Akeroyd Collection


Thao Nguyen Phan, Tropical Siesta, 2017

Tropical Siesta is a 2-channel video work that opens with tranquil scenes of rice paddies in rural Vietnam, where we see children carrying farming tools, and skipping with a rope in a derelict primary school. Painted images of the children soon appear on the wooden desks of a classroom on the left screen, while real boys and girls appear on the right screen, their sleeping bodies mirroring the positions of their animated counterparts. The filmed sequences are accompanied by a written text that recounts fables and myths of Vietnamese folklore. The children, we are told, are in a self-organized agricultural commune, a central component to Vietnam’s new economy, and play-act the stories they read in school as a form of entertainment and self-assigned curriculum. Through dreaming and storytelling, the children become a symbol of untold histories. Official accounts may be written and remembered but Thao Nguyen Phan poses a compelling question; 'Why would our dreams - the incubators of our lived experience and site of embodied knowledge - hold less value than authorized accounts of the past?' In this way, the film tells a more nuanced account of past agricultural policies of the communist era and examines, in more subjective ways, how they impacted the different lives such policies touched.

Medium2-channel HD video, colour, sound
Duration13 minutes 41 seconds
Editionof 5 + 2 APs