July 31, 2005
The Music Video Art
Chris Cunningham, who is widely known for his innovative music videos, exhibited his work in Documenta - including his work with Bjork, who is married to American artist, Matthew Barney. Director Michel Gondry, famous for his music video work with Bjork and the White Stripes, is reported to be doing a media arts residency at MIT. The music video form has been keen to reflect the latest developments in technology and subculture through popular media distribution and recently has made the cross-over to the fine arts sector.
The New York Times article, I Screen, You Screen: The New Age of the Music Video, is an interesting read transversing both creative process and the business dynamics of the music video.
July 29, 2005
Slice, Splice, Entice
Ellipse (1998) by Pierre Huyghe
From the New York Times:
"CUT/Film as Found Object in Contemporary Video" at the Milwaukee Art Museum is the first exhibition in an American museum to focus on film appropriation in contemporary art, or more precisely, contemporary video. The show, which was first seen in December at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, Fla., has been organized by Stefano Basilico, a former adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Milwaukee museum who once ran an art gallery in SoHo and now works as an art adviser in New York.
With 14 works by eight artists that mostly date from 2000 or later, "CUT" is in many ways a small show of recent art. But with a spacious, well-choreographed installation that moves from lighter to darker galleries, it covers quite a bit of ground in terms of the ways, means and end results of film appropriation. It also includes some recent standouts of the genre, including Douglas Gordon's 1993 "24-Hour Psycho" (which is just that) and Christian Marclay's 2002 "Video Quartet," a rousing homage to the silver screen."
MAM Exhibition Details:
The 14 works in the exhibition, each housed in an independent theatre or viewing room, explore a wide range of variations and methodologies. Indebted to the appropriation strategies of the '80s and sampling in hip hop and rap music of the '90s, these artists are united by their gestural use of the editing.
The artists in CUT have taken the material of their reality, the movie and the news program, and manipulated it to reveal its power to communicate and shape reality. Whether through looping, repetition, erasure or compression, their active manipulation of their medium recalls the importance that action was given by Richard Serra in 1968, when he published Verb List, a list of actions that a sculptor could use to create sculpture - to roll, to crease, to fold, to cut, etc. CUT explores the actions through which artists create video.
Works in the exhibition include: · Soliloquy Trilogy (2002) by Candice Breitz · Video Quartet (2002) and Telephone (1995) by Christian Marclay · Ellipse (1998) by Pierre Huyghe · 24 Hour Psycho (1993) and Black and White (Babylon) (1996) by Douglas Gordon · Horror Chase (2002) and Learning from Las Vegas (2003) by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy · The Long Count (Rumble in the Jungle) (2001); The Long Count (I Shook up the World) (2001); The Long Count (Thrilla in Manila) (2001); and Live Evil (2002) by Paul Pfeiffer · CNN Concatenated (2002) by Omer Fast · The Blink (2000-2001) by Michael Joaquin Grey
Time Out Chicago's review in pdf format.
July 27, 2005
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
The book and film, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (translated in Vietnamese as Balzac và cô thợ may người Hoa bé nhỏ) by writer and director Dai Sijie arrived in Vietnam last year. My colleagues and I were frankly suprised to see it on the bookshelves in Vietnam for its criticism of Chinese politics during the Cultural Revolution cannot be overlooked. The film has now apparently has made it to American theaters. The film review in addition to today's article on director Dai Sijie:
"Mr. Dai moved to France from China in 1984 to study Western art, then cinema. He has lived here ever since, though not as a political exile: he retains a Chinese passport and is free to travel home. Yet when he sought permission to shoot his first three Chinese-language films in China, he was rebuffed. They were eventually made, two of them in France and one in Vietnam. None did well.
It was precisely here that Mr. Dai ran up against problems. Chinese authorities banned the book, and then, having allowed him to make the film in China, they also banned the movie. "It wasn't that I touched the Cultural Revolution," Mr. Dai said over lunch in this town west of Paris near studios where he is editing his new movie. "They did not accept that Western literature could change a Chinese girl. I explained that classical literature is a universal heritage, but to no avail.
His new film, "The Botanist's Girls," is also set in China, but he was refused permission to make it there because it is a love story between two young women. So he shot it in Vietnam, using Chinese actors. And if "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" is any gauge, it will be available in China only through pirated videos and DVD's."
Will Vietnam soon be a choice location for on-location shooting? There are many incentives including low labor costs and now even post-production can be done in Vietnam with new state-of-the-art studios in Ho Chi Minh City.
