HANOI WINDOWS EXHIBIT – December 11, 2006 – January 6, 2007
Campus Hanoi is at 7A Nguyen Khoc Neu, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Campus Hanoi at 7A Nguyen Khoc Neu, Hanoi, Vietnam is pleased to announce the interdisciplinary, multimedia presentation of recent photographic work by Larry D’Attilio in collaboration with visual artist Le Huy Hoang, and musicians Vu Nhat Tan & Pamela Foard.
As mixed media installation Hanoi Windows employs the architectural concept of “interior/exterior” toward a metaphorical investigation of the tension between photographer, subject, and the framing apparatus of the camera’s viewfinder. The exhibition’s concept arose from concerns expressed by Mr. Hoang, a painter, over the ways in which a Western photographer may unconsciously “box-in” Vietnamese subjects within culturally biased frameworks while “boxing-out” or excluding from the image certain others, entirely. The artist duo took this dialogue into the streets, working to identify and frame the composition of local subjects throughout Ha Noi both in-camera (on-site) and in-studio using Photoshop. Mr. D’Attilio and Mr. Hoang opted to present the results of their collaboration as installation media in order to pose the question: “What gets included in the ‘white box’ of the gallery (and) what must necessarily remain outside its walls?” thereby drawing striking parallels between the curatorial practices of contemporary art institutions and the selective viewfinder of the camera apparatus itself. Hanoi Windows incorporates an extended soundtrack recorded and remixed by Campus resident artist Pamela Foard and experimental composer Vu Nhat Tan.
by Lawrence D’Attilio – Participating Artist
Hanoi Windows was a concept born of my need to collaborate on an artwork with several artists crossing several artistic mediums.
The core idea of this exhibit explores life in the city of Hanoi from a nightime perpective. The situations documented expressed Le Huy Hoang’s concerns with the impact on people from the cultural changes taking place as the city’s engagement with the world increased.
The poor people struggle daily to carry to the city enough goods which can be sold to sustain a living. In each face is a concern for the success that may elude them each day in their drive to realize this goal. Around them are the unfamiliarsigns of westernization and new wealth.
The educated realize from TV and the Internet what their potential is. While they feel they have some room to develop they are unsure of the parameters society and government will give them. In every one of their endeavors are the questions; How far can I go with my efforts and ideas before I am restricted by others in some way? They feel they have great freedom of expression but within the walls of an immovable box.
How will the valuable parts of their culture and history be maintained while adapting to the behaviors of the foreign country’s? This question perplexes everyone and answers are not easily found.
It was a challenge for me to understand these cultural counterflows that presented themselves before the camera. Though I could get beyond a tourist idea I was still only looking in at these situations. It remained for Le Huy Hoang to see them from the inside looking out to the world Hanoi was increasingly embracing.
Adding to this is the increasing presence of foreigners who arrive with an enthusiasm but with little comprehension of what they see. In this installation this is characterized by the western sound of the violin playing within an interpretation of the recorded sounds of the Hanoi streets.
The tensions of population density, evolving culture, and confining physical spaces add to the jumble of daily emotions you can feel in Hanoi. Its people are warm, sincere, and direct and the streets are filled with an unceasing action as if collective exuberance was felt to be a national ideal. It all takes place against a background of societal restrictions and the struggles of poorer people. Together this positive and negative balance is a part of the daily experience thus the exhibits bamboo poles restricting access, movement and viewpoints within the exhibit installation.
This installation work was first exhibited only 5 weeks after it was conceptualized. Hard work from 4 artists working together made that possible. But I believe that the very strong soul and intensity that underlies the Hanoi arts community had the most impact driving us forward into this form of expression.