‘Muted Conversations’ is an ongoing project that explores the spirituality and superstitions surrounding rituals in Vietnam today.
This series by Dat Vu includes both staged and candid images taken during his extensive travels across the country. These images reveal how local people, across diverse regions, perform rites and rituals in sacred spaces and in daily life; hinting at the subliminal differences between rural and urban life; between public and private space; between understanding ourselves as observers, voyeurs or provocateurs.
‘Muted Conversations’ aims to address the significance of traditional cultural practices as Vietnam rapidly transitions into a new era of economic possibility. How do people adapt and incorporate these practices into different aspects of their life? What is their understanding towards the different system of beliefs and values that overlap with one another? And where do we find our identity in this flux of historical legacies and contemporary movements? While these questions refer to a collective mindset, the observations will be within Dat’s personal context.
‘Muted Conversations’ was recently exhibited at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, in Ho Chi Minh City as the first exhibition in the series of ‘Materialize’, a program that aims to provide exhibition opportunities for Vietnamese artists who have had little chance to create exhibitions of their art in Vietnam.
Dat Vu is an emerging visual artist who works primarily with photography. He is an honours graduate of Wesleyan University, USA, and a Mortimer Hays-Brandeis Traveling Fellow – http://datvu.format.com.