Artist, activist and publisher
We know Paul Chan best for melancholic computer-generated projections of silhouetted figures and objects, sweepingly poetic evocations of end times and erotics. Nothing quite like them exists elsewhere, and it’s increasingly evident that Chan is a savant of reformatting in general and democracy minded expansions in particular.
Having long straddled the roles of artist and activist, and maintained a strong, text-distributing web presence via his National Philistine site, Chan has become a full-blown publisher since founding Badlands Unlimited in 2010. His book of a dead dictator’s 1970s speeches, On Democracy by Saddam Hussein, appeared this year, as did what Chan says is the first group show for iPad, the 50-artist affair How to Download a Boyfriend – ‘beating the market at its own game’, The New Yorker opined, and collapsing the distance between the artworld and the digital realm in a way that could, in the longer term, have major implications.