Hương Ngô is an artist and educator, born in Hong Kong, of Vietnamese and Chinese origin, raised in North Carolina, and based in Paris and New York.
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To Learn a Language
Performance with Cassette Tape Recorder
“For general Western spectatorship, Vietnam does not exist outside of the war. And she no longer exists since the war has ended, except as a name, an exemplary model of revolution, or a nostalgic cult object for those who, while admiring unconditionally the revolution, do not seem to take any genuine, sustained interest in the troubled reality of Vietnam in her social and cultural autonomy. The more Vietnam is mystified, the more invisible she becomes.”
I use the simple device of a cassette recorder to create a language learning tape in real time. Beginning with a seemingly innocuous series of questions, my responses on the second round of recording reveal hidden narratives of gendered power inequalities, geopolitical struggles, and family trauma through a constant shifting of subject positions and subtle nuances of tone.