tôi viết (tiếng Việt) | i write (in Vietnamese) imagines and constructs an exhibition of word-objects and letter-beings born from a play between texts and images and sounds in various materials and mediums, along with poetic prints of young (Vietnamese) writers and artists in Vietnam.
When thinking of a word, a letter as an object or a living thing, can this presence possibly be a wriggling being, or does it only exist as a poetic imaginary? Is it possible for the letters lying on the flat surface of a paper or screen to jiggle, breathe in and out, or be held up and put down by our hands? Could a letter be a thing that does not stick tightly with presumptions of its signification, but instead connotes the presence of its object and letter-being? And how can the “beauty” of these exhibited word-objects and letter-beings be seen without being constrained in the decorative effect of the materials?
The core and starting point of the working process among authors, translators and artists in this project is the writing action. Writing letters: they appear and disappear, are born and transform, melt and dilute, are lost and are found; writing letters translates into writing pictures, writing moving images, writing sounds, writing papers, writing earth, writing waters. The word objects and letter beings here are not only multimedia and multilingual experiments of these writers who “encroach” upon other arts, but also a process of searching, experimenting, failing to experiment, translating and self-translating in between different materials and mediums, to come back to the initial question: which (Vietnamese) language could I write in, and how? This question is intimately significant to these young writers and artists, the writers who use languages other than Vietnamese in their ordinary and writing life, the writers who write in Vietnamese and are not yet geographically rooted, the writers whose only choice is Vietnamese, the writers who want to commit their whole lives to Vietnamese, ect. A question of root, of origin. The streams flow away from their origin as forming their existences. The roots absorb nutrients from the air and grow upwards. tôi viết (tiếng Việt) | i write (in Vietnamese) is by itself a hesitation, a dilemma, going back and forth. What apparently exists: the act of writing, as the act of water flowing, as the act of roots absorbing nutrients, patient, boring, resilient, tiptoeing, creeping, and floating.
Order i write (in Vietnamese)