LUX is pleased to announce an exhibition of new commissioned works exploring the An Việt Archives, the largest known British-Vietnamese community archive in the UK, presented as part of the British Council UK/Vietnam Season 2023.
In 2021, Hackney Archives and the Hackney Chinese Community Services received a grant from the National Archives, enabling them to rescue the An Việt Archives – the largest known British-Vietnamese community archive in the UK which was almost lost when their former building in Hackney was squatted. The historical documents were created by the An Viet Foundation (AVF), which was set up in Hackney in 1981 to support Vietnamese settlement in London after the Second Indochina War. It was a central hub for Vietnamese families providing support with housing, health outreach, English language, and mother-tongue classes.
‘Well Settled’ presents a series of commissioned works from artists in both the UK and Vietnam, proposing new models for how archives and shared heritage can be activated and made accessible. The exhibition features new works from Nhà Sàn Collective, Moi Tran, George Clark and Lưu Chữ presented for the first time.
On 18 November the broadcast commission ‘Amplifying Archives’ by Cường Minh Bá Phạm, Trà My Hickin, Koa Phạm, Stefan Nielsen, Nic Anette Miller, and Thierry Phung will be launched at our listening party and then online. These new works are part of a larger year-long project to develop new tools for accessing, activating and sharing the collection and shared heritage.
A parallel exhibition will be presented in Vietnam at The Outpost, Hanoi 24 November – 17 December 2023 (https://theoutpost.net/).
Commissioned by An Việt Archives, supported by the British Council as part of the UK/Vietnam Season 2023 and Hackney Archives, LUX, Nhà Sàn Collective, The Outpost, Á Space and the University of Westminster.
Auditory/Visual Access: We have hearing loops, a large print guide and magnifying glasses available in the space.
Sensory Access: Please note that the exhibition space is very dark, and the sound/noise volume is adjusted to a higher level. Let us know in advance if you require the room to be brighter or a lower volume environment. The films in the screening programme include loud sounds.
Founded in 2020 to safeguard the An Viet Foundation, the An Việt Archives is a voluntary group made up of community campaigners, artists, writers, cultural workers and academics. They work with Hackney Chinese Community Services and Hackney Archives to help oversee the care and future of the An Viet Foundation collection. Members include: Toan Vu, Cataloguing Archivist, ACME artist studios, Dr. Tamsin Barber, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Migration & Refugees Network Lead, Oxford Brookes University, Georgina Quach, journalist and editor, Financial Times, Trà My Hickin, writer and historian, Cường Phạm is an artist, community activist and curator, Dr. George Clark, Lecturer University of Westminster, artist, curator.
Hackney Archives is a people-centred archive service open to anyone who wants to explore, share and learn about Hackney’s rich past. Founded in 1965 and holding the records of hundreds of Hackney-based businesses, organisations and individuals dating back to 1356, they are a collaborative service providing space, advice and support to anyone whose work or interests involve Hackney’s history.
Nhà Sàn Collective began operating as an independent artist collective in Hanoi in 2013, when a group of friends set up their publicly accessible space. With or without a physical base, NSC has worked with fellow companions and collaborators to organize exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, talks and other activities as a supporting platform for artists in the community. An initiative for exchanges, expansions and connections. A place that’s also open toward works-in-progress and the unexpected, a just-do-it attitude which doesn’t always yield answers. Some of the Collective’s main projects, which have been held on numerous occasions, are Skylines With Flying People, IN:ACT Performance Art Festival, Queer Forever!, Emerging Artists program, among others. The name Nhà Sàn signifies the Collective’s foundation which is rooted in the spirit of Nhà Sàn Studio, an artist-run space founded in 1998 in Hanoi. The original Nhà Sàn, a house on stilts, was taken in 2020. In the Ngoc Thuy area by the bank of the Red River, the artists imagine this house to become the Nhà Sàn Collective space, rebuilt, and transformed. Members of the collective and artist friends were working on this project together. https://nhasan.org/
Moi Tran is a Vietnamese multi-disciplinary artist, cultural worker, designer, and educator. Through research, theatre, text, sound, installation, video, and performance, her work examines theorisations on emotional intelligence embedded in information repositories, the politics of audition and encounters of witness in events of fugitive performativity. Her recent interests in communication theory and analogue encoding/decoding have produced experiments in information repository systems for imagining alternative narratives.
