“Roots” is about my last visit home, Hanoi, in 2012, before my family miggrated to Toronto. It was the last time I am the resident of the town: a Hanoian. During this period I was wandering around the city, trying to record the little streets and corners that shape my experience of growing up in a big busy city.
Through these small books, I reflect my changing perspective of the place I was born in and understanding of the people I grew up with.
Installation view at Behind The Terrain exhibition, Nha San Collective, Hanoi, Vietnam
The first book is about the strange sensation of being in spaces that were once familiar.
Time is one of the main factors that distorts spatial memories.
The second book is about the change of pace of life in my hometown.
Hanoi has become faster than I thought. Sometimes in the chaos of everyday life,
images of human become those blurry shadows haunting every corner of town.
The third book is about my dad. He has keen observations about people that are wonderful in details and brilliant in hilarity.
It was interesting and amusing to make a portrait about an observer. As I watch him looking at other people, I notice subtle
changes in the dynamic of the spectator and his subjects.
The fourth book is about my sister's wedding, who came back to Vietnam to held a formal wedding, fulfilling
obligations of descendants. Wedding in Vietnam is treated as another form of business, in which people and relationships
are commodities. Vietnam's culture usually expects people to have a big wedding, as it directly affect one's reputation.
The fifth book is simply a visual poem about the remaining beauty of old Hanoi as
a lot of historical architectures have been destroyed with the rapid development and urbanization of the city.
The sixth book is about Tet or Lunar New Year, which always reminds me of childhood.
Kids tend to enjoy Tet more because they havetime off from school.
For adults, Lunar New Year just means more work and expenses.
The seventh book is an attempt to pack memories of my childhood,
the street I lived my whole teenage life, and the corners where I spent a lot of time when I was a kid.