2016 ~ Sunday March 20 ~ Roaming Assembly # 4 ~ FAILURE TO TRANSMIT: 'Not I: Nguyen Trinh Thi’s essay films', talk by May Adadol Ingawanij
Not I: Nguyen Trinh Thi’s essay films
This talk takes the idea of the essay film out on a long, far walk. It wonders how the conceptualisation of subjective enunciation changes when dissociated from the standard conception of the essay film’s claim to value: the assumption of the personal – as individualised – voice. Ingawanij's companion in crime are the moving image works of artist and organiser Nguyen Trinh Thi, a leading figure in Vietnam’s contemporary art and founder of the documentary film and pedagogy collective Hanoi DocLab.
Nguyen Trinh Thi's work uses video and photography to explore the presence of past wars and suffering in daily existence, and the materiality of their ghosts in a fast-shifting land. May Adodol Ingawanij's talk reflects on the importance of gestures, movement, and the equivocation between filmic movement and photographic stillness in Thi’s works. It does so to think through the potentiality or otherwise of the essay film. Does the concept travel well? Can the essay film be, at once, personal yet collective in its enunciation, can it be gestural rather than verbal?