"Not a single word allowed to utter until the last station, they ask to check the baggage. You open your mouth half way. Near tears, nearly saying, I know you I know you, I have waited to see you for long this long. They check each article, question you on foreign articles, then dismiss you." —Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee
Hương Ngô makes her Milwaukee debut with the exhibition, "You open your mouth half way,” which draws from two ongoing bodies of work that examine diasporic identities, language, and matrilineal histories. The works, inflected by Ngô's archival research in France and Vietnam and her own biography, ask, “How do we remember that which is invisible or beyond language? Who benefits from our histories and the impossible, static versions of our identities?"
“The Voice is an Archive” documents a performance in which Ngô, her niece, and her sister are attempting to replicate a recording of her mother's singing. The title proposes a reimagining of something as bodily and temporal as the voice to carry the weight of history, culture, and information as an historical archive. It is also a reclaiming of the imperfect, non-fluent, and incomplete as a body of knowledge of importance and interest.
“To Name It Is To See It,” examines the colonial history of surveillance in Vietnam and the anti-colonial strategies of resistance. Works included problematize the monolithic nature of the archive and the ownership of knowledge by foregrounding the self-determination of female organizers and liaisons involved. Recently exhibited at the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, IL, the project includes two publications, one containing an essay written by Faye Gleisser, Assistant Professor of Art History at Indiana University. These publications will be available in limited quantities at The Ski Club.