Vo Vo MFA Visual Studies Thesis 2020

This work critiques the dominant narrative with regard to the US War in Vietnam, as told by popular media. The artist attempts to counteract prevailing US-centered and largely masculine memorial and information, and subvert stereotypes of Vietnamese passivity. Personal narrative, collaboration with community members and collages of literary texts by queer and femme Vietnamese writers weave into the thesis as an attempt to break down the monolith of Việt Nam as an expired memory, a tragedy, a conflict, and complicating its memorialization with the contemporary, with queerness, and post-modern femininity/feminism. The artist emulates theory from Mimi Thi Nguyen regarding the ‘gift of freedom’ from empire in exchange for refuge and military intervention, and proposes textiles work as reclamation of co-opted cultural and manual labor. The work communicates an immigrant non-binary diasporic perspective, tribute to and uplifting of Vietnamese womanhood, trans identity and queerness filtered by distance and and intergenerational trauma. They situate their work in a current capitalist context of liberalism – that of which thinly disguises the debt seemingly owed and resources expected from the immigrant subject through forced assimilation, and back-breaking production. Lastly, they put forth resilience and community-building as a survival tactic in response to cumulative PTSD brought about by US imperialism, subjugation, colonization and late capitalism.

217 albums

MFA in Visual Studies Thesis Works