I will be starting my residency at Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival next week. During my residency, I will begin my first proposition of thinking and action by being a witness and attending performances throughout the festival. During this time of witnessing, I will not make any comments on what the future of opera is. On the last three days of the festival, I will collaborate with Music Director and Conductor, Orlando Cela at The Place, where we will explore ways to get a closer understanding of Tehching Hsieh’s unique artistic approaches and to move beyond avant-garde experimental performance collaboration.

“The invisible museum is opened to you when you have opened yourself to discovery. It is a state of being.” 8 Session-Experiments

My ‘Silent Opera’ will present the six perspective on life and art offered by Tehching Hsieh’s six durational lifeworks (performed between 1978 to 1999) through a series of propositions for thinking and action. These propositions were written based on my reflections on and responses to Hsieh’s aesthetic of life and art. They contain no narrative or representational meanings.

Completion of week 1 residency on 1 August: 

It is not performance, it is not avant-garde, it is not improvisation, it is not experimental, it is not conceptual art, it is not durational, it is not new opera, it is not new work, it is not creativity, it is not production. I started by being a witness and gather a first sound of the ‘Silent Opera’.

The Work-in-Progress Performance will display the Posters and Statements from Tehching Hsieh’s five One Year Performances and one Thirteen Year Plan, which he performed between 1978 and 1999. Drawing on Hsieh’s concepts of Life is a life sentence, life is passing time, life is freethinking, I will further develop my aesthetic of silence by questioning what it means to think, love, fail, sense and become, and by “keeping absence remain” in my silent opera.

This follows on from my recent May-June “8 Session-Experiments” with 23 international Contributors from a diverse backgrounds of artists, composers, conductors, writers, curators, singers, dramaturges, choreographers and philosophers. View Contributors’ thoughts – Video Podcast, 1:18 minutes | published 13 July 2018


26 July – 18 August 2018 Li-E Chen Residency at Tête-à-Tête the Opera Festival

Li-E Chen: Proposition for a Silent Opera at an Invisible Museum – I am a museum
Thursday 16th, Friday 17th, Saturday 18th August
7.30PM – 8.30PM
Lecture Room, The Place, 17 Duke’s Rd, London, WC1H 9PY


Blog post (7 of 8) July 2018 | liechen.com/silentopera