Chang Ting-Tong (b.1982) was born in Taiwan and received his MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London. He currently lives and works in London. Chang creates large-scale installation works that look to analyze the relationship between science, technology and society. Chang purposefully builds his installations to be like ‘machines’, the themes explored in Chang’s installations echo his early life in a Chinese society focused on manufacturing, exportation and the materialism associated with an industrial area. When Chang moved to the UK, his artistic style evolved to address the wider issues of consumerism in Western society and the environmental concerns that have stemmed from this dichotomist relationship. Chang describes his journey to UK as the move from one machine to another, from the production of products and the resulting pollution to a machine that generates profit and crisis. For Chang, the machine is a metaphor for a society where products, political discourse, and ideologies are produced. This relationship is revised using everyday materials and found objects in a way that stimulate new perspectives from which to perceive contemporary culture.
commission of Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester
Chang’s process thrives on the tension between planned and random elements encountered through his live installations. The use of local construction materials by means of an abusive interaction with external arbitrary factors like time and natural conditions produces an installation that forsakes any predetermined output. All that emerges from these collaborations is embraced as part of the working process and become the fundamental tools redefining conventional notions. According to Chang, “The conventional idea is that machines are productive and efficient in order to take the place of a human.” Pairing grandiose with pathetic, he challenges this notion by making machines closer to what he sees as humans: anxious, quirky, idiosyncratic, and often unproductive. Based on the operation of his current creative practice, he uses his sense of humor to turn his thoughts of everyday happenings into a comedic performance about these human characteristics.
Chang has exhibited and received a number of awards internationally including the 6th Taipei Biennial (Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2008), Forum Biennial (Taipei Contemporary Art Center, 2010), European Performance Art Festival (Warsaw Centre for Contemporary Art, 2011), III Moscow Biennial for Young Arts (Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2012) and Bristol Biennial (2014). As the recipient of the Creative Initiative Award 2013-14, Chang held a solo exhibition in Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (ESW). In 2015, Chang will present his solo project “Whence Do You Know the Happiness of Fish?” in Kunst Kraft Werk, Leipzig, Germany.