Yuchen Chang's research into the development of the Malay language found that it was imbued with bits and pieces of languages of the surrounding region, of the former colonisers. In searching for a Malay writing system constructed out of corals, Chang found herself an interpreter of the corals themselves. In her words: “In Bahasa Malayu, the word for coral is karang; while the verb mengarang derived from it, means to compose, to arrange, to weave and to create. After looking at corals closely under and above water for months, I start to get it: it’s the shape of coral that describes structure, classification and gradual formation, the porousness communicates entanglement, and the unfathomable otherness of marine creature, the dim and yet wild colors, suggest some sort of fictional fabrication — I am composing a language with corals, I am creating an interlacing rationale. I arrange the relationship among shape, sound and meaning, I weave a web that preys on name, thing, soul.”
Among other things, Chang Yuchen is an artist; among other places, she’s based in New York. Her works have been shown at Assembly Room, Para Site, Salt Project, Chambers Fine Art and etc. She has performed at Abrons Art Center, Artists Space, Momenta Art and Printed Matter Inc. Past and upcoming residencies include MAD Museum, MASS MoCA, Textile Arts Center, and OFFSHORE in Malaysia.