.

Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist of Chinese–Singaporean descent who considers the personal within the geopolitical. Her works across video, performance and installation use the body as material to explore how stereotypes, national identities, consumption and capital flows cute, divide and bond our globalised world. Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Tate Modern, Dark MOFO, ACCA, Melbourne Festival, Next Wave, GOMA, ACMI, firstdraft, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), FACT (Liverpool), Ballarat Foto Biennale, Samstag Museum of Art and EXiS (Seoul). She has been artist-in-residence with the Experimental Television Centre NY, Bundanon Trust, 4A Beijing Studio and the Robin Boyd Foundation. She is a 2018–2020 Gertrude Contemporary studio artist and in 2019, is the co-director (with Mish Grigor and Lara Thoms) of 25-year-old artistic company APHIDS. The Ambassador is a major tour of Lim’s recent work, initiated by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Museums and Galleries of NSW, traveling to eight venues across regional Australia in 2019–2021. Lim co-directed the inaugural Channels Festival, was founding editor of Assemble Papers and co-founded temporal art collective Tape Projects. She is the co-writer and host of ABC iView’s Video Becomes Us, an artist-made series on Australian video art. Lim holds a Bachelor of Media Arts (Honours) from RMIT and a Bachelor of Creative Arts from VCA/University of Melbourne.

Eugenia Lim works across video, performance and installation to explore how national identities, migration and capital cut, divide and bond our globalised world. With a critical but humorous eye, Lim uses her body and lens to frame the tensions of an individual within society and the alienation and belonging that coexists, particularly for gendered and marginalised bodies, within contemporary life. Her experience as a second-generation Australian drives her practice, which seeks to find solidarities and porosities of experiences across class, geographies, cultures, gender and sexualities. Lim’s work is a process of questioning: the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, and the role of art in creating space and time for agency, care and reflection within urgency and crisis. Lim’s work invites the audience to consider their complicity in complex global systems, framing the absurdity, inequity—and potential for resistance—in systems of global capital, power and control.


HD Video / 14:00 min / 2019

Made in collaboration with workers from the gig economy, ON DEMAND is a pedal-powered video work that considers work, labour, solidarity and movement (political and physical) in the neoliberal present. Living and working in 2019 brings precarity, competition and mobility – both for independent artists and ‘independent contractors’ of the gig economy. Self-exploitation, low wages and zero-hour contracts are shared terrain for many workers in both the cultural and service sectors.

Five workers of the gig economy (‘independent contractors’ for companies such as Uber, Airtasker and Foodora) answered the artist’s call out for ‘worker–performer’ collaborators. The worker–performers have diverse backgrounds: a family history of union and labour politics; a privileged upbringing in Pakistan; a degree in psychology; volunteer work with asylum seekers; a member of a death metal band; and artistic practice in photography and writing. Each worker–performer was interviewed by the artist, and their words and experiences appear in edited form in the work’s voiceover, as do the worker–performers themselves in the video. Lim paid each worker–performer the Australian Miscellaneous Award 2010 rate plus a provision for superannuation for their time – a gesture towards fair work conditions not generally a guarantee for gig workers and independent artists alike. This video work is the result of their collective negotiation – of stories, histories, movements and bodies. Lim finds a space for herself within this negotiation, inspired by work of artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles and her pioneering ‘work ballets’ and ongoing work as unsalaried artist-in-residence with the New York Sanitation Department.

Pedal-powered installation
4K video, sound, 14 minutes
Bicycles, battery, monitors

When installed, this is a pedal-powered work. The viewer is invited to sit on a bicycle to cycle and work up a sweat to activate the work.

Cher Tan, Alberto Vescance, Benjamin Pitt, Wasay and Darren Tan

Project crew
Director, writer, editor, worker–performer Eugenia Lim
Cinematographer Alex Cardy
Choreography Nat Cursio
Composer Becky Sui Zhen
Gaffer Hannah Palmer
Camera assistant Bonita Carzino
Colour grade Chris Tomkins
Studio angel Roslyn Helper
Production advisor Alex George
Installation technicians Paul Welch and Nathan Moore
Voiceover Eugenia Lim

Yellow Peril

HD Video / 17:59 min / 2015

Yellow Peril’ explores the impact and influence of mining and immigration on the Australian identity. Ron Robertson-Swann’s infamous Vault (1980) sculpture is the starting point for Lim’s performative and playful new video work, which features a gold Mao-suited ‘Ambassador’ sent back in time to the goldfields of the 1850s (through the historical theme park of today – Sovereign Hill). Inspired by the observational comedy of Jacques Tati’s Playtime, Yellow Peril takes a localised look at the evolving dynamics between Australia and China and the interconnected nature of our socio-economic future; the personal and political search for wealth and alluvial fulfilment.p>

Performer/director/editor: Eugenia Lim
Camera: Tim Hillier
Sound design: Dan West
Costume and props: Kat Chan and Esther Hayes


HD Video / 12:00 min / 2012

Nest explores the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori or ‘shut-in syndrome’. After experiencing a social trauma, hikikomori confine themselves to their bedrooms for days, months and in extreme cases, years on end, existing on a diet of anime, manga, gemu (video games), online chats and forums. Over one million hikikomori exist in Japan, with at least that number of family members supporting, feeding and clothing their reclusive (and typically male) child.

Nest references both the cocoon-like bedrooms of hikikomori and the Shinto myth of Amaterasu, the sun goddess, who plunged the world into darkness after retreating into a cave. Nest, features renowned Japanese butoh performer Yumi Umiumare who re-imagines a 21st century Amaterasu.

Director/concept: Eugenia Lim
Performer: Yumi Umiumare
Sound design: Dan West
Editor: Eugenia Lim
Camera: Eugenia Lim, Alice Glenn, Paul Philipson
Lighting: Paul Philipson
Costume: Kat Chan
Art direction: Eugenia Lim

A Meniscus (Between)

HD Video / 05:00 min / 2021

02:00 min excerpt