Video Spotlight: UuDam Tran Nguyen
UuDam Tran Nguyen’s multidisciplinary practice is focused on the ramifications of rapid sociopolitical development in Vietnam, especially in relation to power, identity politics, and technological innovation. The artist was born in 1971 in Kontum and was trained as a figurative sculptor. He received a BFA from Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University in 1994 and the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2001, and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2005. Waltz of the Machine Equestrians is a witty examination of the social and environmental effects of the rapid urbanization occurring throughout Vietnam. Set in Ho Chi Minh City, the video follows twenty-eight scooter riders literally connected by their brightly colored ponchos and identical face masks, the uniform of the contemporary work warrior, in a choreographed formation whose unified forward momentum becomes a metaphor for the combined achievements and constraints of urban modernization. The accompanying soundtrack set to Suite for Jazz Orchestra no. 2, Waltz no. 2 by the Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich provides a theatrical undertone that heightens the drama of negotiating one’s way to the office in modern-day Vietnam.
Support for Asia Society Museum is provided by Asia Society Global Council on Asian Arts and Culture, Asia Society Friends of Asian Arts, Arthur Ross Foundation, Sheryl and Charles R. Kaye Endowment for Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Hazen Polsky Foundation, Mary Griggs Burke Fund, Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York State Council on the Arts.