Patricia Nguyen discusses the historical context, theoretical approaches, and embodied gestures that inform her and Ly Hoang Ly's lifetime performance-based collaboration, "memory vs. memory," which is shaped by seemingly divergent histories of communist revolution and war in Vietnam to offer possibilities for new worlds to emerge. The talk is followed by a postcard workshop led by the two collaborators.
About the Artists
Ly Hoang Ly is a visual artist, poet, and editor, born in Hanoi and based in Saigon (HCMC), Vietnam. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013 with a Fulbright Scholarship and a Dean Grant, and received her BFA from The Hochiminh City Fine-Arts University in 1999. Since 2000, Ly has been exploring interdisciplinary arts including installation, video art, performance art and poetry performance. She is the first female visual artist in Vietnam to do performance art and poetry performance. Awarded several grants, she has been an artist in residence at several institutions in the United States as well as Korea, Thailand. Since 1994, her installations and performances have been presented in various exhibitions and festivals in Vietnam and in other Asian countries including Korea, Japan, Myanmar, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Lao, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as in the United States, Germany, France, Mexico and Chile.
Ly’s works are submerged in questions regarding life and death, belief and lost, tradition versus modernity, honesty and suffering, the state versus individual, and how controversial figures are created with the light of interbeing. She has also had a long-held fascination with the dislocation of language, history, identity and culture, and the conceptual space opened up within different interpretations. Since 2011, the picture and the form of dislocation, immigration and transformation of human lives, where a person’s belongings and heritage are mostly lost on the way of transition, is a subject matter Ly has endeavored to draw and sculpt in her art journey.
Patricia Nguyen was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is a performance artist, educator, and scholar. Her research focuses on critical refugee studies, performance, nation building, state violence, and political economy. In her practice as a performance artist, she creates durational performances and devised theater that centers on oral histories of immigrants and refugees. Her performance installations play with the tactile and sensorial affects of audience witnessing and participation to explore the relationship between bodies, objects, and memory.
Nguyen has over 15 years experience working in arts education, community development, and human rights in the United States and Vietnam. She has facilitated trainings and workshops with The Fubright Program, American Center at the US Embassy in Vietnam, Jane Addams Hull House, Social Workers Association in Vietnam, Asian Human Services, and 96 Acres. She is the cofounder and executive director of Axis Lab, a community-centered art, food, and design studio in Chicago.
Nguyen has performed at the Nha San collective in Vietnam, the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco, Links Hall, Oberlin College, Northwestern University, University of Massachusetts Boston, Prague Quadrennial, and Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile. She is currently a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She is also a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans.