an archaeology project for future remembrance

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all photos presented works installation views
Đồn Cá Trê (c. 1698) in Le Brun’s 1795 urban planning map of Saigon
2013
micro pigment ink, gel ink, and oil on vellum and paper
110 x 70 cm
1972 Thu Thiem Development Plan by US AID (Agency for International Development)
2013
micro pigment ink, gel ink, and oil on vellum and paper
110 x 70 cm
landscapes of a people yet to come – HCMC ICA plans for New Thu Thiem Urban Area
2013
micro pigment ink, gel ink, pencil, oil, and image transfer on vellum and paper
79 x 100 cm
knowing into oblivion
2013
digital C-type printing on glass
26 glass plates, 23.4 x 16 cm each
in collaboration with Erik Harms
knowing into oblivion (detail)
2013
digital C-type printing on glass
26 glass plates, 23.4 x 16 cm each
in collaboration with Erik Harms
knowing into oblivion (detail)
2013
digital C-type printing on glass
26 glass plates, 23.4 x 16 cm each
in collaboration with Erik Harms
erasure begins from the will to knowledge
2013
recovered windows from demolished houses
126 x 126 x 20 cm
erasure begins from the will to knowledge (detail)
2013
recovered windows from demolished houses
126 x 126 x 20 cm
10°45’39” N 106°43’23” E
2013
excavated concrete slab with ceramic tiles
128 x 64 x 30 cm
an archaeology project for future remembrance
2013
3-channel video, HD, color, audio
6’26”

SYNOPSIS

Galerie Quynh is pleased to present at its two locations new and recent work by Tiffany Chung, one of Vietnam’s most prominent contemporary artists. The much-anticipated shows are part of a larger, ongoing series of works entitled The Galápagos Project, which confronts the current wreckage of our world by examining the aftermath of colonization and modernization. Deriving from Chung’s studies on the decline and disappearance of towns and cities due to deindustrialization, demographic change, land development, environmental catastrophe and extreme climate impact, the work investigates the complexity of urban progress and transformation in developing and post-industrial countries.

Based on research in collaboration with Erik Harms, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Yale University, an archaeology project for future remembrance reflects on Thu Thiem, the 657-hectare master-planned new urban area in Ho Chi Minh City over the Saigon River, just a stone’s throw from the downtown gallery. Harms states, “Chung’s ‘archaeology of future remembrance’ sifts through the rubble of development to recapture voices and social spaces which have been rendered invisible by the transformation of a city. It is not a project of nostalgia but of remembrance, uncovering, like an archaeologist, traces and buried fragments of civilization.”

At the De Tham gallery, Chung will present The Galápagos Project: on the brink of our master plans. Two new maps will be unveiled: one based on flood prediction of Ho Chi Minh City in 2050; the other on defunct coal mines in Yamaguchi. Also showing will be a two-channel video installation portraying an allegorical fantasy imagining the end of the human race. In addition, Chung will exhibit her widely acclaimed ‘floating town’ that premiered at the Singapore Biennale in 2011. This will be the first showing of the ambitious installation in Vietnam. Titled stored in a jar: monsoon, drowning fish, color of water, and the floating world, the work was created in response to the extreme flood prediction in 2050 of Ho Chi Minh City and the lower Mekong basin and the rising of sea levels due to global warming. Constructing an ‘alternative urbanism’ based on existing vernacular architectural designs of floating villages such as Tonle Sap Lake (Cambodia), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Sanglaburi (Thailand), Srinagar (India), and traditional farmhouses in Gifu and Yamaguchi, Japan, Chung has modified the architectural styles to build a 1:50 scale model of a ‘floating town’.

Solar panels, rainwater harvesting system, vertical and rooftop gardens, and floating rice paddies appear to be inspired by arcology, an architectural design movement that seeks to combine architecture and ecology in responding to global environmental issues. However, moving beyond those basic principles, the work in fact examines failed utopias by questioning the self-sustainability and effectiveness of arcology. As a form of comparative global ethnography, the work attempts to reveal how vernacular architecture and arrangement of these communities could be a more fluid form of urban planning; that arcological principles have already existed in their ways of life.