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Ming-Yuen S. Ma was born in Buffalo, New York, and was raised in Hong Kong. He was educated at Columbia University and California Institute of the Arts. After producing experimental media for more than fifteen years, Ma recently shifted his focus to research and writing. As co-director (with Carol Stakenas), he recently realized Resolution 3, which included a 3-day symposium, a traveling exhibition, and Resolution 3: Global Networks of Video (co-edited with Erika Suderburg). He is also the co-editor (with Alexandra Juhasz) of the Moving Image Review of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Ma is currently working on a book, There is No Soundtrack: Theorizing Aural Cultures Through Experimental Media, exploring the relationships between sound culture, crtical theory and experimental media.

Ma's videotapes Sniff (1997), Slanted Vision (1995), Toc Storee (1992), and Aura (1991) have screened national and internationally. His recent media projects include the Xin Lu Project, including the four videos: [os] (2007), Movements East—West (2003), Mother/Land (2000), and Myth(s) of Creation (1997), which use personal and family history to explore the shifting identities of peoples in movement - as tourist, traveler, immigrant, refugee, exile. In 2006, Ma conceived and organized the ReCut Project, a weekly live art series that presented eight contemporary interpretations of Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (1964).  The ReCut Project was a part of the exhibition Draw a Line and Follow It at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). An essay on the project by Ma was published in the anthology Perform, Repeat, Record: A Critical Anthology of Live Art in History, edited by Adrian Heathfield and Amelia Jones, 2012. Other recent hybrid media projects include THIS IS NOT A FOREIGN FILM (2002) an 18-hour installation and performance, based on Pasolini's notorious film SALO, created for Platinum Oasis, an art/performance event curated by Ron Athey and Vaginal Davis, and held at the notorious Coral Sands Motel in Hollywood; Untitled: Video Self Portraits (2002), a collaboration between Ma and his students at Pitzer College with artists Amitis Motevalli and Dorit Cypis' Kulture Klub LA, created for the exhibition Democracy When!? Activist Strategizing in Los Angeles.  Ma has received grants from Art Matters, Inc., Brody Arts Fund, California Digital Arts Workshop, Durfee Foundation, Long Beach Museum of Art, WESTAF/NEA, and others.

Media critics and theorists including Laura Marks, Glen Mimura, Nguyen Tan Hoang, Roger Garcia, Bérénice Reynaud, Holly Willis, and Xiaojing Zhou have written about Ma's media productions. Most recently, Asian American scholas Peter Feng published Tongue Twisters: The Travelogue Videos of Ming-Yuen S. Ma in the journal Camera Obscura. Ma himself has an essay, Specters of Memory: An Artist Statement (Displaced) included in Hong Kong Screenscapes, (2011) edited by Gina Marchetti and Tan See-Kam. Other recent publications include Vital - Live Art by Artists of Chinese Descent, edited by Sarah Champion, and the journals X-TRA: Contemporary Art Quarterly, Release Print, and Corpus. Ma was interviewed for Video On The Loose: FREEWAVES and 20 Years of Media Arts, a book and DVD collection, as well as the documentary Dragon Ladies and Kung-Fu Masters: Reconstructing Asian American Sexuality (sexTV), and the ACT UP Oral History Project.

As an arts administrator, Ma has directed the LA Freewaves Festival of Independent Video and New Media (1998), coordinated UCLA's Electric Shadows: A Pan-Asian Film Festival (1997), and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (1995/6).  As an independent curator, Ma has organized numerous media arts programs for venues including Artists' Television Access, MIX/NYC, CalArts, San Francisco Asian American Film Showcase, and Los Angeles Festival. He has served on grant panels for organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation, Creative Work Fund, Durfee Foundation, American Film Institute, Visual Communications' Armed with A Camera Fellowship, and City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department.  Ma has served on the boards of directors for Foundation for Art Resources, Inc. (FAR) and Highways Performance Space, as well as LACE’s Artist Advisory Board (LAB).

Ma is a Professor in Media Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, and the Chair of Intercollegiate Media Studies (IMS) at the Claremont Colleges. He is also a core faculty in the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies (IDAAS) at the Claremont Colleges.