Michelle JaJa Chang

Artist in Residence, 2024

Artist Statement

My work mines contemporary media for representational frameworks that offer diverse paradigms for the built environment. Representational frameworks, or the structures behind our visualizations, are narrative and symbolic forms. They give shape to real-world phenomena, telling stories of how things come into being and knowing even before anything is drawn. In the fifteenth century, perspective’s intersecting rays reflected and advanced Renaissance notions of rationalism, ocularcentrism, and individualism. Today, the grids and lines of text that undergird contemporary representations also contain ideas of form, space, and subjects. My work uncovers the hidden mechanisms that power these systems, reconnecting them to architecture’s visual languages and organizational systems.


While at Headlands

California has sixteen climate zones. The California Energy Commission doubled the number of zones that the International Energy Conservation Code established for the US to ensure that buildings represent the state’s climate diversity and to give architecture and construction industries accurate efficiency standards. Through these laws, new construction grows more efficient and cheaper to operate. Yet, greater material, economic, and social disparities will arise between those who live in what is new and what already exists. While at the Headlands, I will build full-size wall and roof assemblies to test the thermal and acoustic properties of low-cost retrofits. I’ll pay closer attention to windows and doors, where dualities between the poetics of exploration/retreat and conditioning/wilding are most evident.