Through the activation of public spaces around the world, Taiwanese-American artist Candy Chang creates work that examines the dynamics between society and the psyche, the threshold between isolation and community, and the ways shared places can cultivate reflection, perspective, and kinship. She is interested in the relationship between public space and mental health, the tension between individual liberty and social cohesion, and a city that exposes and fosters the complexity of the individual and collective psyche. With a background in urban planning, Chang worked with communities in Nairobi, New York, Helsinki, New Orleans, Vancouver, and Johannesburg, where she observed universal challenges of the democratic commons. She created interactive experiments in the public realm to explore more inclusive forms of community dialogue. After struggling with grief and depression, she channeled her emotional questions into her public work. Thanks to passionate people around the world, her participatory public art project Before I Die has been created in over 2,000 cities and over 70 countries, including China, Iraq, Argentina, Russia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, and South Africa. Her work has been exhibited in the Venice Architecture Biennale, New Museum, Tate Modern, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She is a recipient of the TED Senior Fellowship, Tulane University Urban Innovation Fellowship, Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award, and Art Production Fund Artist Residency. She was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design by Impact Design Hub, a “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero by Oprah Magazine, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She has been the keynote speaker at events including the Creativity World Forum, American Planning Association National Conference, and the Global Health Summit. She received a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University, as well as a BS in Architecture and a BFA in Graphic Design from the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.
This Speaker Series event is an online première of a live event from our archives, which the artist has graciously granted permission for in light of the ongoing circumstances of isolation. The event took place in 2014 with support from Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Arts Engine, and the Institute for the Humanities.
In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.