Workshop with l ặ n g session by Linh Hà, poetry reading by Thu Uyên and film George Clark and Tạ Minh Đức
A speaking that does not objectify, does not point to an object as if it is distant from the speaking subject or absent from the speaking place. A speaking that reflects on itself and can come very close to a subject without, however, seizing or claiming it.- Trinh T. Minh-ha, “Speaking Nearby”, 1992
Responding to the concept of pioneering artist Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Speaking Nearby aims to explore experimental ways of work and play with artists and archives. Rooted in an expanded idea of ‘archives’, we will explore means of articulating memories from the personal to collective in the process proposing new ways to care for history and activate diverse collections. The artists are brought together through a shared approach to archives as departure points; sites for interrogation into different times and spaces, zones for artistic intervention and activation.
This first workshop at Á Space on 25 June is an opportunity to share some of the impressions and transmissions from the ongoing work with the Vietnam Film Archive over the last year, as well as the methodologies for working with diverse collections in other projects. This will include a lặng session led by musician Linh Hà, poetry reading by Thu Uyên and screening of work-in-progress film made by George Clark and Tạ Minh Đức.
4.00–4.10pm: Welcome and introduce schedule
4.10–5.30pm: l ặ n g* Workshop with Linh Hà
5.45–6.15pm: Thu Uyên reading of poems and discuss research/work in progress (extract of films which inspired found poems to be shown alongside)
6.15–6.45pm: George Clark sharing about ‘Handle With Care’ project background and context with examples from other works and archival explorations
6.45–7.00pm: Group discussion with Linh Hà, Uyên and George
*l ặ n g is a safe space where you’re invited to explore deep listening and creativity. It can be a collective and individual journey, to tap into being attentive to the sonic world around oneself, one’s body and one’s well-being. With l ặ n g you can emerge yourself in different body movement activities, breath work, vocal toning (here people can activate their voices/vocal chords) and listening activities. A l ặ n g session can take up to 1-1.5 hours – with a tea and sweet session at the end where everyone can unwind and discuss what they just experienced.
Thanks to Á Space and Vân Đỗ for collaborating with us on this and to Hải Lê for design, Thảo Hoàng for photography, Hương Mi Lê for translation and Nguyen Thanh Tam for co-ordinating the event.
The project is supported FAMLAB (Film, Archives and Music Lab) Fund as part of British Council’s Heritage of Future Past project in Viet Nam, TPD Centre for the Development of Movie Talents and CREAM/University of Westminster.
NÓI LÂN CẬN: NGHỊCH ĐÙA VỚI LƯU TRỮ
Một sự nói không cụ thể hoá, không hướng vào đối tượng như thể nó ly tán khỏi chủ thể nói hay vắng mặt khỏi nơi nói. Một sự nói tự phản chiếu và có thể đến rất gần với một chủ thể mà, tuy nhiên, không cần khẳng định hay chiếm đoạt nó.
— Trinh T. Minh-ha, “Speaking Nearby”, Visual Anthropology Review, Xuân 1992.
“Phản hồi với ý niệm của nghệ sĩ Trịnh T. Minh-Ha, ‘Nói Lân Cận’ mong muốn khảo sát và thử nghiệm các cách thức khác nhau để làm việc và chơi đùa với các kho lưu trữ cùng các nghệ sĩ. Bắt nguồn từ một ý tưởng mở rộng về ‘kho lưu trữ’, ‘Nói Lân Cận’ sẽ khám phá các phương tiện kết nối những ký ức từ cá nhân đến tập thể trong quá trình đề xuất các cách thức mới để chăm sóc lịch sử và kích hoạt các bộ sưu tập đa dạng. Các nghệ sĩ được gắn kết với nhau thông qua việc tiếp cận một số các tài liệu lưu trữ như là điểm xuất phát; các địa điểm thẩm vấn các thời gian và không gian khác nhau, các khu vực can thiệp và kích hoạt nghệ thuật đa dạng. “Lưu trữ” đối với chúng tôi không bị giới hạn ở các hạng mục hữu hình, có thể sưu tầm, tĩnh, mà đúng hơn, được hiểu là những vật chứa ký ức dễ vỡ, truyền miệng, bị phân mảnh, khó nắm bắt.”
