June 18, 2010
DISCO DENTAL OFFICE NETS ANOTHER Ph.D.
In 1979, Honolulu
dentist Dr. Rodney Chang transformed his Kalihi dental clinic's reception room
into a discotheque - complete
with DJ, spinning neon lights, and dance floor. It captured the world's attention as this was the cultural period of "Disco Mania"
and "Saturday Night Fever" starring John Travolta. "The Disco Doc" (see attachment, "Pygoya1980") was featured on America's
top rated TV program, NBC's Real People. The airing was then televised around the world, including sightings in Germany, Japan,
and Australia. Audiences were amazed at dental patients dancing in "Da Waiting Room" to reduce their anxieties before having to
sit in the dental chair and receive dental treatment.
But just as important as relieving dental phobia, Chang used the social experiment to develop his mathematical equation of "art
appreciation and perception" that earned him a Ph.D. with the Union Institute University (1980, Ohio). When the personal computer became
available, his approach to generating new art was compatible with the new art medium that the computer provided. It was the perfect
marriage between artist and art tool. Then, for the past 30 years, Chang as a working artist has created digital based art that kept transforming along with
the technology as well as his developing corollaries in art theory. Such results have earned him recognition, such as a solo exhibition at the Shanghai Art
Museum in China (1988).
The advent of the Internet has enabled Chang to communicate his research and discoveries of the psychological nature of visual art.
A publication has just come out in Russia, titled Rodney 'Pygoya' Chang - Artist, Psychologist, and Philosopher (Aletheia, St. Petersburg, 2010).
It reviews Chang's life from childhood (including a photo of him as a toddler in Kaimuki, 1945), his art equation and theories, his 45 years of art-making,
and yes, the Kalihi disco dental office that spawned his important art appreciation equation. The book is a major part of Simon V. Erohin's doctorate
work at Moscow University in Russia. The book compares Chang's art theories with art historians and critics in the literature that refer to the psychology and
philosophy of art. The publication displays examples of how such a working model of aesthetic as used by Chang can result in such divergent styles as
Memories (2009) and Main Street - Pahoa (2008). (see attachments).
Come September, thanks partly due to Honolulu's disco dental clinic of the past, Erohin will receive his Ph.D. from Moscow University in Aesthetic Philosophy
with Emphasis in Digital Art. He plans to secure a position in the university's art department and lecture to art students about "Pygoya," Dr. Chang's
identity as an online artist, and the new art that is derived through mathematics and computers for the Information Age. Erohin is currently an instructor of Chemistry at Moscow University in St. Petersburg.