September 30, 2005
NYC Draws the Line on The Drawing Center
From the article, Is Culture Gone at Ground Zero? by Robin Pogrebin on the New York Times, it is clear that the erosion of civil rights goes hand-in-hand with the loss of cultural freedom and artistic expression. Detailed in the article is the demise of The Drawing Center and the Freedom Museum from the development plans of the Ground Zero site in downtown Manhattan.
It is of particular interest here as Ms. Catherine de Zegher, director of the Drawing Center, was in Saigon only a few short months earlier (see earlier post), speaking to our arts community of the importance of drawing and challenging the artists to reconsider drawing not only as a part of a process, but itself as a form that is ripe for exploration and innovation. Drawing with thread, drawing from shadows cast by objects, drawing with sound.
The articles reads, the "Drawing Center, was driven from the site by victims' families and New York newspaper accounts asserting that some of the center's exhibitions had been "anti-American." ...The Daily News reported that the Drawing Center had once displayed a work obliquely linking President Bush to Osama bin Laden and another showing a hooded victim of American abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. In an editorial that day, the paper demanded, "Show these people the door."
The development of the WTC site is clearly moving from the centerpiece of the democratic tradition, the Agora, a public forum where citizens freely speak and exchange ideas. This weeks removal of the Freedom Museum to the list of cultural institutions which sought to find a home in the WTC development is unambiguous.
You know the story. Drown your tears in a tub of Hagan Daaz.
Artists out, big business in. Why not replicate Roppongi Hills where at least one floor of some towering shopping megaplex might house an arts space as does the Mori Building with the Mori Arts Museum. If they plan to build a shopping center, they should at least be honest and forthcoming about it. The fictional Wall Street character Gordon Gecko, who infamously said, "Greed is Good" would have found this solution perfect. Please don't hide under vapid claims of the artwork being insensitive when the real agenda is clear. We can now question who the real cowards are. But then again, the Japanese didn't build a shopping complex on the original Ground Zero at Hiroshima. They instead chose the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Elsewhere in today's NYT is an article that is more telling. As Ground Zero Plans Shift, Focus Turns to Retail Space.
A day after evicting the International Freedom Center museum from the memorial area at ground zero for being too controversial, officials described a plan yesterday for a half-million square feet of retail space elsewhere on the World Trade Center site.
I hate to be bitter, but perhaps this is what the families of the victims deserve. While forcing arts and cultural instituations out, they get in lieu a big ass shopping mall in which to memorialize their lost ones. Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
Meanwhile, in Saigon, the development of the Saigon Biennale goes through its own internal and public challenges. I continue to hope for a better future in both the Drawing Center and the SB. At this point, they're going to need all the hope they can get. I think I'm going to be sick.
New York Times. Is Culture Gone at Ground Zero?
Website: The Drawing Center
New York Times. As Ground Zero Plans Shift, Focus Turns to Retail Space
The Washington Post. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, The Original Ground Zero
Zenzibar. The First Ground Zero
September 28, 2005
A year ago an exciting group of young artists from France arrived in Vietnam conducting advance research for the Wonderful District planning: a new arts space for residences, workshops, exhibitions, lectures, and concerts. Members from ProjectOne met with Sandrine, Bertrand and Ghislain and through our conversations shared a hope for a better future for the contemporary arts scene in Vietnam. Three of the five members of WD relocated to Vietnam earlier this year, first in HCMC and now have established the space in the official UNESCO city of Hoi An. Based in Hoi An, WD will continue to organize arts events throughout Vietnam including upcoming solo exhibitions co-sponsored at Gallery Quynh in HCMC. Bertrand will show in October and Sandrine in December. Both I and ProjectOne hope to continue to work on varying levels with WD in the near term. Below is an excerpt from their catalog which can be downloaded in pdf format:
Wonderful District is a platform dedicated to contemporary creation, in which coexist spaces for living, for working, for browsing, for exhibitions, including outdoor terraces, a café-restaurant, workshops, multimedia studio, bookshop and gallery space. Wonderful District is situated in Hoi An, with actions held in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Wonderful District aims to participate in the dynamic 'opening up' of the country, concentrating on the specific sector of Vietnamese and international contemporary creation.
More precisely, its objective and ambition is:
» to present the work of Vietnamese and international artists during exhibitions held at Wonderful District and elsewhere, in collaboration with other organisations in Vietnam or abroad ;
» to welcome and provide accommodation for the Vietnamese and foreign artists and to help them realise
» to support the exchange of ideas and knowledge between artists through workshops based on themes or
» to promote the contemporary Vietnamese arts scene abroad, and the international scene in Vietnam.
» to bring together various forms of creativity (visual arts, performing arts, literature...) in one dynamic venue.
» to bring to the Vietnamese public a larger variety of information on contemporary creativity worldwide through cultural events, lectures, publications and a resource centre.
» to create a congenial relationship between the artists, their creations, and the public, using the centre a
festive place to meet.
September 22, 2005
I have arrived in Pocheon to prepare for the exhibition and performance.
Below is a flash-based slideshow.
