The Gift, 2018, Will Pham
3 channel site specific video projection in An Viet community hall, 12 mins loop, no sound.
Instructions: The videos play from 12pm on loop. It was turned off at 3pm for Sung’s spoken word performance about inferiority complex in the same dark room about 15 minutes. After the performance, the projectors were turned back on and played in silence. At 5pm there was a discussion group led by Hau Yu Tam in the same space with the video projectors playing in the background. It was then turned off at 6pm.
‘Record, Retrieve, Reactivate’ opens Saturday 31st March 2018, 12pm- 6pm
Performance at 3pm
Exhibition: open by appointment
An Viet Foundation, 12- 14 Englefield Road, London, N1 4LS, UK
This exhibition looks at the 36-year history of An Viet Foundation - a community centre in Hackney for Vietnamese refugees providing language support, employment training, business advice, social and health activities, the first Vietnamese UK housing association, a restaurant and a Southeast Asia research library. It was founded by Mr Vu Thanh Khanh MBE, who was a Vietnamese boat refugee himself and the first Vietnamese councillor for Hackney.
The exhibition revisits this moment in time in order to consider recurring/ residual political issues and to ask further questions to younger generations, such as that of inheritance, archiving, community, creativity, education and care for the materials left behind.
Co-curated by Cuong Pham, Hau-Yu Tam, Will Pham
* Performance at 3pm by Sung Tieu
* Video by Will Pham
* A curated display by Cuong Pham & Will Pham
* Food and drinks by LESAM SOAS society
* Discussion by Ha Vu about Indigo magazine
* Learn about SOAS London East & Southeast Asian Society (LESAM).
Closest station: Dalston Junction.
Poster designed by Jade Chao
Exhibition documentation: Caro Gervay, Hau-Yu Tam, Will Pham, Hana Le
Organised by Hau Yu Tam
Transcript and video documentation coming soon.
Record, Retrieve, Reactivate- Review by Vu Thai Ha, 2018
Record, Retrieve, Reactivate, curated by Will Pham and Cuong Pham, was an exhibition that revisited the An Viet Foundation’s 36-year history. Founded by Vu Khanh Thanh MBE, the centre was a housing association, a research institute for Southeast Asian studies, and the first Vietnamese restaurant in London before the flood came to Kingsland Road. The exhibition included archived photographs of Vietnamese refugees at the centre, a performance by artist Sung Tieu, and Will Pham’s three-channel video installation. The works were site-specific: they were intrinsically linked to the An Viet building, but also to the current efforts to maintain An Viet, which is undergoing the process of being dissolved.
Record, Retrieve, Reactivate asked questions about responsibility. When a centre serves and belongs to a community, who is responsible for maintaining and curating its materials? How can a new narrative be developed for the younger generations? Moreover, the exhibition questioned the right of outsiders to help a community or claim to speak about their experiences. Both organisers documented the starting point of a restoration and development process, which, like the exhibition itself, is a rare snapshot of this moment in time for the British Vietnamese community in London.
Will Pham first came to An Viet when he was building his own archive of memoirs and literature from the Vietnamese diaspora. Having found an existing library at An Viet, he instead looked to add to the library while using its resources for the research-led nature of his practice. After two years of neglect following its close, the building had become dilapidated. His 12-minute silent installation is, at its core, a study of damage and care. With three channels that spanned the length of a back room at An Viet – where Jun Mo Wing Chun classes are also held – images of mould juxtapose clips of the floor being mopped, or a dusty sign being washed.