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The Shamanic Condition of Becoming Posthuman— being embedded in scattered landscapes

This is a research project led by series of art practice and written thesis to develop the possibility of an alternative-posthuman subject Shamanic Condition, which lies outside mainstream posthuman subject (with Western humanism as the trajectory to the position between the philosophy of technology and human beings), and discuss the affirmative fragility that the body manifests in it. This research derives from retrospection of my cultural background (Taiwan's biological multiculturalism and colonial history) and the philosophy of change in Taoism. Based on this, taking history as a mirror, through reviewing colonial history and the disidentification and heterogeneity of post-humanism to seek their echoes. The development of this alternative posthuman subject means that for the ‘Others’ who have undergone constructed modernisation (colonialism, the international system), the many contexts of posthuman generate a gap with the other's historical experience. This gap thus needs to be driven by crossover dynamism that we can fill by tapping into the experience production, hybrids of tradition and modernity, to enrich the complexity of posthuman subjects.

This research is structured by my art practice interspersed in the beginning/end of each chapter, and further discourses around the possibility of posthuman subjects with the relevant theses. It applies art practice, exploratory research, interdisciplinary research, descriptive research, and style analysis as research methodology. Thesis structure includes four chapters. They are: 1. The Self; 2. Solid body? 3. Non-human human; 4. Conclusion—Shamanic Condition.

In particular, the research focuses on theses to the philosophy of technology to first sort out the posthuman subject: N. Katherine Hayle's How we became posthuman (1999), Rossi Braidotii's The posthuman (2013), Donna J. Haraway’s Simians, Cyborg, and Women: The Reinvention and Nature (1991) et al. Rather than focusing solely on technology itself and what it means to be human, I—from reviewing Taoism's philosophy of change, colonialism's production of experience, and related art practices—have noticed that exploring identity politics of colonialism, when viewed as a bio-technology, can more effectively drive into thinking about the heterogeneity and complexity of posthuman subjects. Therefore, this research also conducts thematic exploration and mining through the theses related to colonialism and its ‘technology’ and comparison with posthuman theses. These mainly include A History of Healing in East Asia (2017) edited by Shiyung Liu and Wen-ji Wang, The Birth of the Clinic (1973) by Michael Foucault, Chinese Thought by Roel Sterckx (2019). ) and Shih-shan Susan Huang's Picturing the true form (2015), with exploration of contemporary artist Stelarc's practice about the body, machine and participants, Kadder Attia and Chen Chieh-Jen's practice about history and colonisation, and my practice about the imagined aesthetics of alternative-posthuman subject. The research question points to: Beyond reviewing humanism and cybernetics, is there any possibility to jump out from dead ends such as ‘self/others’ and identity? In the development of alternative-posthuman subjects, what kind of imagination can the manifestation of the others’ crossover be performed? Now, an understanding of today’s human’s position is necessary.

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More about Ban-Yuan

Ban-Yuan Chang is interested in how the body is posited in posthuman subject. The body in this context is not only based on the physical or anatomical dimension. It rather applied the complexity of the idea of the body to embody in cultural, technological, identical and cybernetic category. His practices are derived from his Taiwanese background and his paramedic experience during his military service. There is a systematic trajectory can be traced from his serieses of practice, which include the discussions on the allocation of cultural knowledge, the formulation of identity, the interdependence/symbiosis with technological others,  the power of interpretation on human body and the affirmation of becoming fragility from the post-colonial condition in Taiwan to the broken but openness subjectivity of the national body in the age of information. His serieses of practice are neither an imagination from the sphere of historian or the projection of transitional justice or the conceptual  illustration from the technological humanities, nor the simulation of the physician's view on human body. The practices rather explore the politically/capitally/ individually disciplinary power of body in cultural (semiotic) differences and perceptions among governmentally mechanic agents and citizens, and discuss the fragility of the 'bodies' under the perspective of questioning the accessibility of liberty, choices and sharing to provide an affirmative with critical view on the rights of becoming somethings in today's nomadic human condition. 

