Our series ‘Moving Reels: A Social Dialog – Vietnam looks at South Asia’ returns this month with two video selections from India and Vietnam: ‘Lovely Villa – Architecture as Autobiography’ by Rohan Shivkumar and an excerpt from ‘Home (Good Infinity, Bad Infinity)’ by Lêna Bùi. ‘Moving Reels’ focuses on furthering cross-cultural conversations between Vietnam and South Asia via the exploration of cinema as a form of cultural critique and social engagement.
In our continuing investigations of modernity focused on the form and arrangement of space, we turn our attention to lived experiences in space. Tracing movements in and of space, we consider how humans and space interact with and act upon each other. Our cinema-led examinations of the conceptual and physical organisation of space, lead us towards the ‘home’ and its meanings, resonating across three nations; India, Vietnam and UAE. Acutely aware of the subjectivity of space, ‘Lovely Villa – Architecture as Autobiography’ and ‘Home (Good Infinity, Bad Infinity)’ foreground the many actors that contour the personal experience of the space we call ‘home’; design; materials; institutions; climate; relationships; memories and our senses. Both films explore how our body and consciousness take shape in relation to the material and immaterial properties of space and the encounters between individual and collective forms of habitation. How do spaces imprint themselves upon us and what traces of ourselves do we leave in spaces?
‘Lovely Villa – Architecture as Autobiography’ by Indian filmmaker Rohan Shivkumar is a biography of a person narrated through the prism of a place; the home of the filmmaker. The film contemplates the connection between two spaces; the nation and the neighbourhood to ask which experiences and values become possible in the architecture of middle-class housing of urban India in the 1970s? What imaginaries of family, community and citizen do individuals summon in the affordable and secular design of an apartment building in suburban Mumbai? In creating a visual representation of the visible and invisible relations between history and present, the film skillfully recruits space as a narrator. An architectural approach to image-making observes surfaces, shadows, light, sounds; elements through which space is perceived and experienced.
‘Home (Good Infinity, Bad Infinity)’ by Vietnamese visual artist Lêna Bùi traces the meaning of ‘home’ in a transient topography where industrial development and planetary flows of goods and materials contour space, senses and movement, the elements of everyday lived experience. In Bui’s film, a dialogue arises between the global scope of spatial change occurring in the re-shaped geography of waterways in Saigon and Sharjah, and its inscription upon bodies, livelihoods and dreams. Placed centre stage is the question of categorisation of space into zones like, the forest, the city; the industrial, the residential and how the categories come to be organised; what they enclose, permit and restrict. In these zones, how do humans live with and against the natural and built ecologies?
Join us for a discussion following the video screening, led by Dr Shweta Kishore (film studies scholar and curator), Andrew Stiff (Associate Lecturer, School of Communication & Design, RMIT University – Vietnam) and Lêna Bùi (visual artist).
*Photo: Lovely Villa – Architecture as Autobiography (Director: Rohan Shivkumar. 2019). Image credit: Charles Correa Foundation
What is ‘Moving Reels’?
‘Moving Reels’ is a series of workshops that explores the diverse functions of cinema in public culture, both as text and practice. This program aims to be a forum for fostering cross-cultural dialogue between Vietnam and different geographical contexts, engaging how citizens and artists use cinema to reflect upon, and critique, transformations between society and the individual, examining how this relationship is of impact on their physical and psychological environment. For example, the first year’s program, which focuses on the cinematic synergies between Vietnam and South Asia, developed and curated by Dr Shweta Kishore, will look at Vietnam and India’s shared discourse between public architecture and nation building in urban life. Structured as a video screening followed by guided discussions around relevant themes, the ‘Moving Reels’ workshops envisage educational outcomes that contribute to constructing meaningful viewing cultures and cinema spaces in Ho Chi Minh City. A chance to look at our interwoven world through a cinematic kaleidoscope!
This program aims to foster commonalities with people near and far, looking at our shared ‘materials’ that stem from intertwined historical circumstances, social upheaval, and cultural context, all through the language of the moving image. More importantly, The Factory wishes to activate an interdisciplinary thinking community for visual artists, filmmakers, architects, anthropologists, and other cultural workers in Vietnam, pushing the boundaries, understanding and relevance of cinema today.
➖Adult: 100,000VND (online); 130,000VND (at door)
➖Student (with Student ID): 40,000VND
**Participants of the event allow The Factory and co-organizer (if applicable) to use their images and statements as documentary for the program, for non-commercial purposes such as: archive, press, media, promotion on our website, Facebook etc,.