Artists> Featured Artists> > Chin Chih Yang

01. Quenns International 4 0a. Election project 0b. 100 Degrees
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0. Secret of 101 0. War Against AIDS/HIV 01 Free Money At Figment
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Conceptual Art - 1. [ Conceptual Art - 2. SARS ] Conceptual Art - 3. Fanaticism/Bigotry
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Conceptual Art - Taiwanese Former President Photography Painting

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Chin Chih Yang
M ultidisciplinary artist Chin
Chih Yang was born in Taiwan,
and has resided for many years
in New York City. Where he
studied at Pratt Institute and
Parsons School of Design. Among
otherhonors, he has been a
recipient of the Urban Artist
Initiative Fellowship, a fellowship
from the New York Foundation for
the Arts, a fellowship from the
Franklin Furnace, and a
fellowship from the New York
State Council for the Arts,
and the Lower Manhattan Cultural
Council has granted him a Swing Space
residency at Governors Island. An experienced
multidisciplinary artist, his interests in ecology
and constructed environments have resulted in
interactive performances and installations that
have been exhibited nationally and internationally;
in the United States, Poland, Taiwan, Singapore
and Hong Kong, he has exhibited/performed in
such spaces as: the Rockefeller Center, the
United Nations, the Union Square Park, the
Chelsea Museum, Queens Museum, the
Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Exit Art, and
Flux Factory and Taipei Art Fair, to name only a

His work uniquely incorporates the actual
rhythms and discords of human society,
exhibiting them in terms of the waste materials
wantonly discarded by industrialized
production. Finding the modern
world both disturbing and entrancing, he
aims in his work to capture the complex
state of anxiety and compulsive-fascination
specific to the contemplation of contemporary
social problems. His performances often
dramatize the divided quality of the self, and
he use video projections to create a
discordant ambience specific to the themes
of his performances.

Chin Chih Yang's work has been highlighted
in The New York Times, the Taipei Times,
CBS, NY Art Beat, the Village Voice, Time Out
New York, Flavorpill and Art Asia Pacific
magazine. NY1: its celebration of Asian-
American artists with a profile of Chin Chih and
the vivid works he makes out of mixed media.
Also, Humphrey Hawksley of BBC world news
interviewed him just last year for a special
program on NYC Artists whose work on deals
with political and social corruption. Recently he
interviewed by Art Radar Asia’s editor Kate

A great proponent of public art, Chin Chih
has enacted his projects in outdoor spaces,
including the UN, where he infamously
projected a giant Taiwanese flag onto the
building, and Union Square Park, the site of
his recent popular art event, “Burning Ice.”
He is currently working towards the
completion of a large-scale interactive
installation called “The Control of Fear,”
which will lead participants into a direct
awareness of the effects of natural and man-
made disasters on the human psyche,
engendering a consciousness of compassion
Artist's Statement
I n my most recent body of work, I address
society’s efforts to protect itself both
physically and psychologically against
catastrophes both natural and man-made,
such as pollution, surveillance, quarantine
and isolation, as well as religious and
political intolerance. Found and used objects
concurrently highlight the plenitude in our
lives and metaphorically display twisted
relationships marked by mutual dependence
and conflict. With a touch of irony, my art
invites viewers to become better acquainted
with the dark side of human nature and to
think outside the box in order to find a
collective solution to save ourselves and our
Broken Mind-interview by Art Radar Asia
C hin Chih Yang’s roving projections
challenge Art Taipei audience:
video and interview


Taiwan-born, US-based artist Chin Chih
Yang was invited by the
International Chinese Fine Arts Council
(ICFAC) to perform his
interactive work Broken Mind at Art Taipei
2011 in an attempt to
bring an “eye-opening” art experience to a
Taiwanese audience.

The new media work Broken Mind (2011) was
originally developed
by Yang during his participation in the
Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence
Program, a program supported by the New
York Foundation for the
Arts. A great proponent of public art, Chin
Chih Yang believes the
multidisciplinary interactive work was
selected by ICFAC as one of the
two pieces the non-profit organisation
showcased at Art Taipei 2011
because this kind of work “isn’t common in
the Asian art community”
as “most Asian art is highly commercial”.

Click here to watch a video documenting the
performance of Broken
Mind by Chin Chih
Yang at Art Taipei 2011, then read on for our
interview with the
artist in which he
discusses the processes and themes that lie
behind the work.

