7 May – 5 Jul 2018
Việt Lê (b. 1976, Vietnam/United States) is an artist, writer, curator, and academic based in California, United States. Recent projects twist the formats of pop music videos and place trauma, representation, sexuality, and spiritualties within the framework of visual studies, ethnography, queer theory, and diasporic histories. Lê has recently presented his work at Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont, United States (2018) and Bangkok Art and Cultural Center, Thailand (2013) and in the solo exhibition lovebang! at Kellogg University Art Gallery, Los Angeles, United States (2016). He is a co-founder of The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).
Over the past five years, Việt Lê has been collecting film footage as well as sociological, historical, and archival materials for his experimental film trilogy Sonic Spiritualties. Interweaving the artist’s interest in popular culture and diaspora studies, the trilogy explores the impact of economic and environmental turbulences on music and various forms of spirituality in Southeast Asia. By framing situations where Buddhism meets pop music and violent displacement is translated into songs, the trilogy envisages sonic environments that challenge the borders of traditional and experimental music, the sacred and the mundane, the sublime and the banal. Halfway between documentary and music video, this hybrid production re-envisages the relationship between music and spiritual practices by working across dance, art history, ethnomusicology, and anthropology. Lê’s residency is dedicated to pursuing follow-up research and post-production editing for the final stages of this project.