Some news about film production in Vietnam on Thanh Nien News:
July 22, 2005
Arts Library - Phase One
The arts library is now in phase one, established at the Saigon Biennale Co. space. The seed collection contains approximately 100 books from my personal collection spanning art history, video art, performance art, catalogs, architecture, design and theory. It is our hope that as the use of the space increases, we can create relationships that will bring more arts books to the library. But for now, it's nothing short of a dream finally realized. After nearly a year we finally have a space where the public can browse, research, and talk about contemporary art.
July 21, 2005
Saigon Biennale: July Events
Catherine de Zegher, director of the Drawing Center in New York, will speak on July 21, 2005 at 5:30 PM; Sculptors Shirley Tse and Sara Tse from the United States speak on the topic of "Artist's Life" on July 23, 2005 at 5:30 PM. Both events are hosted by the Saigon Biennale Committee on 3A Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, HCMC.
Thuyết trình “Vẽ đương đại” của bà Catherine de Zegher, giám đốc Trung tâm hội họa New York, sẽ diễn ra tại 3A Tôn Đức Thắng (Q.1, TP.HCM) vào 17g30 hôm nay, 21-7. Tiếp sau đó, vào chiều 23-7 cũng tại địa điểm trên sẽ diễn ra buổi gặp gỡ trò chuyện với nữ điêu khắc gia Shirley Tse và nữ họa sĩ gốm Sara Tse đến từ Mỹ về “Sáng tác nghệ thuật”. Những hoạt động này nằm trong khuôn khổ chuẩn bị cho cuộc trình bày mỹ thuật hiện đại đi vào đời sống, với qui mô lớn, mang tên "Saigon Biennale" vào đầu năm 2006.
For more information please contact the Saigon Biennale (SB)
July 18, 2005
Working Under the 'Influenze'
I've been battling influenza for the last days. It looks like today is the last day. I have been busy still, with the planning of some exciting projects for HCMC which will be revealed in time.
NewMediaArt.UK writes of the OFFSIDE exhibition in Dublin: "This is the best show I have seen in dublin in a long time". I await images for documentation from the curators at Pallas Studios. But this news is promising.
Many friends are coming and leaving HCMC this week, some arriving for business and others following the natural ebb and flow of Fulbright scholarships.
I am now beginning to organize my thoughts for speaking at an upcoming conference in Tokyo on Contemporary Asian Art. More news to come on this too.
July 12, 2005
He has a fruit-shaped heart, but he's not a fruit (or it depends on who you ask). See for yourself. Composer and artist, Nguyen Khoi Nguyen, will introduce new music at:
22a Nguyễn Thị Diệu, Q.3, HCMC
July 18, 2005; 7PM.
for more information email:
fruitshapedheart at gmail.com
July 11, 2005
Sticky Double-Sided Tape
SIDE ONE: CUBA
Last month, the United States was confronted with the dilemma of what do to with a convicted terrorist that had illegally entered the country. What should have been a matter of simply following established protocols (identify and apprehend, deport or imprison) became complicated because the terrorist in question was our man.
The incident involves one Luis Posada Carrile, a one time CIA operative, who faces charges of blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976 killing 73 people. Adding to that list, he is suspected of a 1997 hotel bombing in Havana which killed an Italian tourist and more recently of plotting with three Cuban exiles to assassinate Fidel Castro during his visit to Panama in 2000 (something which the CIA itself has tried without success on different occasions). Posada is documented to have received his training from the CIA in explosives and sabotage at Fort Benning, Georgia and helped organize the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. He stopped working for the CIA in 1968 but resurfaced in the 1980's Reagan administration by helping the US-backed secret Contra supply in Central America.
Posada is currently has an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Venezuala, a nation that in recent times maintains a close relationship with Cuba and that the US has an increasing dependence on for oil. It is no suprise that the US-double standard on how it deals with "their terrorists" as opposed to "our terrorists" has triggered empassioned rhetoric from Venezualan President Hugo who has even gone as far as saying the US inteneds to assissinate him. Adding to Posada's history of violence, is the Venezuelan contention that Posada commited a series of crimes while working with the feared Disip secret police during the 1970's (in his lull between the Bay of Pigs project and this Contra project). What is one to do when one is unemployed? "We are going to collect testimonies that show he's not only a terrorist, but an assassin and torturer," said Marrero, who claims he was a victim of torture by Disip agents following order from Posada.
SIDE TWO: VIETNAM
In today's world press, reports that Vietnamese-American, Van Duc Vo, is fighting extradition to Thailand for an attempt to bomb the Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand. In similar overtones to the Luis Posada Carrile case, the United States is mulling over what ought to be, and indeed would be a matter of protocol with a country with the US has an established extradition agreeement, a no-brainer call. Vo and his legal defense team (and the lot of fanatical extremist Southern Californian Vietnamese Americans that support him and violent action) maintain that an extradition to Thailand would likely precede extradition to Vietnam where he would face execution. Shit, you can do that in Texas.
