My art making practice uses research into climate narratives as a starting
point to question how power influences the unjust realities of climate change.
Experimenting with video work, conversations, illustrations, data science and organic materials,
I'm interested in people and justice centred approaches. In my work, I often think about the
timelines of climate change, and how we live in overlapping unfinished histories - legacies and futures
- shaped by systems of people, technologies and environmental ecologies.
I plan to make a (British colonial) climate history themed Art Attack series - funders and collaborators please reach out!
Rain Paradox (2021)
Video with sound by aircode, (70 mins)
RAIN PARADOX (2021) trailer - Angela YT Chan from Angela YT Chan on Vimeo. (Content note: pulsating visual imagery)
The Great British Rain Paradox, published in 2020 by RB Finish and supported by the UK government’s Environmental Agency, warns about the UK’s projected water scarcity crisis within the next 20 years. The report describes a ‘paradox’ that while 77% of British survey respondents “believe the UK is a ‘wet and rainy country’” and assume there are adequate water reserves, “in reality our demand for water could soon outstrip supply”.
In Rain Paradox, I present how official and local climate framings differently influence our public views of climate change. I critique the report’s language and assertions as aligning with wider government policies that problematically merge pro-border, conflict-ready and for-profit strategies as climate solutions: a narrative that erases state and corporate accountabilities, posing a continued threat to the social inequities exacerbated by the climate crisis.
Rain Paradox highlights the counter-narratives with ‘living room conversations’ between community-minded citizens around the UK. We discuss their own water stories and landscapes, cultural water practices, perspectives on water scarcity, and migratory contexts of water and borders. Moving between timelines, data, geographies, speculative drawings and water cycles, Rain Paradox archives this specific moment in climate history to be revisited in 20 years’ time.
Commissioned by FACT (Liverpool, UK) as part of the Jerwood Arts FACT Fellowship Programme, supported by Jerwood Arts. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England and funded by Liverpool City Council. With thanks to Laolu Alatise, Yasmin Begum, Kaajal Modi, Raman Mundair, Shamica Ruddock, Jennifer Edwards, Amahra Spence, Fatima Tarkleman.
Exhibited at FACT for the Fellows' group show, Uncertain Data : Andrius Arutiunian // Angela YT Chan // Tessa Norton // Yambe Tam, 15 September - 3 October 2021
Below video: Angela speaks about the process of making Rain Paradox for its exhibition display at FACT, Liverpool.
Video with sound by Ans M, (15 mins)
[Export_Explode> identifies the unfinished histories of Britain’s explosives manufacturing, from their use in industrial and imperial expansions worldwide since the late 19th century, to their active legacies in contemporary extractivism and conflict.
The research project consists of a short film and additions to the existing Explosives Trail onsite at the former Pitsea Explosives Factory on the Thames Estuary. [Export_Explode> surveys how the British Explosives Syndicate and Alfred Nobel ensured their dynamites lay the technological and commercial frameworks for global resource extractions by blasting and mining, to the benefit of the British Empire, its clients and its wartime allies. The project expands towards Pitsea Explosives Factory's international histories for the first time, to centre the journeys of Nobel’s explosives once they left Pitsea, as they traversed by water domestically and overseas to be detonated and cause irreversible degradation to landscapes and communities worldwide.
[Export_Explode> further explores how these strategies for profit and power have evolved into other forms since the factory closed in 1929, in so-called ‘peacetime’. The project is produced in acknowledgment of the UK Government’s recent increased funding in the defence sector, its largest since the Cold War. It relates history to the present in how Britain’s arms trade and colonial legacies continue to drive unrest and conflict today, especially in regions of the world already rendered vulnerable by climate change and exhaustive natural resource extraction. [Export_Explode> also responds to the rising anti-immigrant sentiments and resurging nationalism that are extensions of British colonial practices.
These issues connect back to the former explosives factory site, which is now a popular bird watching nature reserve, Wat Tyler Country Park. [Export_Explode> compares the ecological revitalisation of a place that was once a key manufacturer of explosives, with the long term ecological and human destruction its products scarred in various global geographies, to consider devastation, displacement and migration. It reminds that Britain’s heritage sites are not neutral, and their cultural narratives must reflect on Britain's complex, violent and ongoing histories that are complicit in today’s anxieties and geopolitical activities involving resource scarcity, conflict and climate change.