Mass: Anxiety and Hope

Ink on canvas
30 x 30 in | 76.2 x 76.2 cm

Assembled from visitors’ responses to Chang’s past installations, over one hundred handwritten reflections form a communal portrait of hopes and anxieties in the early 21st century: I’m losing my hair — we’re losing our privacy — I need to be forgiven — we don’t know how to help him — our country is on the edge of disaster — I have over $120,000 in student debt — there is still so much music left to discover — I am letting go of old patterns — my friend supports me — I want to be honest with myself — I woke up early today — I have been through hell and I am still here.

Chang hand-cut and burnished each response, excavating sediments of paper until only black ink remained infused in the canvas. The work is inspired by traditional Chinese reproductions of venerated texts through ink rubbings, the first “copy machine” of text. The strips of text evoke the shape of redacted words, a common practice in WWII soldiers’ letters home to censor emotions that might hinder faith in war-time efforts.