If memory is the core of our identity, what happens to our sense of self when it is lost?
I Have Lost Myself are the words spoken by Doctor Alzheimer’s first diagnosed patient with Alzheimer’s disease. When my mother was diagnosed I became her full-time carer.
The Manchester School of Art MFA Photography (2017) artist film and video installation, I Have Lost Myself and Give Me the Key, is a powerful and disturbing compilation from 300+ videos, filmed daily over 30 days, depicting the raw and honest portrait of living with dementia and the blurring of artist process.
I Have Lost Myself documents the daily rehearsals and technical experiments of Give Me the Key, filmed daily over thirty days for a future live art performance. What unfolds is the colliding of performance and the every day as the artist slowly loses her sense of self.
I Have Lost Myself is a powerful and disturbing statement on family relationships and responsibility.
I Have Lost Myself – HD Video, 28:09 minutes, color/sound
Born in Los Angeles and raised in England by Chinese and British parents, Ginger Liu’s work investigates the intersections of memory, identity, culture, and performance.
Ginger has photographed live art theatre in Los Angeles since 2007, producing thousands of images with more than eight million Flickr views since 2013. She has promoted independent film and art in Los Angeles and across the world and has produced images and text for numerous publications. In 2013, she opened GLIUSTUDIO where she produced portraits, editorial and promotional projects for artists and filmmakers in Hollywood. As Creative Director, Ginger has collaborated with burlesque and cabaret artists in Los Angeles, culminating in the ongoing GLIUSTUDIO project, Burlewood, which combines images of contemporary and classic Hollywood portraits, live performance and interviews. Ginger’s absorption in performance led to her MA Photography (2016) self-portrait series, Saudade: American – Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee; a series of composited identities lost in nostalgia and cheated Hollywood dreams. The Johanneans 1-4 is a multilayered investigation into her father’s upbringing in Shanghai during the 1920-40s and family life in America in the 1960s; including photographs, video, audio, archives and a travel memoir of a reunion and road trip across China. Dear Noni and John is the reading of more than 100 letters, written from her aunt in Liverpool to her mother in Los Angeles during the 1960s. Her Manchester School of Art MFA Photography (2017) video installation, I Have Lost Myself and Give Me the Key, is a powerful and disturbing compilation from 300+ videos, filmed over 30 days, depicting the raw and honest portrait of living with dementia and the blurring of artist process. She is currently developing her first feature which traces her mother’s memories of Liverpool and Los Angeles and a live performance of Give Me the Key.
Her work has shown at Manchester’s Holden Gallery, Liverpool’s Look International Photography Festival, London’s Photomonth, Los Angeles’s Think Tank and Perfect Exposure Gallery. She is a contributing editor of New York arts Ragazine and a consultant, writer, and promoter of independent film.
Ginger divides her time between London, Los Angeles, and Liverpool and is the founder of Ginger Media & Entertainment.
MFA Photography (2017) – Manchester School of Art
ActUpNorth Actors Workshop (2016 – ongoing )
Arts4Dementia Early-Stage Dementia Awareness Training for Arts Facilitators (2016)
BA (Hons) Contemporary Media Practice (1994) – University of Westminster
BTEC National Diploma in Photography – Southport College of Art (1990)
Holden Gallery – Manchester 2016
Edinburgh House – Manchester 2016
Accidental Archives – Manchester 2016
ThinkTank Gallery – Los Angeles 2014
Perfect Exposure Gallery: “Monday Night Tease Retrospective.” 2013. Los Angeles.
Look11 Liverpool International Photography Festival. 2011. “Hollywood.”
The Assembly Rooms London: “Strange Bedfellows.” 2010 – London Art Fairs and East London’s Photomonth Festival.
New Puppy Gallery Los Angeles: “Framed Stories.” 2010.
DRKRM Gallery Los Angeles: “The Last Picture Show.” 2009.
Finalist Federation of European Photographers. 2012. Lyon.
Silver Winner of the London Photographic Association Portraiture ‘The Nude 2’ competition.
MFA Photography – Manchester School of Art – Manchester Metropolitan University
MA Photography – Manchester School of Art (MMU)
BA (Hons) Contemporary Media Practice (Film, Media & Photography) The University of Westminster. London.
BTEC National Diploma in Photography Southport College of Art and Technology Merseyside.
Location: Venice High School, Venice, California. The exterior used for Rydell High in the 1978 film, Grease.
Portrait composite shot at GLIUSTUDIO in Hollywood.
Wardrobe: 1970s-80’s pink prom dress.
Photography, lighting, make-up, wardrobe, and performance by Ginger Liu
Saudade is a Portuguese term for a deep melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or time that has gone forever.
American is a portrait of an inveterate exploration into an identity which is defined by an intangible cultural heritage. The Saudade is for the loss of an imagined life.
I was born in the United States and grew up in England and have lived my adult life, equally between two countries. By reconstructing the past using the family album and archives, autobiographical memory, familiar and popular culture, oral and national history, I (re)invent the past using self-portraiture and digitally manipulated photographs to explore perceptions of memory, identity, and multiculturalism.
Digital Image Composite
Location: Venice High School, Los Angeles (external school shot location for the 1977 movie, Grease)
Wardrobe: Pink lace full-length prom dress