Mel Chin, from Houston, Texas, is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. In 1989, he developed Revival Field, a project that was a pioneer in the field of “green remediation,” the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. From 1995 to 1998, Chin formed a collective that produced In the Name of the Place, a conceptual public art project conducted on the popular prime-time TV series, Melrose Place. In KNOWMAD, Chin worked with software engineers to create a video game based on rug patterns of nomadic people facing cultural disappearance, and his hand-drawn, 24-minute film, 9-11/9-11, won the prestigious Pedro Sienna Award—the “Oscar” of Chile—for best animation in 2007. A 10-year effort, called Fundred, focuses on the value of individual representation and its capacity to push for the prevention of childhood lead-poisoning through art-making. Chin is also well-known for his iconic sculptures and installations, works that often address the importance of memory and collective identity, and for inserting art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and most recently, for working with advanced augmented reality (AR) technology, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility.
For No Longer Empty’s 2012 exhibition: This Side of Paradise, Mel Chin produced a re-creation of his video S.O.S., originally made in 2004.
For the 2012 version, Chin and his team returned to the diverse neighborhoods of the Bronx capturing their cardio sound tracks and messages from the pavement to the president. S.O.S Reloaded: Bronx 2012 recorded the residents’ reactions, both intellectually and physically, to this same question, eight years later addressed then-President Barack Obama. The result is a remarkably intimate and honest portrait of the Bronx and its diverse residents. A copy of this video was been sent to President Obama.www.melchin.org