Lena Chen explores identity, trauma, and sexuality through participatory performances, interactive installations, and confessional texts. An early victim of revenge porn, cyberstalking, and online misogyny, Chen's experience received wide press attention. To address post-traumatic stress, she moved to Berlin and created an alternate identity as nude model "Elle Peril” (2012-2017). Through ritualized acts of undressing and posing for strangers, the durational performance allowed her to reclaim agency over her body and personal narrative.
Her works are exercises in exhibitionistic vulnerability toeing the thin line between victimhood and survival, intimacy and isolation, empowerment and objectification. The participatory installation Cybopticon.life (2018) hires individuals to manufacture live-streamed performances for clients, exploring the commodification of digital identity and parallels to the gig economy, artistic labour, and sex work. The Peace Temple (2017) transformed a disused nightclub in Dnipro, Ukraine into a place of worship, where local residents conducted rituals and shared statements for peace.
Chen's work has been funded by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, Berlin's Senate for Culture and Europe, and Puffin Foundation. She has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, Glamour, and VICE and has spoken at SXSW, Yale, Stanford, and Oxford. She holds a B.A. in sociology from Harvard University.