The end of the Vietnam/American War lead to one of the largest exoduses of the latter part of the twentieth century: more than 3 million people escaped from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos over the course of two decades starting in 1975, many by boat and an estimated 1 million died at sea. How do you witness and retell stories of violence in the aftermath of war and dispossession at sea in the context of U.S. empire and Vietnamese socialist revolution? Project 0395A.ĐC, a multi-media installation by Vietnamese artist, Ly Hoang Ly, intentionally structures and choreographs disorientation to grapple with the condition of being dispossessed at sea, as the Vietnamese refugee is suspended at sea and entangled in histories of French colonialism and caught at the crux of U.S. imperial war and Vietnamese socialist revolution. I argue that disorientation is a performative experience and method that performs an act of refusal to break voyeuristic modes of consuming histories of violence and reorients the body to another theory of Vietnamese refugee subjectivity. I analyze how Ly creates a performative installation and performs with water as the core aesthetic material used to frame, dialogue, and re-narrate a story of Vietnamese refugee subjectivity.
- critical refugee studies
- Vietnam War
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts