Founded in Vienna in 2019, Mai Ling is an artist collective and association dedicated to furthering dialogues about the alienating experiences against Asian FLINT* (women*, lesbian, inter*, non-binary, and trans*) and the larger Asian diaspora in German-speaking society. Rooted in solidarity against patriarchal and racial discrimination, the group offers a protected space and expanding network for the many individuals affected by such experiences, and works to foster new forms of collaboration through food, plants, sensory comfort, nostalgia, and collectivity. Participating within contemporary Asian art and culture, Mai Ling employs a variety of artistic and discursive formats, ranging from texts, videos, sound, installations, talk series and reading groups, to performances, interventions and protests.

Mai Ling’s name refers to an eponymous television sketch from 1979 by the German comedian Gerhard Polt that showcases sexist and racial stereotypes against Asian women* in German-speaking society. In the sketch, the character “Mai Ling” is purchased from Thailand, wears a Japanese kimono, cooks Chinese food, and never speaks. Drawing from this work and addressing present-day issues that are still deeply embedded and internalized by society, we aim to re-portrait “Mai Ling,” and further challenge the Western gaze and its racial fantasies that continue to reproduce stereotypes about “Asia.”