"Vo maintains he planted two bombs as a political act that was part of an uprising against Vietnam's government -- but defused the devices when he realized the U.S. Embassy was nearby. Thai authorities allege Vo placed a backpack full of explosives in front of the embassy in Bangkok and threw over the compound's fence a box that contained 11 pounds of diesel fuel and ammonium nitrate. Notes were attached to both devices, which were supposed to be activated by cell phones, prosecutors said. Calls were made to the rigged phones, but the bombs didn't go off. Vo, of Baldwin Park, was arrested after returning to the United States in October 2001. Officials later dropped U.S. charges and agreed to extradite him to Thailand. He remains in custody in a federal detention center in Los Angeles. During the hearing, the appeals panel questioned whether the political offense exception would be applicable because the bombs were planted outside of Vietnam. Mayock contended the exception did apply because the embassy is Vietnamese territory."
THE TICKER TAPE
CBA: [begin] Posada's presence in the United States has presented a problem for U.S. officials, who want to support anti-Castro Cubans but are sensitive to terrorist charges against Posada [stop] Posada said he has not renounced violence, but declared, "I am not a terrorist." source: CNN [stop]
VNA: [begin] About 200 supporters waved South Vietnamese and U.S. flags outside as a three-judge panel heard the arguments. [stop] Vo, 45, has become a hero to some Vietnamese in exile who are dedicated to overthrowing the Southeast Asian nation's communist government. He's been charged in Thailand, a strong U.S. ally, with "conspiring to use and using weapons of mass destruction during an attempted bombing" of the Vietnamese Embassy in June 2001. source: Associated Press [stop]
[begin] We have found the Weapons of Mass Destruction and they are us [stop]
THE TAPE DISPENSER
Terrorism is as real as it is a construct. The inability of the US to define and deal with terrorism as it exists will continue to plague any effort toward its eradication. The determination of terrorism and terrorists upon political association undermines any legitimacy the US might have in its "war against terrorism'. The tactics are the same. The only difference is one is state supported.
July 09, 2005
Emerging exhibitions, HCMC, District 7. It reads "Exhibition center".
"The efforts of artists to carve out a public sphere has not gone unnoticed by government authorities, and there has been a palpable change over the past several years in terms of how they deal with contemporary art. Their newfound receptiveness can be seen as a strategy of co-optation and motivated by a concern for surveillance. On the one hand, art has become a tool to promote the city's image as a postmodern cosmopolis in its fierce desire to become a leading city in Asia: the recently opened Doland Museum and the Shanghai Biennale can be seen as showcases for the city's creativity, in a strategy within which cutting-edge art is just one more vector in the aestheticization of labor under contemporary capitalism. On the other hand the authorities realize they cannot stop art production, and thus prefer to provide it with an arena where they can keep an eye on it. Though these strategies provide appreciable latitude for art production, openly dissident views are not tolerated. Under the circumstances, Shanghai artists - though more independent and perhaps more entrepreneurial than their more numerous Beijing counterparts – have recognized there is little point adopting kamikaze tactics and tackling "sensitive" political issues head-on, acknowledging that the only way forward is to negotiate a space for themselves within the ambit of reformist culture. The fact remains, however, that if Chinese contemporary art were not opposed to something, it would never have emerged at all; which explains why the best art being produced in Shanghai today deals obliquely but determinately with issues of public space – for it is there that its own future lies."
Shanghai: Spaces Without Qualities/Spaces of Promise
Parachute. No.114 pp. 13, 16.
July 07, 2005
The Loudest Sound, my latest installation and collaborative effort with Saigon-based photographer Bui The Trung Nam, has been included in the OFFSIDE exhibition in Dublin. I will be posting more information about this work after the exhibition opens and we have some nice documentation from the curator of the work installed. - RST
DUBLIN CITY GALLERY THE HUGH LANE
IN COLLABORATION WITH PALLAS STUDIOS
Pallas Heights will present Offside and Offsite Live at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane from 9th July until 30th September 2005.
Offside, curated by Mark Cullen and Brian Duggan, is a Pallas Heights / Hugh Lane collaboration. Offside is artists working in an unprescribed manner that ignores boundaries between creative endeavours. It places faith in artists to deliver authentic artworks and projects according to their own agendas. Offside is a platform for a wide range of artistic concerns articulated through varied media. Offside runs in The Hugh Lane Gallery and off sites including The Civic Offices, Dublin Docklands and areas around Parnell Sq.
