From nature’s perspective, written characters become traces that humans leave in nature, and the theme of “Typography and Life” can be interpreted as a relationship between human traces and nature. The current era in which human beings are extremely transforming the Earth is called the Anthropocene. Thus, it is possible to imagine that the traces of our changing nature are considered as new characters of the Anthropocene. Artist Hanna Chang embodies this idea through New Rock. Chang looks at nature with human beings’ active involvement in it as a new ecology, and has been working on tracking and collecting “new rocks” that are unprecedentedly changed natural materials. In this chapter, the artist’s collecting and recording become the act of discovering new characters, and viewers decipher the phenomenal warning messages from the new characters gathered by the artist.
Hanna Chang continues to work by observing environmental problems in everyday life. She does not consider environmental issues as the themes for warning or accusation, but sets them as subjects for aesthetic research or observation. The Strange Botany (2016) series recorded mutant plants caused by nuclear generation, and Micro Plastic Canapé (2017) focused on the story after things are consumed and abandoned. Currently, she is conducting the New Rock project (2017-present) to gather and observe plastics that have became hardened like rocks.
- Seoul, South Korea
New Rocks Specimen 2017–2021
New Rock is a project to collect and observe plastics that became rocks. A huge amount of plastics is used every day for a moment and thrown away in an instant, then buried in the ground or thrown into the sea. Over the years, plastics become part of nature and return to us. It seemed impossible to mix plastics with nature, as plastics exist as the antipode of nature, but they have become part of geology and an ecological space today.
For the past five years, the artist has been wandering around beaches in regions such as Incheon, Goseong, Gangneung, Ulsan, Sinan, Busan, and Jeju Island to name and collect stone-like plastics as “new rocks.” New Rocks Specimen 2017-2021 introduces some of the new “rocks” that the artist has so far collected from nature, along with information such as location, date of discovery, size, and weight of each item. While sensing that plastic objects produced without a millimeter of error have been reborn as rocks amid weathering, the viewers recognize that the boundaries between the natural and the artificial have already been torn down.
- Variable size