Page contents
A lo-fi polaroid photo of artist Doreen Chan, sitting on a black leather sofa behind a bouquet of light pink and white flowers.A lo-fi polaroid photo of artist Doreen Chan, sitting on a black leather sofa behind a bouquet of light pink and white flowers.

Courtesy of the artist

With Doreen Chan
Date and place of birth
b. 1987, Hong Kong
Current location
New York, NY
Year(s) of residency and/or fellowship
2021, VH Award Resident

How do you characterize the media you work in?

I studied graphic design and some media art, with a focus on photography. Around the time that I headed to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to pursue a Master’s in art education, I realized that I wanted to work with more participatory art forms, and that my main interest is in daily life. I think very site-specifically based on the community, and every time I show a work it’s as if it’s a new project. Across various iterations it might take new forms or use different materials. 

How does your practice engage with technology?

I might be a bit contradictory in that I don’t like technology in general, and I typically steer away from things that are high-tech. When my work takes the form of a website for participants in different regions to access, like or, their interfaces are actually fairly low-tech. Apart from avoiding the technological barriers audiences may face, I am not keen on creating a virtual world which looks super sophisticated and aims to keep people online as long as possible. I’m more so interested in technology as a tool that helps people to access real experiences in their own lives and connect with one another.

Photo of installation of HalfDream at the 8th Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival. In the photo are two people, lying down on their front, on top of a white mattress. They both speak to each other as they read about the work.

Installation shot at HalfDream, The 8th Jimei × Arles International Photo Festival.

You were a finalist for the 4th VH Award. Can you tell me about the work that garnered you this honor?

Around the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, I started to vividly remember all of my dreams. HalfDream, an effort to connect strangers around affinities in their dreams, emerged from this moment. In 2021, I was in the early phases of this project. I had just set up the HalfDream website, which was in the testing phase. With the site, you can use text, images, drawing, or voice recordings to upload a dream you’ve had, and AI matches you to a stranger based on similarities or overlaps in your dreams. Once matched, you’re invited to do an exercise together for 5 to 7 days. I wanted people who might hold different beliefs or come from different backgrounds to be able to share their dreams with one another and thereby relate. I made a video work, HalfDream (2021), exploring these strange and intimate connections and congruences.

What was your focus during your time at Eyebeam? Was there a culminating project?

As I worked on HalfDream during the residency, I attended regular meetings where I was exposed to a lot of diverse thinking about technology, and given valuable insight into the many ways in which artists use technology to realize their concepts.

How has dialogue or collaboration with Eyebeam artists and alumni factored into your work?

During my time at Eyebeam, conversations with visiting experts and other residents helped me to determine my position in my project. I decided that it was essential to treat each dream like the individual, personal story that it is, and to consider the feelings of the dreamer, instead of treating the dreams as detached data. I continue to be engaged in stimulating conversations with members of the cohort; for example, [VH Award Resident 2021] Syaura Qotrunadha and I are often in touch about what we are working on.

How do you think about the role of the artist in society?

For me, the artist is deeply linked to society. We’re often observing others, and our feelings and reactions on that front can give rise to or influence our art. With my work, I’m hoping to do something that is ultimately beneficial to society and helps people to connect.

Eyebeam models a new approach to artist-led creation for the public good; we are a non-profit that provides significant professional support and money to exceptional artists for the realization of important ideas that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Nobody else is doing this.

Support Our Work