Broken Mind, broken society – interview Chin
Chih Yang

I would like to focus on the piece that you
performed at Art Taipei
2011, called Broken
Mind. Can you describe the content of the
projections in this

In general, the projection consists of images
of things that happen
in our everyday,
human world, and also of natural disasters
that are beyond our
control: man-made and
natural disasters. This includes images of
everyday vices, both
sociological and industrial,
images of, for example, drug addiction,
gambling and the waste
products that result
from certain modes of contemporary
manufacturing. Such imagery
is essential to what
Broken Mind is about thematically.

Why do you choose to deal with disasters,
man-made or natural?
Does it come back to
the ideas that you hope to explore in The
Control of Fear (2005-
ongoing), a work in
which you will look at how people respond
when confronted with a

The Control of Fear is still a work in progress
although, as far as the
technology that is
involved, Broken Mind can be considered as a
kind of offshoot of
The Control of Fear…
part one.

Broken Mind is more social, it’s an interactive
performance, while
The Control of Fear
looks at how we deal with our environment.
Broken Mind deals with
our relationship to
one another, The Control of Fear deals with
our relationship to the
natural world.

[Broken Mind] satirises the plight of the
individual in contemporary
society, showing an
exaggerated yet honest portrayal of our
confusion amidst the chaos
that surrounds us
daily. So yes, with Broken Mind I am looking
at how people respond
when confronted
with catastrophic situations, but perhaps
more so I am commenting
on how people
already respond with a bewildering
confusion, and showing that
because of this response
they cannot rationally react, stripped as they
are both of personality
and political power.
[The performance] can be considered as a
kind of caricature of how
our social
environment over-adulterates us, from the
cradle to the grave.

Broken Mind also deals with globalisation and
the fact that
individual economies can’t
catch up with the connectedness binding
different societies today.
This creates a form of
confusion, socially apparent, that the
performance takes into
account. We are
undermined because we have no time to
think about what it means
to be human. Our
future is cancelled, or at least people think
less about future
generations and the future
of the natural world.

Are you using Broken Mind as a tool to give
your audience time to

It is an interactive performance, so sure, I can
direct the content
presented to the
audience and create discussions. The
audience is provided with the
opportunity to think
about the contemporary world in a new way.
Broken Mind ensures
the issues presented
in the projected images are given a voice and
gives audiences the
chance to ‘re-think’
their world.

You have said that the ability to project while
moving, taking
moving and still image out
of a traditional theatre or gallery
environment, is important to you.
Do you use mobile
projection as a tool with which to bring these
issues into the public
domain in a
confronting way?

Exactly. [I use mobile projection] because it
brings these issues into
the public domain in
a very direct way. These issues are conveyed
to us everyday
[through television news
channels], so it makes sense to comment on
them using the same

In this performance you project your images
onto people. Can you
give me some
examples of the different reactions you
witnessed from the people
you projected images

People … like the interactivity of the
performance. The kind of
directness of Broken Mind
is unique for people, particularly as most
audience members are
expecting a
contemplative art experience. They are
shocked and surprised, and
compelled to evaluate
their prior expectations.

The images are distorted when projected
onto the various surfaces.
Does this affect the
message in any way? Was this distortion
something you considered
before beginning the

The performance is in development and,
right now, it is at a stage
where the imagery is
sometimes distorted. Embracing the
spontaneous, the
unpredictable and sometimes
even the undesirable is an essential part of
interactive art. … In the
future, Broken Mind
will be a very different kind of project.

How will the project change?

The only thing that I will keep will be the
video. The suit may
change, becoming
stationary, and the audience will eventually
be able to select the
imagery themselves. I
continually modify my projects to heighten
their level of

[Editor's note: Broken Mind has developed
from a series of projects
that used roving
projection as their primary medium. The first
of these works was
called Gordian Knot and
was performed in 2005.]

Christmas tree lights are attached to the
vehicles that you use in
each of your projection
pieces, whether that vehicle is a truck,
wheelchair or a suit that you
wear. Why do you
use Christmas tree lights in your work?

I use them to make the projects more
attractive and interesting for
the audience. The
concept of light has a symbolic value that
interests me,
[symbolising a] ‘lighting of our
future’. Lately, I have been using LEDs in
place of Christmas tree

Are LED light bulbs used on the suit that you
are wearing for your
performance of Broken
Mind at Art Taipei 2011? Can you describe
what else is attached to
the suit and why you
have chosen to use those materials?

