Today we’d like to introduce you to Asuka Lin.
Asuka, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in Hyogo Prefecture of Japan and lived there until I was about 5 and moved to the Bay Area. My mom is Japanese while my dad is Taiwanese, and living in America for the majority of my life has complicated how I identify myself. That confusion has formed into a well of inspiration for my filmmaking, for I aim to create films that evoke an emotional response that stems from somewhere deep inside. I preemptively studied filmmaking in various after school classes in San Francisco during my high school years, took a month-long intensive program at CSSSA, and eventually went to CalArts in Southern California to study further and received my Bachelors there. From my time at CalArts, I was challenged with many modes of filmmaking, including video installation and experimental films. It was overwhelming at first; it took me a couple of years to drill into a focus that I felt was unique to my voice. Since then, I have created various short films that have an overarching theme of magical realism, marginalization, and the diaspora.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Experiences relating to displacement and trauma can often be processed through elements of surrealism, for films about “real life” can only go so far to capture accuracy and authenticity. During painful moments of my life, I often turned to fantasy and sci-fi books to escape, finding kinship in these fictional characters that also struggled to survive through painful circumstances. That’s why a lot of my works stem from my love of magical realism; using narrative devices from folklore or urban myths to localize the plot around a very real experience. For example, a recent film I finished called “Winter Terrace”, explores three Asian Americans traversing through the unseen silent landscape of Tokyo’s nightfall while framed with made-up folklore of a fox and two river kappas. Speaking English in a country strictly for the “Japanese”, the characters stand amidst the liminal space of “American” or “Asian”; just like how the spiritual statues of Asakusa temple await for an unknown during the dead of night, remaining magically ambiguous. Hopefully, this storytelling method creates a new way of watching films that are neither purely nonfiction or fiction. By creating films like these, it speaks an untold truth of life — that it feels more surreal sometimes than it feels “real”.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
It’s almost impossible to be an artist today and not make work reflecting the current times. As a filmmaker, I believe that there is a level of responsibility that a director has when creating work that discusses current issues. Representation in films is a big point of discussion these days, but how these films are made and who makes them is a whole other side of the discourse that is often forgotten about. My interest as an artist is to explore the power dynamics behind the camera and explore why I choose the subjects I choose. In the age of mass technological accessibility where anyone can pick up a camera and make content, how can a filmmaker adapt to create work that is not didactic, and offer a new angle?
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I regularly update Instagram (@asuka_bot) whenever I have a showcase anywhere, and my Vimeo account is also accessible through my website (asuka.cloud). I’m always on my phone like the Gen Z I am so I’m very easy to reach via email or DMs if anyone has questions!
- Website: asuka.cloud
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: asuka_bot
Image Credit: Ranna Zahabi, Asuka Lin, a bluer don juan
Featuring: Monica Erande, Asuka Lin, Rose Carr, Reinabe, a bluer don juan