Interlude Docs

Doc 125: Phil Chang

Photographer Phil Chang has been producing “unfixed” photographs since 2009. By placing an 8×10 inch negatives on top of expired Kodak Kodachrome II RC paper, a contact print is then created. Instead of “fixing” the image to the photographic paper through chemical and darkroom techniques, the photographs are exposed to either direct or ambient light and left “unfixed” in their frames to develop and expose. Over the course of five hours, the initial legible image of each photograph slowly disappears. A maroon monochrome is the end result given that the expired paper’s sensitivity to light has been significantly diminished. 

The earliest incarnations of these durational works acted as a response to the GFC of 2007-08; the collapse of large financial institutions highlighted the precarity and unstable conditions underlying all things strong or small. Since, new thought provoking iterations have been produced—incorporating images of landscapes, computer screenshots, and portraits for instance—that sharply reaffirm the unfixed nature of the present and certain realities around disintegration.

“Screenshot Composition #1″ is featured. Although conceived and first produced in 2021, the year of production is made moot or incidental since the work transforms and fades to a monochrome in the present.

Phil Chang is an artist living in Los Angeles. He teaches in the Department of Art & Art History at California State University, Bakersfield and at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.


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