Yes, [LEDs are attached to the suit], as are
industrial cables. … The
title of the project
derives from a phrase in Taiwanese that
refers to a mind that is
‘broken’ because it is
‘electrically shocked’. The materials used on
the suit flesh this
concept out in a physical

What is the ‘electric shock’ the project
attempts to deal out? Is it
embodied in the images
and ‘realities’ that you are projecting?

The phrase refers to confusion in general:
astonishment or sudden
mental pain.

[Editor's note: Chin Chih Yang also stated
that the origins of the
meaning of this
Taiwanese expression stem from a Japanese
saying, translated from
English, that means
'the head has experienced a short circuit'.]

How does this expression relate to the
concepts you explore in
Broken Mind?

There is not a one-to-one correspondence
between the concepts in
Broken Mind and
those of the expression. My Taiwanese
background and my
American experiences are the
vehicles for my ideas. The phrase, and the
way in which I draw
inspiration from it, is a
part of that experience.

You mentioned earlier that audience
interaction is an integral part
of your work and your
practice overall. What do you talk to your
audiences about? Do you
respond directly to
the questions that people ask you?

In this modern, high-tech lifestyle, we tend to
miss out on face-to-
face encounters with
others. Face-to-face interaction is important
for my practice
because it works against
the alienation that is typical of our time.
Traditional art creation and
display … is not
enough to make contemporary audiences pay
Contemporary artists need to
learn to communicate with their audiences!

People ask why I create performance work,
and how I can possibly
market or sell the
kind of art works that I produce. These
questions can be answered
easily if one reflects
on my tendency to confront, through my art,
the ills of
industrialised commercialisation
and on how, in a way, I challenge the status
quo by using the
detritus of mass
consumption as the raw material for my art.

Is performance your preferred medium?

My projects are not just performances;
performance is just one
element of my work. I
would prefer that my work be called
‘multidisciplinary’ because I
use many media in the
same project. What kind of media? I will use
whatever medium I
need to in order to
communicate my ideas.

How do you typically document your

My work needs to be documented using
video and photography.
Sometimes I document
my work in ways that may seem strange or
crude. … Many people
have suggested that I
find a professional photographer or
videographer to work with, but
I am happy with way
in which I currently document my work. I
want my audiences to see
life as it goes
through its own independent processes, in
whatever form or
manner it eventually

About Chin Chih Yang

Originally from Banciao in Taiwan, Chin Chih
Yang (b. 1956) is a
multidisciplinary artist
with interests in public art, ecology and
constructed environments.
He has lived in
America for over thirty years and holds a
Bachelor of Fine Arts from
Parsons and a Master
of Science from the Pratt Institute.

Among other honours he has been a
recipient of the Urban Artists
Initiative Fellowship,
awarded to him by the New York Foundation
for the Arts, a
fellowship from the New York
State Council for the Arts and the Lower
Manhattan Cultural Council
granted him a Swing
Space residency at Governors Island.

His interactive performances and installations
have been exhibited
in museums and
galleries including the Chelsea and Queens
Museums in New York,
the Godwin-Ternbach
Museum, Exit Art and the Flux Factory.


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art, performance art,
interviews with artists

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Subscribe to Art Radar for more on
multidisciplinary art exhibition
in Asia

2050 Dumbo

Chin Chih Yang’s roving multimedia video
projection, 2050 Dumbo, will transform
Dumbo into a neighborhood under water,
demonstrating the effect that the Earth's
rising water levels will have on Dumbo by

The project that I work on for Dumbo Art
festival 2008 is "2050 Dumbo," which will
project what the Dumbo will look like – both
physically and psychologically – in the year
2050. The physical aspect of the project will
use lighting, water and video to demonstrate
the effects of global warming, in particular
the rising water levels.
It will be a site specific project, pushing
wheel chair around Dumbo streets,
projecting images of water and fish onto
buildings to create the effect of a city

the Village Voice: Voice Choices
Chelsea galleries take a backseat this
Wednesday, September 24th 2008 at 3:47am

Move over, Manhattan avant-garde art world
—your equally progressive (and arguably
hipper) sister borough’s 12th annual
D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival is in
full swing. Considered to be the largest
urban experimental-art symposium in the
country, the festival displays the untamed
works of more than 70 artists in every nook
and cranny imaginable, from streets to
sidewalks to storefronts to the waterfront to
even the loading docks. Works of local
interest include Martine Kaczynski’s Sky-
rights, in which the artist rents out platforms
of scaffolding as a critique on gentrification
and the bloodsucking real-estate market,
and Chin Chih Yang’s inconvenient truth
titled 2050 Dumbo, a multimedia video
projection that “drowns” the neighborhood
in water to show the destruction that rising
sea levels can do. And speaking of water,
take a ride on the Water Taxi with Diana
Arce’s Politaoke (“POLITical” speeches as
“karAOKE”), where you can shout out or sing
your best partisan or bipartisan BS—just like
the candidates!
Sept. 26-28, 2008
The Control of Fear

The “Control of Fear” project is an interactive
art exhibition project to provide the general
public an opportunity to experience what
might occur to them if their lives were
suddenly altered by an unforeseen and
unpredictable catastrophic event.

