In the Shadow of the Future
In collaboration with l'Union des Jeunes Vietnamiens de France (UJVF) and l'Union Générale des Vietnamiens de France (UGVF)
Three-channel video installation, color, sound
2014 – ongoing

“Imperialist discourse framed contemporaneous territories and peoples as primitive and anachronistic, or in other words, intransigent, or impassive, to forward movement or progress; such discourse encloses racial, colonial other as on the outside through instrumental uses of time. Thus do post-colonial critics reveal these temporal modes as worlding processes that fire the crucible of empire, of modernity.”

— Mimi Thi Nguyen, The Gift of Freedom

This 3-channel video installation takes on particular events between Vietnam and France from the year 1979 as a departure point to examine representations of identity and time and how they are instrumentalized in imperialist discourses of modernity. In 1979, Tuan Pham, a Vietnamese fighter pilot, went into space with the Russian cosmonauts as the first Asian in space as part of their Intercosmos Program, a political project to connect the newly formed communist governments. In the same year, thousands left Vietnam after the war to escape persecution from the new communist government.

The use of science fiction and the development of space programs is long established as symbolic of a nation or a people's stake in modernity and the future. What deserves greater examination is the unquestioned connection between coded symbols of contemporaneity and their corresponding denial of coevalness, or simultaneous existence, to former colonies, people of color, that which has been marked as “other.”

Performers: Lương Nguyễn Liêm Bình, Minh Ly Lise Le Thai
Music: Hợp Ca Quê Hương, Director: Nguyễn Ngân Hà, Solist: Ánh Tuyết, Pianist: Duy Tâm (Channel 1) & Nodey (Channel 2)
Voice over (in progress): Manouté, Anh Cương Nguyễn
Thank You: Nguyễn Dac Minh, Guillaume Destot, BAU Institute/Camargo Foundation, SOMA Summer 2014