Collaboration and examinations of a common emotional vocabulary underpin her work, she regularly works with performers including sound makers, dancers, actors, community-performers from diverse groups to challenge conventional performance making and the performer/viewer exchange, using improvisation and duration to investigate alternative ideas of protest and resistance.
She has presented and performed her work nationally and internationally, including ‘Civic Sound Archive’ PEER (UK); ‘Reshaping the collectible’ Tate Modern (UK); Sign Chorus National Archives (Da Nang, Vietnam); ‘Sonic Signalling in Reverse’ (GIBCA Sweden)’; ‘The Bolero Effect’ (VCCA Hanoi, Vietnam); ‘The Circuit’ (Prague Quadrennial Festival, Czech Republic); ‘I love a broad margin to my life’ (Yeo Workshop, Singapore); Shy God Chapter Mot (Chisenhale Dance)‘Shy God – A Chorus’ (SPILL International Festival UK); and ‘SLEEP’ (Live Art Development Agency/Royal Court Theatre UK); Landing 1.2.3 (Mark Rothko Centre Latvia)
George Clark is an artist, curator and writer. His work explores the history of images and how they are governed by culture, technology and social political conditions. His work has been shown at festivals and museums internationally. His multi-part project ‘Double Ghosts‘ held its premiere at Chin Pao San cemetery in Taiwan as part of his project for the 2018 Taiwan Biennial. His feature film ‘A Distant Echo‘ premiered in the official selection at the 20th Jihlava IDFF as part of the Opus Bonum competition. Shot on 35mm film in various Californian deserts, the film explores themes of identity, culture and the construction of history in collaboration with musician Tom Challenger. Over the last decade he has built transnational projects exploring new modes of exchange, collaboration and dialogue. In 2018 he co-founded the West Java West Yorkshire Cooperative Movement with Ismal Muntaha, Bunga Saigian and Will Rose, a collaborative project with the Jatiwangi art Factory, Indonesia and Pavilion, UK. This ongoing project has supported new projects with over 20 artists and numerous communities across both regions. The collaboration builds on his exhibition ‘Living Archive’ (Jatiwangi Art Factory, 2017; Yunseul Museum, 2018), made with over 30 community curators and the collaborative film ‘Jatiwangi‘ (2018). https://www.georgeandclark.com/
Lưu Chữ is a Vietnamese Typography Collective based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. As the only design studio focused on the history of Vietnamese typography in the world, they have developed digital tools to seek and preserve this endangered field of knowledge, including open source software which can document Vietnamese multilingual typography. The studio produces open source resources documenting and archiving Vietnamese design. With this project, Lưu Chữ intends to work with the An Viet Archives and share their experiences of developing collaborative and communal approach to heritage. This project will be the first opportunity for Lưu Chữ to work with partners in the UK exploring the importance of vernacular design for ESEA and migrant communities tracing linkages and connections across the diaspora.
Cường Minh Bá Phạm works between / in / nearby / at the intersections of sound, community, and archives. He is interested in learning (and unlearning) our understandings of history, community, movement, family, sound, language, memory, and how they can inform, challenge, or be influenced by power, knowledge, and / or subjectivity. He is actively involved in the East & Southeast Asian communities in London, primarily working with local refugee and precarious communities. At the moment, he is working alongside a Steering Committee in setting up the An Việt Archives which consists of the largest known collection of documents, photos, and other objects relating to the British-Vietnamese experience. He sits on the management committee for Hackney Chinese Community Services, currently serving the local East and South East Asian community in the UK. Under the handle ‘Phambinho’ he also hosts a monthly show on NTS, an independent online radio platform. In which he, and occasional guests, attempts to reframe ‘Asia’ as a contested paradigm through the lenses of music and art. Alongside Breakwater Collective, he has just finished a four part art radio series, ‘Becoming Forest’ which posits mental wellbeing as a collective responsibility. With a focus on the detrimental impact of Covid-19 and the spike of anti-Asian racism upon the mental health of Southeast and East Asian diasporas, refugees, and precarious migrants in the UK. He has also appeared on BBC Asian Network, Netil Radio, Dublab, no10.as, DSTRACKTD, A:\files, Vinyl Factory, he has performed at Tate Modern and alongside collectives/labels Eastern Margins, Chinabot, Rumah Fest and Nhạc Gãy and has/had other projects with SOAS, AAA Radio, and East Asian Ticket Club x Royal Court, and Chisenhale Gallery.