Offside features work by: Albano Afonso, Antistrot, Anna Boyle, Rhona Byrne, Mark Cullen, Brian Duggan, John Dummett, Brendan Earley, Andreas Gefeller, Niamh McCann, Alex McCullagh, Nina McGowan, Nathaniel Mellors, Clive Murphy, Adriette Myburgh, Cristophe Neumann, Paul O'Neill, Garrett Phelan, Abigail Reynolds, Rich Streitmatter-Tran (in collaboration with Bui The Trung Nam), Mark Titchner and Anti-Social-Behaviour-Object.
Offside Live co-programmed by Fergus Byrne on Saturday July 16th will offer a platform for local artists to present their work in a museum context. The event challenges the traditional function of the museum with a startling mix of contemporary live audio and visual artistry.
Pallas Studios & Heights has activated urban spaces outside the conventions of the white gallery cube with independent projects since 1998. Pallas Heights is currently in operation in Sean Tracey House, a block of semi-derelict flats awaiting demolition. In this space it has hosted several contemporary art projects each year but it will be soon be rased by the wrecking ball of developers. This is the first time it will enter the public gallery walls as an invited guest.
Offside is part of the 2005 temporary programme curated by Christina Kennedy, Hugh Lane’s Head of Exhibitions, which focuses on special lectures, off-site projects and installations of international current art practice- underpinning the Hugh Lane’s role as facilitator of contemporary art productions, ideas and cultural exchange within the city.
“There is an alternative art scene [in Ireland], exemplified by Pallas Studios.” The Irish Times
Special thanks to EV+A for their valued assistance with this exhibition, Dublin City Council and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. Opening supported by Wolf Blass Wine.
For more further information contact:
HUGH LANE GALLERIES
Christina Kennedy Head of Exhibitions
Tel: +353 1 222 5552
July 06, 2005
Gramma and my niece, her great grandchild, Jayde (2002)
Joan Theresa Belinc Miles (1912-2005)
I haven't called home for months, although I've been meaning to. I've sent emails every now and then to the account of close family friends who have in turn relayed my updates to my mother. Today I received by email a reply bearing the sad news that my grandmother, at age 93, passed away on Sunday. This entry will be my way of saying goodbye.
You were a remarkable and adventurous woman, born in 1912 in the industrial city of Essen, Germany. You were one of many children. You possessed a photographic memory from which you were able to tell me countless stories that would become more fascinating and more mysterious as I grew.
Your family settled in West Virginia where your brothers became coal miners. It was a difficult and poor life in Appalachia. Your youngest sister, playing near an open compost fire burned and died at age two. As one of the oldest children, you largely raised your siblings until at age 30 had for all purposes given up on the chance of marriage. These were times of both change and chance. It was during WWII that you gave a small photograph to your younger brother to ease him in times of distress. And what many young brothers do with such valuable things, he loses it. Sandwiched between the barracks cots, it was discovered by a young sergeant who fell in love with the image of a then nameless woman. As a devout Catholic, you were preparing to enter the convent when you received an invitation to meet the sergeant, who after a determined search was able to associate the picture with your brother. You met and were married in El Paso, Texas. You had four children, two were twins. You had seven grandchildren. You had six greatgrandchildren.
You loved polka. As a child, together we would watch the Lawrence Welk Show and the Muppets with warm milk and pitizza (a german/slavic rolled bread of raisins, walnuts and cinammon). Sometimes I was an awful unbearable child, crying for hours just to annoy people, including you. It's strange the things people feel sorry about when remembering.
I am sorry that I won't be able to attend your funeral and share this time with the family. I do not have the ability to leave where I am at this time, but I know you understand. I promise to call Mom today. Grandpa will be fine too, I'm sure. You two were peas in a pod.
I think I'll stop here. I think I prefer now to remember privately. There are important people that without, living is more difficult. Ich liebe dich. Em rất yêu bà ngoại. I love you grandma.
July 05, 2005
Joint Venture (Liên Doanh)
an exhibition by artist Khai Doan
Opening Reception: 15 July 2005; 5:30 pm
At the Blue Space Contemporary Art Center
1A Le Thi Hong Gam Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Exhibition open from 15-25 July 2005
The Exhibition is sponsored by
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hanoi
July 04, 2005
Fourth of July in Saigon
Today is the July 4th and I have absolutely no idea what Americans do in Saigon to celebrate the holiday. If they are anything like me, they probably do very little. If I wasn't so broke, I'd entertain the idea of heading to the Texas BBQ on Pasteur Street. Instant noodles and country music in my room is probably going to be the extent of this evening's patriotism. Maybe Nguyen will call from across town with some obsure Team America sound bite. I offered friends visiting from California to sample some delicous apple pie the other night on Le Thanh Ton Street. They said it didn't really taste like apple pie. It turned out to be pâté en croûte de pomme or something like that. Tasted like pie to me though.