Millie Chen studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, received her BFA Honours from York University, Toronto, and her MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University, Montreal.
Chen’s artwork has been shown across North and South America, East Asia and Europe at venues and festivals including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, The Power Plant, Toronto, Centre Culturel Canadien, Paris, Centro Nacional des las Artes, Mexico City, The Contemporary Austin, Shanghai Expo, Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, and FILE-Rio: Electronic Language International Festival, Rio de Janeiro. Her work is in several public collections and she has produced a number of permanent public art commissions. Her writing has appeared in publications in the U.K., Canada, the U.S. and China. Chen's most recent awards are an Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant and a University at Buffalo Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship, both for the project SRS (Silk Road Songbook).
A commitment to social justice drives Chen's research and practice. Her visual, audio and performative works are intended to interrupt habits of viewing. Materials, tools and methodologies are contingent on the needs of the moment, but at the core of her projects are social inquiry and the use of sensory modes of perception in generating knowledge. She explores the potency of the invisible within visuality, experimenting with materiality, the immaterial, non-visual elements such as sound and scent, and participatory, collaborative modes of working. Within her visual art practice, the act of looking is interrogated. Chen's work-in-progress, SRS (Silk Road Songbook), is an interdisciplinary project that weaves new songs of dissent into the land, broadcasting distinct, unruly voices on an ancient Eurasian migration route.