Ting Tong Chang at Kunst KraftWerk, Leipzig

On 18/02/2015 by CFCCA Administrator

Taiwanese Artist Ting Tong Chang has recently begun a new durational performance piece: ‘Whence do you know the happiness of fish?’ (February 12-26).  Ting Tong has created, with the assistance of German biologist, Prof. Andreas von Bresinskyan, an indoor fish farming environment controlled digitally by the fluctuations in the stock market value of industrial fishery corporations internationally, at Kunst KraftWerk in Leipzig, a new arts space housed in a former power station.  ting tong chang in Leipzig 2

Throughout his installations and performances Ting Tong addresses the increasing reliance on machines for the basic requirements of human survival,  the idea “that machines are productive and efficient in order to take the place of a human.” (Chang).  “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.”

During this performance Chang will camp out in the exhibition space, eating only the fish from the installation, performing a primitive mode of existence in the context of modern day industrial food production; whilst the farming technology is advanced, his basic existence remains pre-technological.

Chang has explored alternative modes of food production and consumption previously in his 2013 work Brassica Nigra, in which he placed himself directly into a new ecosystem. He was sealed inside a greenhouse in a lab in Radbound University, the Netherlands. with hundreds of Brassica Nigra Caterpillars and 30 mustard seed plants.  During his three-day habitation he cooked and ate the caterpillars as his sole food source, and collected his urine in order to water the plants and provide nutrients needed for growth.

ttc brassica negra

As the purpose for the research was to measure the electrical response of the plants, an operating research station was built alongside the installation containing Chang and sampled and visualized the data from the electrical impulses. The images derived from this research was printed and exhibited in chronological order. The new ecosystem created in the greenhouse brought up issues of sustainability and the separation of human society from fundamental ecosystems.

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