Comments from people

Chen’s practice is strongly based on the forthrightness of her means and intentions, alongside her uncompromising persistence in following designed plans and goals. In her case, autonomy and self-reliance have more to do with fidelity to principles and materials than to isolation and alienation. In order to be completed, Chen’s work requires the development of collaborations and complex logistics. This is the testimony that her project is imbued with a multiplicity of elements and systems, affected by social, political and economic factors. Chen’s take on electronic art is concrete, and proudly grounded on the primacy of technique. Her interest in systems privileges physical components-the circuits and engineering necessary for functionality-to flat visualisations of programmes. Both simplicity and complexity are visible in her work: basic mathematical rules have evolved in a complex and changeable system, further complicated by interactivity. Her works’ characteristic bond between function and aesthetics call the features of brutalism to mind. The bareness of this enterprise consists in the coherency of functions, through their perceptible form and workings: for example, her piece’s sound is the direct noise of its mechanics. Chen brings the importance of mastering craft back to art; the dimension of doing-the real actualisation of plans-denotes complex endeavours in ideas first deemed simple. ——Elisabetta Cuccaro