“The Life & Death Of Elle Peril”
“The Life & Death Of Elle Peril” presents a five-year experiment on persona. In the wake of revenge porn and cyber harassment, Lena Chen suffered from post-traumatic stress symptoms (depression, anxiety, paranoia, and hypervigilance) which impaired her ability to function socially and professionally. In 2013, she moved to Berlin and invented an alternate identity as nude model Elle Peril. Through ritualized acts of undressing and posing for (mostly male) strangers, Elle Peril functioned as a coping mechanism, survival tactic, and form of ad hoc therapy allowing the artist to reclaim agency over her body and personal narrative.
Lena Chen explores gender, identity, and trauma through text and performance. Since 2008, an anonymous Internet stalker has harassed Chen, her family, friends, and associates using tactics such as “Google-bombing” and doxxing. As one of the earliest documented cases of revenge porn and cyberstalking, her experience has been studied by academic researchers and covered in the press.
Chen received a degree in sociology from Harvard University in 2010. As an activist for reproductive freedom and women’s rights, she has been featured in mainstream media outlets and invited to speak at Oxford, Yale, Stanford, and SXSW. She is based in Berlin, where she curates participatory art projects and organizes events on creative activism.
“The Life & Death Of Elle Peril” is part of the long-term curatorial project ‘Yellow Matters’ by SOMA Art Gallery Berlin and is supported by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa Berlin (Senate Department for Culture and Europe Berlin).
Curator : Nabi Nara
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All Photos by Sophie le roux