Tran Luong (Founder, Nhà Sàn Studio) received an ACC Fellowship in 2008 to research contemporary art and participate in performance art festivals in Chengdu and Solo (Surakarta), focusing on networks of regional exchange between Vietnam, China, and Indonesia. Tran Luong was part of the Gang of Five (est. 1983), a group of painters influential in the development of contemporary art in Vietnam. His practice has since ranged from painting to installation, video, curation, and performance art. He shares his video “Slumberous in the Analog era”—recorded in Hanoi in the early 2000s and re-edited in January 2020—as he reflects on the impacts of COVID-19.
“Slumberous in the Analog era" is an old work from 2001 that reflects my feelings about being aloof and isolated in the Analog era. During this social distancing time, I re-edited its text/subtitles because I found it seems to have a similar mood to the state of the current situation of humanity in the pandemic. The first half of the video is silent, and the second half will have sound.
Slumberous in the Analog era
off the island
in the dust clouds
The pandemic has changed us comprehensively! Besides many difficulties in life and creativity, I also noticed positive changes in the new environment. For the first time, I realized:
- There are celebrity artists interested in social and political issues.
- Politicians in Vietnam are facing their problems and understanding the value of honesty.
- The importance of plants, animals, and the five elements have been taken more seriously.
- People understand that profit and surplus value are not enough for an open economy and a civilized society.
- Some successful artists and curators have noticed and cared about the small problems of the locality where they were born or live—all things they seem to have forgotten when they became international artists.
- Many other artists especially young contemporary artists and local art organizations naturally think more broadly, crossing borders and investing their thinking into ways to live and compose beyond what is right in front of them. They are concerned with environmental issues and sustainable living.
- In the past five years, cultural and artistic exchanges in East and Southeast Asia have been more bustling, diverse, and much more open. The activities include concerns about developing curatorial practice within the young generation, cultural leadership training, information sharing on freedom of expression, and growth of the contemporary art language and its relationship to social development. Developing contemporary art in Southeast Asia takes place outside the Academy of other official art organizations. Artists work guerilla-style.
- In this period of "reorientation and restructuring", the voice of art will be effective in creating reminders and suggestions about the value of the relationship between people and the environment, the value of the Humanities, and the possibility of creating new ways of thinking about art.
- Regarding the adjustment of artistic activities in the current period: using virtual networks is a temporary and effective measure. However, the virtual network has not and may never reach a sufficient technological level to replace the six senses (the sixth sense is the spiritual sense). Therefore, as soon as it is possible, it is necessary to support and give the arts additional opportunities for connection and artists the ability to communicate directly!
Grantee Reflections is a platform for ACC alumni to share their collective voice as an international community of artists, scholars, and cultural ambassadors. This is a cultural exchange of words, image, video, and sound from around the world. While our bodies cannot travel, our minds can still meet.