HD What My Eyes Behold Is Simultaneous, 2019 [exhibition]

What My Eyes Behold Is Simultaneous, 2019 [exhibition]

AFN 8120 videos

What My Eyes Behold Is Simultaneous SITE Columbus Gallery, ChicagoMarch 29th to April 20th 2019Opening reception | March 28th | 4:15pmTo watch a ping pong match is to witness an intimate, intricate exchange between two people. The players are their own and each other’s choreographers, changing boundaries and possibilities, guiding the other’s body with their swings and twists. In What My Eyes Behold Is Simultaneous​, the solo exhibition by Thùy-Hân Nguyễn-Chí, the ping pong game serves as imagery for these loops of influence between people on small and vast scales, across space and time.In ​​Syncrisis​​ (2018), the viewer sees a ping pong table on which a ball eerily bounces back and forth with no visible players, in the midst of a night-time forest. This sense of hauntedness pervades throughout the exhibition, as preternatural phenomena, as references to signs of former life, or as phantom flashes in multi-layered videos. Footage of the notorious self-immolation of the Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức is layered with other cinematic samples and narrated with a voice-over of Nguyễn-Chí’s father describing his first-hand witness of the event and how that changed his political orientation. The stacked accounts of the same event evoke the way history comprises an infinity of traces, and that one’s memories are complex assemblages of one’s own experiences and the prosthetic memories from family narratives or mass culture.Trịnh T. Minh-Hà, a feminist scholar and filmmaker, whose movies reflect her diasporic relationship to “homelands” and anti-ethnographic politics, referred to her work as a relation to infinity. Nguyễn-Chí’s approach elicits this infiniteness, of uniting different situations by their synchronous emotions and exploration of personal freedom within a suppressive system. ​Intergrade Hole​​ (2015) sonically transports the visitor to the Namibian desert set synchronously in the past and future where the soil has been exploited for natural resources. ​Linger on Your Pale Blue Eyes​​ (2016) presents the disembodied narration of a scientist fleeing from East to West Germany during the Cold War, navigating herself with the aid of the starry sky. The three pieces interweave past, present, and future, suggesting the way history is collapsed within people and places.Nguyễn-Chí’s surrealist, hallucinatory filmmaking style asks us to imagine perception less regulated by prescribed rules. We are presented with tapestry of senses, of disembodied voices and undeterminable sounds and visions. In its dissolution of a narrative on or off-screen, it questions how narrative powers of history are sustained, and suggests how to dissolve them.— Minh Nguyễn