Á Space thân mời bạn tới phiên workshop đầu tiên trong chuỗi chương trình ‘Speaking Nearby’ (tạm dịch: Nói Lân Cận), do George Clark, hiện sống và làm việc tại Luân Đôn, Anh, khởi xướng. Đây là một phần của dự án ‘Handle With Care’ nhằm khám phá những cách làm việc khác nhau với lưu trữ, đặc biệt là với hai kho lưu trữ tại Viện Phim Việt Nam và Quỹ An Việt. Dự án đã được phát triển thông qua một mạng lưới bạn bè nhằm xây dựng những cầu nối giữa các bộ sưu tập và các cộng đồng khác nhau nhằm đề xuất các cách tiếp cận mới và có tính thử nghiệm hơn với những vùng tưởng tượng có tính lưu trữ và điện ảnh.
Do ảnh hưởng bởi COVID-19 và hạn chế di chuyển, George đã không thể trực tiếp tiếp cận kho lưu trữ tại Viện Phim Việt Nam, và vì vậy, đã mời một số người thực hành tại Việt Nam từ đa dạng lĩnh vực, gồm Linh Hà (nhạc sĩ), Thu Uyên (nhà thơ), Tạ Minh Đức (nhà làm phim), Red và Lâm Duy Phương (trình diễn), Vân Đỗ (giám tuyển), thay mặt anh khảo sát và thực hiện các “nghiên cứu” tại Viện Phim để sau đó chia sẻ các ấn tượng và câu chuyện với anh. Song song với đó, George Clark đã và đang làm việc với bộ sưu tập của Quỹ An Việt tại Luân Đôn trong ban chỉ đạo do tình nguyện viên điều hành, nhằm hỗ trợ các công tác bảo tồn và tái tạo kho lưu trữ của Quỹ An Việt, hay là bộ sưu tập lớn nhất của cộng đồng người Anh gốc Việt tại Anh Quốc hiện đang do Hackney Archives bảo quản.
Phiên workshop đầu tiên tại Á Space sẽ chia sẻ thành quả bước đầu của dự án, bao gồm: một workshop ‘l ặ n g’ của Linh Hà, một vài tiếng thơ đọc của Thu Uyên và một số phim đang trong quá trình hoàn thiện của George Clark và Tạ Minh Đức. Đây cũng là một cơ hội để chia sẻ một số ấn tượng với các tác phẩm bắt gặp trong kho lưu trữ cũng như các phương pháp làm việc với các kho lưu trữ mà dự án đã và đang thử nghiệm.
Phiên workshop này xoay quanh âm thanh, trình diễn, âm hưởng và phát thanh, đồng thời, nghịch quanh những quan niệm khác nhau và các vết tích lưu trữ để lại, nhằm khám phá tầng tầng lớp lớp lịch sử, các thể chế và phạm vi mở rộng của các những vật mang tính lưu trữ. Chương trình này sẽ được tiếp tục với một trình diễn mở rộng dự kiến diễn ra vào mùa thu.
WHAT REMAINS http://www.videoclub.org.uk/what-remains
11 April – 22 May 2022
With: Seecum Cheung, George Clark, Onyeka Igwe, Bahar Noorizadeh, Josèfa Ntjam, Naïmé Perrette, Mamali Shafahi, Oraib Toukan, Geo Wyeth
Curated by Mehraneh Atashi and Tabitha Steinberg
Text by Mahan Moalemi
My film Double Ghosts shows in Part 1: Traces alongside Onyeka Igwe’s No Archive Can Restore You and Oraib Toukan’s Place of the Slave from 11 April – 24 April 2022
What Remains is an online film and events programme curated by Mehraneh Atashi and Tabitha Steinberg for moving image platform, videoclub from 11 April to 22 May 2022. The programme showcases nine artists using moving image to explore collapsing relationships between history, documentary, fiction and reality.
What Remains is divided into three sections – Traces, Closeness and Forwards. Each section includes three films available for two weeks over the programme’s six weeks. Traces features artists exploring archival material to reflect on and re-imagine historical remnants. Closeness features artists exploring their own personal, familial and genealogical histories. Forwards features artists examining how technology has affected the way we view and engage with history and reality today. Although following a loosely methodical structure, What Remains explores the relationship between its sections to reflect its own inquiries into expanded notions of history.
The programme brings together artists of varying backgrounds, identities and artistic concerns, following the artists’ own investigations into multi-narrative stories and cross-linear timelines. This foregrounds connections between disparate methodologies and geographies in new and transformative ways.