September 19, 2005
BANGKOK EXPERIMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL [BEFF4]
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Bangkok Experimental Film Festival has returned for a fourth run, organized by Project304 and the new Bangkok Art Center. For full details, please visit the URL provided below.
All video/filmmakers are welcome to enter. All submitted works need to be executed after 2002 (except in Retrospective and Classic sections, at which works will be selected by our curatorial staffs.) The length of each work entered should not exceed two hours. Productions whose themes show a commitment to promote the creative art of the moving image are strongly encouraged.
35mm, 16mm, DVD (NTSC,PAL)
* People's Choice Awards
1) Short Subject 2) Feature-length Subject
*Best of the BEFF selected by invited committees (Artists,
Film Critics, and Art Expertise)
Each winner will receive cash and a distinct BEFF certificate.
For all foreign films, the deadline for tape submission is September 30, 2005. For Thai films, the deadline is November 1st, 2005. The program will be announced on November 30, 2005.
Final Push to Korea
Pocheon Art Hall and Performance Space
THE PROBLEM OF PROCRASTINATION
I'm busy preparing sketches, stage/lighting/sound cues for my new tableaus to be performed in Korea while awaiting the status of my prints from the photography studio in HCMC that will be exhibited elsewhere at PAAF. My airline tickets should be arriving today. And my new business cards tomorrow. I leave the following day.
The portfolio list exhibiting and performing artists can now be viewed online on the PAAF2005 site
I was suprised to see some familiar names on the list such as Araki Nobuyoshi(Japan) but I'm really thrilled about some of the contemporary Chinese artists. Wang Qingsong, in particular. His photograph was selected for the catalog cover the exhibition on contemporary chinese art I just saw at the Mori Museum last month in Tokyo. I want to speak to him about a few ideas.
THE TROUBLE WITH MEDIA ARTS
I still don't have a laptop but after scouring the city, I believe I've found one. It's not the beauty that the Dell Inspiron 700m is, but for the price, I'll go with a used 300m (Pentium M 1.2, 1GB RAM, 12.1 screen, 60GB HDD, Firewire/USB2/SD Card reader, and with a docking station that has a DVD Burner). Alone the laptop is extremely light, around 3lbs without dock, about 5.5 with the dock. I would have sucked it up and spent the extra $500 for the 700m, which is new, rather than a 2-year old laptop, but my finances are crunched and I need to make due with what I can afford now. The laptop with the docking station, extra high capacity batter, and larger 60GB hard drive will be $950, which I can live with (I can also avoid the 5% VAT charge).
I believe that there's an art to making art. I just haven't hit the rhythm yet. I am going to miss something, somewhere along the way. I am sure of it.
September 16, 2005
Video art at Idecaf
Three videos produced by members of ProjectOne will be screening in looped rotation at Idecaf. "Man Makes Rain" by Bui Cong Khanh and Henrike Kochta, "Body Frame/Video Frame" with the HCMC Ballet and Circus ; and "Missed Connection" with members of ProjectOne both directed by me.
Artistes participants : R. Streitmatter-Tran, Ly Hoang Ly, Ngo Thai Uyen, Bui Cong Khanh, Nguyen Pham Trung Hau.
Vidéaste: R. Streitmatter-Tran
Missed Connection est une recherche expérimentale alliant l’installation à la projection vidéo. L’idée de départ est qu’une installation peut puiser son langage dans l’imaginaire de la vie quotidienne. Cette œuvre repose simplement sur l’interprétation de cinq artistes qui viennent s’asseoir l’un après l’autre à une table et vaquent chacun à ses propres occupations.
Cependant, quelques remaniements post-production ont permis de conférer à cette mise en scène un aspect inédit. Tous les accessoires sont repeints en blanc et réinstallés dans leur emplacement originel, ce afin de créer une sorte d’écran en trois dimensions lorsque sont projetées sur eux les images vidéo.
BODY FRAME/VIDEO FRAME
Vidéaste: R. Streitmatter-Tran
Explorer les relations multiples qui peuvent se nouer entre le corps, l’image et le son, en contestant les lois physiques du mouvement des corps : c’est la proposition artistique de Rich Streitmatter-Tran qu’il développe en compagnie du compositeur expérimental Vu Nhat Tan et de Phan Thi Hong Chau, Nguyen Phuc Hung, Nguyen Phuc Hai, danseurs du Ballet de Ho Chi Minh Ville.
Construit sur l’interaction entre la performance chorégraphique et l’installation vidéo, Body Frame, conçu et dirigé par Rich Streitmatter-Tran, s’intéresse aux vides, aux intervalles et aux pauses qui surgissent de la rencontre entre le son, le mouvement et l’image..
L’HOMME FAIT LA PLUIE
Artiste: Bui Cong Khanh
Vidéaste: Henrike Kochta
Entre le passé et le présent, l’ancien et le nouveau, la vieillesse et la jeunesse, la tradition et la modernité… qu’est-ce qui est vraiment éternel ou éphémère ? Qu’est-ce qui demeure ou disparaît au fil du temps ? Tumultueuse et essouflante, la vie moderne apparaît comme une pluie qui entraîne tout dans sa course vertigineuse.
