S P A C E | V I E T N A M
IT IS TO HANOI that a 6-years-and-counting continuous journey into Asia began, for me, in April 2013.
Việt Nam. At that time, I had had no… real inkling about ‘whatever in the world I was going to do next.’ Except: to go. To leave the US. To go was the point. To go and to see, and hopefully, to learn the things you would need to learn in order to design the next thing to do, the next place to see, all of that. So, you could think of it like a box, within a box, that had another box inside.
Opening each box was getting closer to the center. The wrappings come off, the layers. You start to peel an onion and you get closer to its core, right? Same with this situation. I was getting from vast and uncertain to something more simplified: the giant wide space of trying new things, for example, was the Outermost Layer. And I’d arrived there after 10+ years of running DK in Seattle and then, later, my home state of North Carolina. I had had ideas about it: that you needed to build a base of people and then build credibility and sell and make money and then you could go and do something interesting. All of that changed after I got to the first layer of ‘Trying New Things.’
Because, buried within that, I found another box. Inside of which it said, ‘Nothing is for Sure.’
More about that, in S P A C E. A future issue.
Blogging and writing about our various trips to Vietnam, numbering more than ten or twelve, I think, by now, since I first arrived in Hanoi. A lot. To think about. All the times I was in Hanoi or writing about it, I would post sometimes to this website, when I had a blog here. The blog posts are here.
And when I looked inside, like, really, when I good and looked, into what was revealing itself, after I had been two months in Vietnam, then two and a half, then more, moving around and getting more and more into the kind of spot where you’re like, ‘Um, maybe this is totally a terrible idea, and I should go back, and then, what, though, what is there too get back to, exactly?’ And without an answer to this, I kept going… forward… into the unknown. More specifically, Luang Prabang. Then a bus to Vientiane. Then Bangkok, then Delhi, then Gangtok, Kathmandu, Chandigarh, and Delhi and Bangkok and Chiang Mai… and then… Phnom Penh.
Where I stopped, of course, for the next five years, but that is not to say I did not think of, or visit, Ho Chi Minh City often… it was, after all, the closest port for a visa run, which you have to do, if you live in Cambodia and you are there because of the things that I was there for. Namely: nothing in particular, and Art.
Okay, all that learning and journeying and circling back to the start, 55 Hang Be, to be more exact, made me stop. And think. About the travels, the movements. The feelings.
2019? and 2020? Let’s see. Let’s investigate. Ahead, the things are even more streamlined. DK and our new friends here, I think, are going to collate and bind, then distribute, some of the printed versions of ‘zines’ created here in the times we have been learning more and more about the things people share, quite openly by now. I think it has to do with getting used to one another, seeing the familiar in the what-used-to-be-unfamiliar. Discovering ourselves in one another, that sort of thing. The stuff, in short, of S P A C E, and making S P A C E.
Here are the issues of S P A C E from our series set in Vietnam…
// G A L L E R Y //
A T E L I E R S P A C E | D A L A T
A T E L I E R S P A C E | H A N O I
A T E L I E R S P A C E | H U E
A T E L I E R S P A C E | S A I G O N
A T E L I E R S P A C E | D A N A N G
T H A N K Y O U !
I have a lot of people to thank, who helped me make S P A C E in Vietnam. There were guests. There were collaborators. There were even people in the online conversations, mostly through the forums I was hosting in 2015, 2016, and 2018, who weighed in on important topics throughout the time I was in Vietnam. Thinking. Replying. Giving me more to consider. In this way, the work emerged on its own, more or less, with the carefully bounded box of S P A C E that welcomed new perspectives. If you go to a place that seems far and not-familiar, and discover it a little, and grow to become endearing to it as it endears itself to you, then you are on to something. ‘Taming,’ like in The Little Prince, with the fox and the prince, say, but more than that. Exchange. And Understanding. These are the things that H. Murakami said we, as artists, must do. And that’s why we are here, and why we are writing and continuing to share the stories uncovered in real time, in the field, in this contemporary context. More to do. Much, much more. But how, and where, and when… are a matter of… circumstance… kinda like at the very start.