Commissioned essay on pairing of Manon de Boer’s The Untroubled Mind (2016) and Shireen Seno’s Nervous Translation (2018) as part of The Machine That Kills Bad People film club at ICA, London to accompany screening 6 April 2022.
Set in the Philippines in the late 1980s, not long after the People Power Revolution that led to the fall of President Marcos, Shireen Seno’s second feature Nervous Translation evokes the uncertainty and precarity of those years through the eyes of its shy eight-year-old protagonist. Yael cooks meals on her miniature kitchen set, watches soap operas on television with her mother and obsessively listens to cassette tapes recorded by her father, a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia. At once playful and sad, Nervous Translation is above all concerned with what it feels like to be a child.
Manon de Boer’s The Untroubled Mind is a collection of images of constructions of the artists’ son filmed over a period of three years. The duration of each shot is around 20 seconds, the length of time you can film with a Bolex 16 mm camera when winding it manually.
The Machine That Kills Bad People is held bi-monthly in the ICA Cinema and is programmed by Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson, Maria Palacios Cruz and Ben Rivers.
Major of Hackney visit to the An Viet Foundation archive project Hackney Archives, London, 11 February 2022
In February 2022 the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, visited the An Viet Foundation archive, the largest known collection of British-Vietnamese historical documents, currently stored at Hackney Archives. The visit was arranged to discuss the work being carried out by a team of local heritage specialists, including archivists, conservators and volunteers, to preserve the records co-ordinated by Hackney Archives and the An Viet Foundation steering committee of which I am a member.
I am delighted to be able to personally support this vital project. Seeing for myself the great work being done by the team of archivists, conservators and volunteers at Hackney Archives was so powerful and their work in preserving this important collection is crucial to ensuring we remember the long contribution of the Chinese, Vietnamese and other South East Asian communities to the borough and its economic and cultural life. It also helps us tell the stories of our proud and diverse migrant history so that we can cherish them for future generations in Hackney. It is a reminder to us all of the deep challenges many communities faced as they built their home here. We’re grateful for this fund which will help us work with the community to stop the loss of this valuable heritage, keeping these chapters of our past safe and accessible to everyone. – Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville
The visit and discussion were documented as part of long-term film project Handle With Careexploring issues of the invisible labour around two distinct archives, the An Viet Foundation in Hackney and the Vietnam Film Institute in Hanoi supported by British Council’s Heritage of Future Part project in Vietnam and TPD Centre for the Development of Movie Talents. This archival show-and-tell was arranged by the Hackney Archives (Etienne Joseph and Diana Le) and the An Viet Foundation steering group (Tamsin Barber, Jabez Lam, Kim Lau, Cường Phạm, Georgina Quach, Vicky Sung, Moi Tran, Toan Vu). Thanks to the archive staff, National Conservation Centre, volunteers and fellow members of the steering group.
New writing as part of ‘Noguchi: Resonances’ project at the Barbican
Oct 2021-Jan 2022
Developed by independent curator and researcher Annie Jael Kwan as part of a digital residency at the Barbican, Noguchi: Resonances is a collaborative exploration in response to Noguchi, an exhibition celebrating Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988).
From October to December, Annie Jael Kwan has invited artists, curators, and thinkers from across the UK and Global Asias to reflect together on the themes related to Noguchi’s artistic legacy, transnational lived experiences, and his voluntary internment at Poston in solidarity with Japanese Americans that were forcibly relocated and incarcerated during World War II in the USA.
Featuring contributions by Yarli Allison, Alexandra Chang, Youngsook Choi, Chong Li-Chuan, George Clark, Rei Hayama, Marci Kwon, Adriel Luis, Ming Tiampo, Mika Maruyama and Nine Yamamoto-Masson.
My film Sea of Clouds/雲海 (2016) is featuring in the exhibition ‘A Hidden Whisper/隱曖喃喃’ at the at Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition brings together moving image works by eleven past residency artists at the museum. Chinese subtitled version of Sea of Clouds is available to view online.
As part of the ongoing project Handle With Care, this series of workshops for TPD curatorial group in Hanoi, explored expanded concept of archive supporting ongoing research and curatorial projects with Vietnam Film Institute devised with curators Trần Duy Hưng and Truong Que Chi.
Workshop 1: Reconstructing the archive part This session will explore ways archives can be approached and explored to reveal their underlying structures – building on work of essay filmmakers we will explore models of critical engagement to explore the historical function of the archive and ways it can be creatively reimagined and reconstructed.
