Death – crow – skeleton – charcoal – grasshopper – cricket and dew are 7 stages of posthumous transformation. They cry out loud in the nature, appear in herds and vanish away to be reborn. Here these seven elements invade the room, march on the ceiling, fall down and morph into wind tocsins floating in the air. Wind tocsins used to be made wholly from bamboo, yet these tocsins’ drum is tin can of industrial paint, food container, condensed milk… to create louder metal sound as if they are calling the metamorphosis spirits from the Highlands – the place where they no longer exist.
Jrai Dew Sculpture Garden
“Jrai Dew” discusses critically the cost of new economic society through mythic narratives. It takes inspiration from Jrai belief in the human and the cosmos. In their philosophy, being human is a part of the metamorphosis cycle of the nature. After death, the journey will go back to their origin ends at becoming dew (ia ngôm in Jrai language) evaporating to the environment – the state of non‐being – the beginning particles of new existence. In this metaphorical context, forestland with its people is the vanishing dew, while new existence of modernization and industrialization arise. By using products and symbols that either belong to the Central Highlands of Vietnam or related to the violent changes in history, Jrai Dew leads to a scene of human chaos however in a poetic and dreamy way.
Art Labor has been conducting workshops, exhibitions, screening, gathering among Jrai villagers and experts in different fields such as anthropology, ethnohistory, literature, urban policies, sustainable entrepreneurship, to revive and promote Jrai wood‐carving culture. We invite artisans in different villages to create sculptures out of tree trunks which we collect from coffee plantations’ discarded firewood or the artisans pick in scarcely left jungles. The works reflect contemporary perspective of ritual, desire and observation of their daily lives. These sessions are expected to run through 2 years in Chư Sê. district, Gia Lai province, Central Highland, Vietnam.
Founded in 2012 by Thao-Nguyen PHAN, Cong Tung TRUONG & Arlette Quynh-Anh TRAN
Thao-Nguyen PHAN, born in 1987
2014 Master of Fine Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, United States
Cong Tung TRUONG, born in 1986
2010 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Ho Chi Minh University of Fine Arts, Vietnam
Arlette Quynh-Anh TRAN, born in 1987
2013 Bachelor of Arts, Art History and Philosophy, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University, University Greifswald, Germany & Charles University in Prague, Czech