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If Waltz of the Machine Equestrians' linked raincoats symbolize the dynamic surface of the fluid connection of an individual to a collective in the present Vietnamese society, then Serpents’ Tails would dive underneath that ever-moving surface, come inside the maze-like structures of pipes and elongated balloons conveying exhaust gas, a by-product being created while powering those individuals, propel them forward. The Serpents’ Tails video tells the story of how we are linked extremely intimately in our struggle together for survival and aspirations.

 Serpents' Tails 13 - nite 40 motorcycle

Historical connections and conceptions:

Each time I stopped at one of the traffic lights in HCMC, I feel like once again being transported into a dream that I am bathing in a confluence of air-streams coming from hundreds of motorcycles surrounding me. I imagine that they are air Serpents, dangerous, warm & seductive. These HCMC air Serpents fly past, go up and down, left and right, circle around and finally penetrate deep inside me. Inescapable. I thought of the Serpents that killed Laocoon in the Trojan War, of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk and of our collective effort to build the latest “Tower of Babels”. I see the dots to connect those stories. 

 Serpents' Tails 16 - rectangle flags IM

Using exhaust air as a media, I capture it by using handmade plastic sculptures. I fashioned various colorful plastic sheets into long tubes, furniture, clothing, shoes, gloves, and cubes…I staged short time performances of hundreds of scooter-riders with these inflatables in different settings and filmed them.

final ST from above_DSC7904 bao edit e.j

I am interested in how we are connected on the tiny tiniest level through toxic waste. As we inhale the exhaust gases from motorcycles around us, other drivers will take ours into their bodies. That toxic waste would travel deep inside each of us so that one day we will be connected in the gene level with somebody we love, where our mutated genes will unite with another mutated gene to take on a new form of a human being.  This is reflected in the scene U Him/Her Connection. In this scene, there are two running motorcycles in two houses separated by an alley. Each motorcycle with a rider will connect to the other through a 60 meters ballon serpent going from the ground through the upper floors to the roofs of the two houses and linked in midair. The camera will move along the long balloon from one motorcycle to another.

Previous exhibitions and screenings:

National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts - Taipei - Asia Art Biennale 2021

Asia Culture Center - Korea 2020

Galerie Quynh - 2019

Installation - Yokohama Museum of Art 2016

Screening - Asia Pacific Triennale 8th - QAGOMA, Nov 21, 2015

Screening - Art Stage Singapore 2015

Blindside - Melbourne, Australia, 2016

Screening - Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan Oct 1, 2016

Installation - GOETHE INSTITUTE HANOI - (Vietnam) - Mar 09, 2017

Esplanade Visual Arts- Singapore- Jan to Apr 08, 2018

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