Trà My Hickin works at the intersection of the arts and community wellbeing as both a community organiser and publisher. A firm believer in the transformative power of storytelling, she applies narrative approaches to social justice and community building projects. She works for Tilted Axis Press, an ongoing exploration into alternatives – to the hierarchisation of certain languages and forms, including forms of translation; to the monoculture of globalisation; to cultural, narrative, and visual stereotypes; to the commercialisation and celebrification of literature and literary translation. She uses an intersectional and people-centred approaches to working with Vietnamese and other ESEA migrant communities, which she brings to her work with the An Việt Archives, Southeast and East Asian Women’s Association (SEEAWA), the Southeast and East Asian Centre (SEEAC), On Your Side (the UK’s first support and reporting service for ESEA communities), and various other human rights organisations. Having been awarded a fellowship from Better Engagement Between East and Southeast Asia (BEBESEA) she is editing and translating a collection of life stories from Vietnamese refugees and migrants in Hong Kong.
Thierry Phung is an artist, producer and videographer born in Montpellier, South of France and now based in London. He released music on Pan-Asian electronic label Eternal Dragonz, Vietnamese trailblazers Nhac Gãy, and made an EP ‘Children of the Apocalypse’ on Kelman Duran and Comic Ans’ label Scorpio Red. This one was made after a return from Vietnam in late 2019, through multiple lockdowns, up until the present day. Defined by its heavily textural atmospherics and cinematic composition, Children of the Apocalypse serves as an attempt to in ONY’s words: “soundtrack the video game I will never create and a reflection on my family history, what it means to be Vietnamese in the south of France.” He also has been crafting stories on his genre-bending NTS radio show. He mines whatever he finds to craft an immersive and strange musical environment. His shows are by turn dark, ethereal and uncanny, often all at once.
Stefan Khánh Nielsen has worked as an organiser and DJ at events in the UK, where he grew up, and Vietnam, where he now lives. He has also worked in soundtracking for theatre, with house music label These Things Take Time, as well as with Hip Hop collective MAU. His approach to music has always tried to prioritise diversity of genre in a way that focuses on bridging gaps between different influences and styles. Through his contributions in radio, such as with Hanoi Community Radio and the Lot, and at parties, such as with pioneering Nhạc Gãy, Stefan has explored psychedelic rock and new age alongside Vietnamese folk, Nhạc Vàng and V-Wave, among other forms of electronic music old and new. Stefan, with roots in Hải Phòng and Sài Gòn, now aims through his work with An Việt to answer questions of how we can learn about heritage through sound.
Koa Pham is an artist who is involved in different mediums such as drawing, sculpture, performance and design. His work prominently investigates the relationship between objects, humans and spaces, with an emphasis on how objects could put an agency on humans and influence their decision-making. After having graduated from BA and MA Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins in 2019, he co-founded ilco. The studio quickly received wide international press coverage, namely Architectural Digest Italy and US, Elle decor Spain, Indian Vogue, Design Milk and The observer. Their design into-form was featured by Dame Marva Griffin in Salone Satellite Milan Design Week and London Design Fair before getting selected by Editor at Large of Wallpaper magazine Henrietta Thompson for Harth. His Exhibition includes 95th Royal Scottish Academy Annual Show, The Foliage IV curated by Do Tuong Linh and Abhijan Toto and World Art Osaka-Painting Now Redux curarated by Mizuki Endo.
Nic Annette Miller (b. 1987, Utah) is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and teaching artist working at the intersection of education and access in American Sign Language (ASL) as well as using a variety of mediums to explore multicultural identities and connection to nature. For over a decade, Miller’s visual art practice has been based in drawing, woodcut printmaking, sculpture, public installations, photography, video, and movement. Her body of work relies on public installations and community engagement to bridge a connection to the environment and the natural world.
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