“L’homme fait la pluie” est une collaboration entre Bui Cong Khanh et le vidéaste allemand Henrike Kochta. Relatant la manière dont les jeunes artistes vietnamiens apprennent le savoir-faire de leurs devanciers, cette œuvre video fait du maquillage de théâtre une métaphore de notre approche du monde.
+ download the program catalog (pdf/760 kb)
+ body frame/video frame on the consulate site
+ missed connections on the consulate site
September 14, 2005
Death of a Disco Dancer
After two years on the road, my laptop has died. I have a backup from a week ago, so most things should be in order until I find a new laptop. This time around, my aim is to keep it as small and compact as possible. I need seamless wireless connectivity, a firewire port, integrated optical dvd-writer - all in under 4lbs. I simply want the convience of importing dv footage for quick edits and burning on the road and upload footage from a DV camera onto the computer for quick edits.
My first choice is the Dell 700m, which in the US is around 950 dollars. I saw a 700m in Saigon, but it's $1450 smackers, not including a 10% VAT (value added tax). At that price, I'm looking at the same range as some of the ultraportables in the IBM line, with the Thinkpad X40 or a Thinkpad TabletPC. The problem with is that most of these units don't have an integrated optical drive or firewire. If anyone has any suggestions on extremely portable laptops with these specs, please email me. I'm desperate. For now, I'll doing my work on an office workstation or simply checking mail wirelessly on my Axim handheld.
I am now preparing for my work in Korea on the 22nd. I looks like it's going to be analogue. And for now, blog updates are going to be a less frequent until I have a new machine.
September 05, 2005
Trung Nam opens his solo photography exhibition tomorrow evening at Idecaf in HCMC. Nam was my collaborator for The Loudest Sound, which is currently on exhibit at the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin and that will be reconfigured for PAAF2005 next month in Korea. The title, Exposing Nostalgia, will be the first time I've seen Nam's individual work in a gallery setting.
photographies de Trung Nam
Nỗi niềm xa xú
Triển lãm ảnh của Trung Nam
Salle d'exposition de l'Idecaf / Phòng triển lãm
31 Thái Văn Lung, District 1, HCMC
Free Admission | Entrée libre | Vào cửa không mất tiền
Opening | Vernissage à | Vào cửa tự do:
Septembre 9, 2005, 1800 hours
Tuoi Tre. Trung Nam và "Nỗi niềm xa xứ"
September 01, 2005
SB Bulletin Board
Saigon Biennale Arts Bulletin Board
This afternoon I dropped by the Saigon Biennale to post arts information collected in last week's trip to Tokyo on the arts bulletin board. It is our hope the bulletin board, coupled with the developing arts library and SB website, will be locations where the public can easily access contemporary arts and culture information. Recent news added includes the 3rd Fukuoka Triennial, Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint, Follow Me (contemporary Chinese art exhibition) at the Mori Museum. We put out the small request that if you are traveling abroad and visiting exhibitions, please do bring some information back with you for our bulletin board!
Absent People Syndrome
Time and Tuoi Tre. What we need is a good love story.
It is reported that Korean actress Song Hye Kyo has decided not to proceed with her defamation lawsuit against three of Vietnam's newspapers, who published news she was caught at Incheon airport with drugs.
Earlier this month, the press in Vietnam was shocked with the news that the star would file a lawsuit against three newspapers for alleging that she was caught at Incheon International Airport with 50 ecstasy pills in her luggage.
The piece was first covered Aug. 10 by Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh — a legal affairs newspaper in Ho Chi Minh City — and was republished by other e-newspapers. Song and her managing company Sidus denied all allegations.
Faced with the lawsuit, Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh retracted the allegations and issued a correction, saying it was not careful in processing the news. Song's case is a warning signal to Vietnamese media in gathering and delivering news. In Vietnam foreign news-makers have often been given little consideration since they live far away. Some journalists here call this "absent people syndrome."
A year or so ago, I read an article in another newspaper that there existed in the Mekong town of Ben Tre, a Che Guevara school. It wrote that at the school a large portrait of Fidel Castro was proudly displayed and that delagates from Cuba paid their respects at school annually. The area, named Moncado, commemorates the close adn long friendship between Vietnam and Cuba (and likewise, there is a village in Cuba called Ben Tre). Intrigued, I decided to search for this school. I invited a journalist from another newspaper and originally from Ben Tre to join me. She had not heard of the school and was interested as I. After a day going into the deepest recesses of jungle and coconut trees, we arrived at what "might have been" Moncado. We there met with an official who informed us that to his knowledge there was no such school and pointed only to a small medical station that was donated by Koreans. He hadn't seen Cubans for years and when they did arrive, it was more tourism than anything official. The story led us to a phantom. Although interesting in itself, it does point to a problem with journalistic integrity. People rarely follow up to verify if the information, particularly in the arts, culture and entertainment (van hoa) is correct. Particularly in cases dealing with foreigners. What are the chances that the foreigner being discussed is going to have some story in Vietnamese translated and verified.
Hopefully this latest public gaffe will encourage better reporting, particularly as it comes to light right after the annual meeting of journalists in Hanoi.