Mass: Desire

Ink on canvas
60 x 60 in | 152.4 x 152.4 cm
2023

Assembled from visitors’ responses to Chang’s past installations, 123 handwritten reflections form a communal portrait of desires in contemporary life. Ranging from individual struggles to societal hopes, each sentiment interlocks into a shifting mass of voices: I want the struggle to be worth it — I need to let go of a difficult thing — I don’t want an addiction to control me — I need more time — I’m tired and I want to go home — I really want this new relationship to last — I don’t want to disappoint — I constantly just want the love and approval of others — I don’t want to get lost — I don’t want my habitual cycles to hinder — I want to fall in love — I want to be a good father — I want to be remembered — We need to sleep more — We all need to think clearly and properly prepare for A.I. — We all need a little mercy now.

Chang hand-cut and burnished each response, excavating sediments of paper until only black ink remained infused in the canvas. The results speak to traditional Chinese reproductions of venerated texts using ink such as ink rubbings, which could be considered the first “copy machine” of text. Presented as white writing on black strips, each sentiment evokes the shape of redacted words, a common practice in WWII soldiers’ letters home to censor emotions that might hinder faith in war-time efforts. Now these same shapes serve as a collective portrait of the longings that consume our minds today.