UPDATE: Mr Yang will attend the March 2018 documentary film festival in Chiayi in south Taiwan as a special guest of the event for the screening of his movie by Director Huang.
Renowned Taiwanese filmmaker director Ming-Chuan Huang has made a 85-minute documentary titled FACE THE EARTH about Taiwanese-American performance artist Chin Chih Yang to explore the artist’s lifelong focus on the culture of waste. The documentary has been shown already in New York City in November 2017 and is set for a Taiwan premiere in March at the Chiayi International Documentary Festival, which Director Huang chairs each year in his hometown.
NYC headline: "Queens museum premieres a documentary about the eccectric and colorful performance artist Chin Chih Yang."
In the documentary, one of the culture mavens in the NYC art world refers to Mr Yang as "Taiwan's Charlie Chaplin [of the NYC Art World]." It's a fantastic and apt nickname. Let the entire world hear and see more from this avant-garde artiste!
It’s a film about a one-of-a-kind personality.
In November 2017, Queens Museum screened “Face The Earth,” a documentary on Taiwanese-American performance artist Chin Chin Yang.
The very definition of the term “colorful character,” the Taiwan-born Yang who has lived in the USA for over 30 years has had a lifelong obsession with garbage and the throw-away culture. He’s also had a long-time affiliation with Queens.
In July 2012, he introduced “Kill Me or Change” to bring attention to his contention that the average American throws away 30,000 aluminum cans over their lifetime. He sat in a public space near the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park while a crane suspended a mesh net containing 30,000 such cans about 60 feet above his head. An audience member then pulled a string and the net opened, allowing the contents to fall onto his head and bury his body.
In October 2010, he publicized “My New Job” which entailed walking across Queens College’s campus and picking up garbage to use in an installation between Klapper Hall and the Dining Hall. He was also part of a group exhibit at Flux Factory in Long Island City.
“Face The Earth,” which lasts 85 minutes, mixes scenes of Yang’s projects and interviews with collaborators and others in the art world. Viewers will see clips from “Burning Ice,” a piece that involved Yang sitting on a giant block of ice in Manhattan’s Union Square and imploring passers-by to ponder the polar ice cap, which he claimed would melt entirely by 2050. They will also watch Yang make cloth out of potato chip bags and spearhead an effort to create a Giant Can Family at the Contemporary Art Museum of Taipei. In a political episode, he projects a giant Taiwanese flag onto the United Nations, which denies the island nation membership due to differences with China.
Tom Finkelpearl, who ran Queens Museum at the time of “Kill Me or Change” and is currently the NYC Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, appears in the movie, as does Peini Hsieh, the former Commissioner of the Taiwanese Department of Cultural Affairs.
About Chin Chih Yang
Multidisciplinary performance artist Chin Chih Yang was born in Taiwan, grew up there, did his military service there some 40 years ago, and has resided for about 30 years in the USA in New York City. He holds degrees from Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design. Among other honors, he has been awarded grants by The New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Franklin Furnace Archive, MacDowell Colony and more.
MORE VIDEO HERE:
Yang’s interests in ecology and constructed environments have resulted in interactive performances and installations in the United States, Poland, Finland, Austria, Germany, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. He has exhibited/performed at Rockefeller Center, the United Nations, Union Square Park, The Queens Museum, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Exit Art, Flux Factory and in 2016 the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei hosted a major retrospective. All told, Yang strives to lead audiences to a more direct awareness of the effects of contemporary technology and engender compassion for all humanity.
As a footnote to his biography,
Chin Chih Yang contracted a virus which affected his muscles and nerves
of his face at the time of his military service in Taiwan some 40 years ago.
As viewers of the documentary will see, it has made him difficult to speak clearly at times but in general it has not impacted his communication skills as a speaker or as an artist.
Indeed, still photos do not tell much about Mr Yang's personal struggles over the years
with his physical difficulties. Only video , moving images, and his voice, can tell. And it is this doc
which intimately tells medical history of this man and his family side by
side with his public art performances. Many of Yang's artist friends in the New York
art world do not know fully of his works over the last 20 years, not
mentioning his 5 time surgeries of his face and the heart problem which
have haunted almost all members of his family for a long time.
About Director Ming-Chuan Huang
Born in Chiayi in south Taiwan in 1955, Ming-Chuan lives now in Taipei where after a career in feature films, some of them avant-garde and edgy (and controversial) now works with documentary films. Graduating from the Department of Law of National Taiwan University, he went to the USA to study Lithographic Printmaking in Art Students League of New York and Fine Arts and Photography at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Huan’s feature film THE MAN FROM ISLAND WEST claimed an Excellent Cinematography Award at Hawaii international Film Festival and a Silver Screen Award at Singapore international Film Festival in 1990. In 1998 his FLAT TYRE was awarded Best film in the non-commercial category at Taipei Film Festival and Jury Award at the Golden Horse Festival, Taiwan.
Ming-Chuan has been the artistic director of the Chiayi City International Art Doc Film Festival since 2014.
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY
FACE THE EARTH puts viewers right next to Yang as 30,000 aluminum cans are dumped on his head to call our attention to the vast amount of waste each of us creates – the average person uses and discards 30,000 cans in their lifetime! Sit alongside Chin Chih and passersby in New York City’s storied Union Square, on a giant block of ice and ponder the possibility that the polar ice cap will be gone by 2050. Watch the public participate with the artist to help him create his Giant Can Family at the Contemporary Art Museum of Taipei. Learn how he makes sturdy whole cloth out of discarded potato chip bags and gain insight into how each of us can FACE THE EARTH and contribute to her resuscitation.
This 85-minute documentary film intersperses scenes of the artist at work with in-depth interviews with Tom Finkelpearl, The Commissioner of Cultural Affairs of the City of New York; Dr. Martha Wilson, Founding Director of Franklin Furnace Archive; Michael L. Royce, Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts, Robert C. Morgan, Ph.D. – Artist/Art Critic, Steve Cannon – A Gathering of the Tribes, Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful – artist, Jeffrey Grunthaner – writer, James Leonard – Artist, John Downing Bonafede – Artist, John Ahearn – Artist, Manfred Kirchheimer – film maker / professor of film at SVA, Heidi Jain – photography teacher and others.
Directed and Produced by Huang Mingchuan, and produced by Formosa Filmedia Company, FACE THE EARTH includes footage by Annie Berman, Wang Yi Chang, Ray Huang, Liu Kuanting, Wang Shau-gung, Nick McGovern, Sen-I Yu, Doll Chao, Johanna Naukkarinen, Jing Wang, Susan L Yung and others. Photography by Rodrigo Salazar, John Bonafede, John Ahearn, Justen Ladda, Tom Otterness, Julie Lemberger and others.
FACE THE EARTH is sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Taiwan, and copyrighted 2017 by Ming-Chuan Huang and Chin Chih Yang.