Carolyn Chen

Friday, February 21st, 2014 - 4:25 am

Carolyn Chen

Equally at home in the visual, conceptual and aural arts, Chen caught our interest with her arresting video, The Movement of Glass Through a House. In it, Chen, blindfolded, traverses a partially demolished house in the Zhuantang Demolition District of Hangzhou, China following – Theseus-like – a path of blue glass shards, while scraping another piece of glass along the walls. Chen’s work becomes a meditation on memory within destruction, loss, and the traditional Chinese Buddhist notion of the wandering soul, here released within an abandoned building.

Her other works have been equally compelling takes on traditional Chinese themes – as in her “Transcription of Guqin Tuning for People in a Supermarket” – or directed sculptural actions, such as her ongoing series of “human windchimes”: actor-filled sculptures that have popped up in numerous locations in Los Angeles, Encinitas and San Diego. For MATA, Chen will be developing a new audio-visual work based on themes discovered in China, where she is spending 2013.

Born in New Jersey to Taiwanese parents in 1983, Chen studied music, humanities and modern thought at the University of California San Diego and Stanford University, graduating with distinction. She conceives of her music as concrete realization of physical action, with the visual on equal footing with the aural. She has received awards and fellowships from the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, American Composers Forum and others and her music as been presented at festivals and concerts in Israel, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Germany and America.