The project uses varieties of modern
emerging technologies to simulate
unpredictable catastrophic events and detect
participant’s behavior. Technologies used
include multi - modal sensors, 3D
holographic projection, 360 degree
view video, speech recognition, intelligent
interaction response, and synchronous
control of multiple multimedia programs.

The author artist, Chin Chih Yang, is
fascinated by how cataclysmic events impact
life. Life is ephemeral and superficial reality
an illusion. No matter what steps we take to
protect ourselves against threats to our
survival, there are ultimately no guarantees.
We will never be in total control. However,
this does not entitle us to sit in the bleachers
of the game of life, waiting to get hit by a

In his most recent body of work, he has
concentrated on our efforts to protect
ourselves both physically and psychologically
against various catastrophes. How do we
keep at bay the fear and anxiety that
threatens to paralyze us when confronted by
AIDS, H5N1, natural disasters (such as the
tsunami), terrorism, as well as religious and
political intolerance and the conflicts they
often generate? How do we perpetuate the
myth that we are indeed masters of our fate?
The goal or objective of this particular
project is to teach the participants humility
(i.e. they will experience within a limited time
frame what it might be like if their lives were
suddenly altered by an unforeseen and
unpredictable catastrophic event. During that
event neither their actions nor reactions will
enable them to control the final outcome of
these events.). This experiment is not
designed to duplicate what might occur in a
“haunted house”.


The project designs an interactive art
exhibition that contains two exhibition areas
(rooms): media room and experiencing room.

Multidisciplinary Work

Also selected by ACM - the International
Multimedia Arts
Program in Singapore.
Gordian Knots
T aipei Times /Front /01/01/2007

Taiwanese artist draws ire in NYC
By Tsou Ching-wen
Monday, Jan 01, 2007, Page 1

A US-based Taiwanese artist was questioned
briefly by the FBI on Dec. 11 after he
projected giant images of the Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) flag and a Republic of
China (ROC) flag on the side China's New
York consulate and the UN's headquarters.

As part of his conceptual art piece Gordian
Knots, artist Yang Chin-chih (楊金池)
projected the DPP and ROC flags, as well as a
"Taiwan independence symbol" on the walls
of the consulate and the UN building in New
York before being detained by an FBI agent
and a UN security guard for questioning,
Yang told the Taipei Times' in a telephone
interview yesterday.

The original Gordian Knots which Yang's Web
site said was deemed too controversial to be
part of the "Beyond Measure" exhibition at
the Taipei Cultural Center in New York last
month and had to be exhibited elsewhere,
consists of more than 2,300 ROC and
Chinese flags, as well as the DPP flags tied
into knots -- using what his Web site calls an
"ancient Asian technique" -- on a Christmas
tree, with lights intertwined in them.


Yang said that human relations inevitably are
marked by mutual dependence and conflict,
and that he was trying to show the distorted
relationships between nations.

Feeling that a static piece would not be able
to fully express this idea, Yang decided to
expand his exhibition area to all of
Manhattan by loading a projector on a truck,
and projecting the image of a Christmas tree
and various flags on the walls of different


Yang began at Rockefeller Center, moving on
to the Museum of Modern Art and then the
Chinese consulate and the UN building.

He said yesterday that he questioned by the
FBI agent and UN guard for about 10 minutes
until he produced a letter from the New York
Foundation for the Arts that explained his

According to the Web site, which is run by Yang,
the "piece functions both as a Christmas
decoration and also a challenge to the strong
emotions surrounding flags."

The site also says that Yang "attempts to
express the twisted relationships between
nation states -- in this particular instance,
between Taiwan and those nations that
directly or indirectly oppose its
independence. It is the artist's hope that by
calling attention to these thorny global
issues, an effort will be made to resolve them

Yang, originally from Banciao,Taipei County,
has lived in New York for 20 years.
This story has been viewed 3048 times.

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