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Mel Chin in "Consumption"

An interactive video game based on rug patterns of nomadic peoples and a garden with “hyperaccumulator” plants that clean up contaminated land are just two of Mel Chin’s unique collaborative ventures, incorporating botany, ecology, and even alchemy. “Making art, I think, is not about one track, one method,” he says. “The diversity of mediums and techniques is minor. But the diversity of ideas and how they survive and the methods that are transmitted is very important.”

The segment follows Chin in Detroit as he scouts locations for his latest project that converts arsoned houses into worm farms that benefit the local economy. Fractured by television static, Chin’s segment resembles a subversive broadcast.

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Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Mel Chin

Mel Chin’s art is both analytical and poetic and evades easy classification. Alchemy, botany, and ecology are but a few of the disciplines that intersect in his work. He insinuates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. Unconventional and politically engaged, his projects also challenge the idea of the artist as the exclusive creative force behind an artwork.

“Making art, I think, is not about one track, one method. The diversity of mediums and techniques is minor.

But the diversity of ideas and how they survive and the methods that are transmitted is very important.”

Mel Chin

Mel Chin

3:50
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2:24
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Mel Chin

8:52
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1:16
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By Barbara Kruger with John McEnroe

13:06
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12:17
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Artist Mel Chin discusses the inspiration for his 1991 land art piece, Revival Field.