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

This is a practice-based research project that questions and discusses the affirmative fragility of the body in the posthuman age via a series of art practices and a written thesis. Following the fall of the giant of humanism in the cybernetic age, excepting the discussion on the philosophy of technology, what possibility else of the cybernetic imagination of the body can be explored in posthuman category? The practice-based outcomes utilise five keywords: posthuman, simulation, body, medicine, and colonialism. It is derived from the author’s cultural third world (Taiwanese bio-multiculturalism and colonialism) and the idea of symbiosis in Taoism and Buddhism, which is the author’s belief. Standing on this ground with historical reviews to incorporate with the affinity politics in western posthumanism to explore whether there are echoes or how can this Taiwanese colonial body, as a foundation, be developed a new vision of the posthuman subject exploring from western epidemiology of posthuman and the aesthetics of body in contemporary art practice.

The series of art practice is applied as artistic social prosthesis on grouping/presenting a series of imaginary collective body landscapes, and visualization of the cultural-modal approach on medical technology and body. The practice spontaneously leads this research to explore a number of significant theorists’ and historians’ theses. This research is based on the methodology of art practice—exploratory research—transdisciplinary—descriptive research—style analysis—inductive approach, and with four chapters, which are followed by the discussion/redirection of the self/humans/machines/residues, the body liquidity in postcolonial/corporatocracy examples, the body outside of the cybernetic imaginations, and the shamanic condition of becoming posthuman. Of particular note is N. Katherine Hayle’s How we became Posthuman (1999), Rossi Braidotii’s The Posthuman (2013), Donna J. Haraway’s Simians, Cyborgs, and Women—The Reinvention of Nature (1991), Shiyung Liu and Wen-ji Wang in their edited book A History of Healing in East Asia (2017), Michel Foucault’s The Birth of Clinic (1963) and Roel Sterckx’s Chinese Thought (2019), and on discussing contemporary artists Kader Attia and Chen Chie-Ren’s practice with their treatment of epidemiological violence (body), and the artist who focuses on the aesthetics/body identity/perspective under the philosophy of technology, namely Stelarc.

The practice is thus situated a cultural modal-based pathway on exploring the alternative view of posthuman epidemiology on seeing body (human identity) from the body subject outside of the cybernetic imagination (not from the perspective of philosophy of technology). It provides rethinking body subject from developing the view of becoming-fragility to ground the non-human human =posthuman. It is the idea of corpses coming from a corpse with the properties of symbiosis/co-sharing to define today’s condition as the shamanic condition; this is the analogically symbiotic relationship between a shaman and the spirits (cultural identity/digital pathology/ biopolitics) from the embodiment of visualization (epidemiology, colonialsm, the perspective of technology) and its deconstruction of identity politics and information dominance. The shamanic condition is thus based on adjusting habitus to becoming fragility to interplay with individuals’ perceptions and synchronic and diachronic aspects.

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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:

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

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