Unit 3

Artist Statement

I capture fragments of life experiences through art processes and products: recording, reflecting and criticising social ‘hot’ topics. 


COVID-19 has recently swept the world, exacerbating anti-racial discrimination and nationalism. How social relations are affected by such problems can be related to notions of a ‘pathological society’, as defined by Herbert Marcuse’s theory of toleration. For Marcuse, global industrialisation breeds tolerance of inequality and violence, resulting in a ‘pathological’ or morbid level of oppression. This morbidity is arguably characterised by the inability of societal structures, relations and institutions to fulfil the material and spiritual freedoms required for optimising human existence. In other words, if a nation is sick then so are its people: a concept reflected in the 1960s American activist slogan “immoral society creates immoral individuals”. 


Coronavirus has foregrounded issues around racism and mental health. I argue that these can usefully be viewed as pathogenesis of the entire social environment. As societal pressures affect countless lives and economies worldwide decline, class conflicts increase. From this perspective, coronavirus not only causes human disease but drives a sickness of society itself. In this way, those who commit crimes against society such as robbery or racial violence are a specific phenomenon of a morbid pathology.  


In addressing these ideas, my research encompasses both the psychological and physical manifestations of social sickness. It relates symptoms of the lungs with those of the mind in critiquing social issues. Just as a doctor treats a disease, the acts of individuals can positively affect the collective problems of society. I believe that my ideas and behaviours become implicit in the attitudes and relations of my country. As an artist, I raise awareness and understanding of how people like me can take personal responsibility to gradually heal their diseased societies. 

Critical Practice Submission

Unit 3 Critical Practice Essay  By Han Chen 18025487