2018-Current PhD Candidate of Arts & Humanities Research, Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom

2015-2016 MA Fine Art, UAL Chelsea college of Arts, London, United Kingdom

2010-2014 BA, Hua Fan University Department of Art and Culture creative design, Taipei, Taiwan

2016-2017  Paramedic (substitute military service), New Taipei City Fire Department, New Taipei City, Taiwan  

2017  Made In Taiwan young artist Award by Ministry of Culture
2014  <Son> , Taiwan young artist collection project, National Taiwan  Museum of Fine  Arts, Taichung, Taiwan

Solo Exhibition:

2019 The 'self', humans and machines with their residues , Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taipei, Taiwan 
2017 Meditation from The Empire Legacy, 2017 Art Taipei, Booth M01 , Taipei world trade centre 1, Taipei, Taiwan
2016 The Whisper in Inheritance, RAUM Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2016 From the other side,Punctum gallery,London,United Kingdom
2015 Virtual v.s. Actual Dialectics Double solo exhibition,HELIOS GALLERY,Taipei,Taiwan
2014 Post-Paradise CHANG, BAN-YUAN’s Solo exhibition,Ching Tian 16,Taipei,Taiwan
​2013 Endless CHANG, BAN-YUAN’s Solo exhibition,My Sweetie Pie Art Space Café,Taipei,Taiwan

Group Exhibition:

2022 Multiple Copies, curated by Chiang Pei-Hsin, Tainan Art Museum, Tainan, Taiwan
2022 One Art Taipei Art Fair, Helios Gallery, The Sherwood Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
2021 Enclave, Asparagus Studio, Taipei, Taiwan

2020 Fall Apart online exhibition curated by Maria Abramenko, artoday official instagram page [online] https://www.instagram.com/p/CGCxOhfHOX3/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link 
​2019 RCA The School of Arts & Humanities Work in Progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom 
2018 The Human Condition, Kuo Mu Shen Foundation Art Centre, Taipei, Taiwan
2016 Future Island START ART FAIR project, Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2016 Chelsea Summer Show, Chelsea college of Arts, London, United Kingdom
​2016 FORMOSA ART SHOW, Humble House Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
2016 MA Fine Art interim show, Chelsea  college of Arts Parede Ground, London, United Kingdom
2016  Art Cosmopolitan 2016 Jeju, Jeju, Korea
2016 Young Art Taipei 2016,  Sheraton Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan
2016 LIMINAL STATES, The Gallery On The Corner, London, United Kingdom
2015 Fly By The Seat of Your Pantsuit, Triangle space, London, United Kingdom
2015 FarQueen Party art project, Chelsea college of arts, London, United Kingdom
2015 ART. FAIR Cologne 2015, Cologne,Germany
2015 ART TAICHUNG,Millennium hotels,Taichung,Taiwan
2015 Young Art Taipei 2015,Sheraton Hotel,Taipei,Taiwan
2014 ART KAOHSIUNG,Kaohsiung,Taiwan 
2014 ART CHENGDU,Chengdu,China
2014 Young&Top,Apollo art gallery,Taipei,Taiwan
2014 ART TAICHUNG,Millennium hotels,Taichung,Taiwan
2014 CHANG, BAN-YUAN&Liu Chun Jun group show ,Apollo art gallery,Taipei,Taiwan
2014 Deep gaze on ridge , Huashan1914,Taipei,Taiwan
2014 Waver IBT Group show,IBT Bank gallery,Taipei,Taiwan
2013 Ashe and Fire CHANG, BAN-YUAN & Lin Huiheng Group Show,PiaoPiao art gallery,Taipei,Taiwan

Works included in : 2022 Chiang Pei-Hsin, Multiple Copies - Readable Multiplex Landscape (Tainan: Tainan Art Museum, 2022). ISBN: 978-986-5487-80-5

2019  Chang, Ban-Yuan, The Self, Humans and Machines with their Residues: A brief discussion on our position in today's world and these inseparable and entangled bounds  (Taipei: Taipei Fine Arts Museum Press, 2019). ISBN: 978-986-5412-21-0