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MOCA Artist Film Series: Tuan Andrew Nguyen

© Tuan Andrew Nguyen 2023. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York.

MOCA Artist Film Series: Tuan Andrew Nguyen
The Unburied Sounds of a Troubled Horizon, 2022, 60 min.
West Coast premiere


MOCA Artist Film series is an active and dynamic platform for the presentation of artist films. Inspired by film and video works in MOCA’s renowned collection, the series will offer engaging and notable screenings and live programs with MOCA collection artists and beyond. With presentations in the Ahmanson Auditorium, screenings and Q&As will feature artists, historians, and critics in dialogue with special focus on experiments in long-form, narrative or feature-length films. Centered in the cinema capital of the world, these programs will explore the critical issues of our time and our place.

MOCA presents a screening of The Unburied Sounds of a Troubled Horizon followed by a post-screening conversation between artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen and Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi.

The Unburied Sounds of a Troubled Horizon explores the ways in which material contains memory and holds potential for transformation, reincarnation, and healing. The project is inspired by the people of Quang Tri, on the North Central Coast of Vietnam, which was one of the most heavily bombed areas in the history of modern warfare. For multiple generations, its residents have lived with the physical residue and lingering trauma of war. Since the end of the Vietnam War, thousands of farmers have died from UXO (unexploded ordnances) and approximately 80 percent of Quang Tri is still contaminated by undetonated mines and explosives. The film centers around a woman named Nguyet and her mother, who run a small junkyard on the outskirts of Quang Tri. For the artist, Nguyet is both a fully fleshed character and a narrative vehicle for his own physical exploration of material memory.

Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s work explores the power of storytelling through video and sculpture. His projects are based on extensive research and community engagement, tapping into inherited histories and counter-memory. Nguyen extracts and re-works dominant, oftentimes colonial histories and supernaturalisms into imaginative vignettes. Fact and fiction are interwoven in poetic narratives that span time and place. Nguyen’s videos and films have been included in major international festivals, biennials, and exhibitions including, in the past year, the 12th Berlin Biennale; Manifesta 14, Prishtina, Kosovo; Aichi Triennale, Aichi Prefecture, Japan; and the Biennale de Dakar, Dakar.

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi is an associate professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA (Tovaangar).  Her work engages critical refugee studies, comparative ethnic studies, and transpacific studies.  She is the author of Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers and Decolonization across Guam and Israel-Palestine, published open access by University of California Press in April 2022, and co-editor with Vinh Nguyen of The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives, published open access by Routledge in February 2023.  In summer 2022, Dr. Gandhi organized a public history exhibit entitled Remembering Saigon: From Vietnam to Guam.  She is currently working on a second book project, tentatively entitled Revisiting the Southern Question: South Korea, South Vietnam, and the US South.  Dr. Gandhi hosts a podcast, Distorted Footprints, through her Critical Refugee Studies class.

MOCA Artist Film Series is organized by Clara Kim, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Brian Dang, former Programming Coordinator, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

MOCA Artist Film Series is presented by The Edward F. Limato Foundation.