The Purpose of Parahistory in Late Socialist Vietnam
Organised by:Roger Nelson [email protected]
This talk explores the concept of parahistory to describe artistic strategies that use play or reenactment, emphasize affect, and most importantly, cross one time with another. Artists frame time and historical situations not to contain, but to create an opening out of the historical record. Such crossings include historical episodes of famine and food rationing in Bengal, Japan, and Vietnam, as captured in films and performance works by Phan Thao Nguyen (b. 1987, Vietnam) and Tiffany Chung (b. 1969, Vietnam). I consider parahistory as not only a means of personal awakening and reflection, but also as a way of mediating the politicized logic of history, and its deliberate rehabilitations, as it has informed public understandings of the past in late socialist Vietnam.
Image: Phan Thao Nguyen, The Execution (from the series Dream of March and August), 2018-ongoing