Workshop 2: Reconstructing the archive part Following our opening discussion this workshop will be focused on creative ways we can reconstruct and reconsider the archive. The workshop will be structured around the experiences of FC1curatorial participants who will be invited to bring and share materials and reflections from their initial time in the archive – looking at materials from their research, life and memories to explore the entanglement of the archive with their own impressions, feelings, dreams and futures.
These workshops are part of ongoing curatorial programme building new curatorial models for archival film in Vietnam. The first workshop I did with students was Neither For Nor Against in January 2020 and following by Moving Image Ecology Workshop in September 2021. These workshops are part of longer course run by Trần Duy Hưng and Truong Que Chi over 2020 and 2021 that have informed and fed into Handle With Care project.
Supported by British Council Vietnam, and supported by Hải Anh and Nguyen Hoang Phuong from TPD.
Members of the Mother Bank worked with musicians from Jatiwangi art Factory to write and create songs inspired by their everyday lives. All songs were performed by members of the Mother Bank who worked over 5 moths developing the songs while working their day jobs as tile factories workers, truck drivers, street food vendors and housewives. The performance was part of presentation organised by the Land Study Agency including an installation and investment presentation of the Mother Bank at the Jogja National Museum.
Islands 島嶼 Taiwan / UK moving image festival, August 2021
My film Inner Sage / Outer Kingwas featured in the festival Islands / 島嶼 curated by Wen Hsu and Peter Treherne. Islands, a Taiwan / UK moving image festival, takes place in August via newsletter. Every week a programme of films and letters will be emailed straight to audiences in the UK and Taiwan.
Inner Sage / Outer King was featured in the programme Transmissions / 標定基地 that considers “islands as transmitters. For millennia, navigators have used the way islands affect winds, waves and currents to orient themselves in the vastnesses of oceans.” alongside work and letters with Edwin Rostron and 許鈞宜/ Hsu Chun Yi.
When he stares off into the distance at the steam fog coming from the coast on a winter day, is he aware of the impossibility of a closure, of something eternally unresolved?
They stroll among tombstones of varied sizes and shapes all day long. A considerable number of cigarettes are lit and put out. Photos are taken in a leisurely manner for them to kill some time.
Fictional or fabricated—this is likely one of the few methods with which we are able to identify the past: we hold strips of celluloid film against a light source and look at the lined-up frames. Everything we see in these frames is vague, undetermined, as if their names were lost. We can only try to point at it with our fingers. I picked up the roll of celluloid film on that humid hot summer afternoon. In its negative images, I saw the sea as a vast desolate land; on the surface of the film, I saw dust particles as remote celestial objects. Images, at this moment, became the most incomprehensible and the most ungraspable thing for us. Viewing what I have not experienced is comparable to reading someone else’s diary in a language foreign to me—like staggering clumsily along the illusion-like coastal line in Raúl Ruiz’s films.
A possible ending might be there for this unfinished film: during the time when the shooting schedule is paused, they lean on the rocks, sitting like that couple on the beach in front of the camera. Every person, whether knowingly or not, purposefully or not, is turned into images and becomes part of the past.
Article by Adam Pushkin explores the art scene in Indonesia and the lessons to be learned from their models of collective practice. The West Java West Yorkshire Cooperative Movement is highlighted alongside interview with George Clark and Ismal Muntaha.
For Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF) the approach of Let’s Create would sound familiar. Jatiwangi is a small town known mostly for its ceramic industry. For decades it produced the roof tiles that were used across Indonesia and JAF’s work engages with the changing industrial and social landscape of the town. According to Ismal Muntaha, based there since 2009, JAF is “not working for the community, it is part of the community”. The vibe is that of an extended family: everyone lives together, eats together, creates together.
UK artist George Clark has been to Indonesia twice in the last three years and has forged an ongoing relationship with JAF. He was fascinated by what he saw as a horizontal structure rather than the hierarchical structure present in the UK. This structure isn’t just about decision-making – although Ismal tells me that when decisions are needed, they are usually made collectively – it’s about a fluid way of working: “artists need to be community organisers, cooks, carpenters… and those skills are not held hierarchically”. Or as Yuki Aditya of Jakarta-based collective Forum Lenteng told me, “everyone’s job description is something fluid, where everyone can fill any position depending on the needs of the program or of other people”.