Lengthy Time No See – The Leica digital camera Weblog


Since 2015, Lengthy Time No See has advanced right into a multimedia challenge that not solely affords intense perception into part of historical past that may by no means be forgotten, but in addition opens up the medium of images to new collaborative approaches. On this interview, Andrea Orejarena and Caleb Stein speak concerning the genesis of their year-long challenge, breaking outdated narrative habits and blurring the traces between desires and recollections.

How did the challenge come about, what motivated you to begin it?
In 2015, we have been residing in Hanoi as alternate college students. In the future, this system we have been with organized a go to to Làng Hữu Nghi. It’s a residence for Vietnamese veterans and youthful generations affected by Agent Orange, the chemical weapon utilized by the U.S. throughout the Vietnam-American Battle.

We felt a bit apprehensive about this type of “warfare tourism”. Though neither of us have been really born within the U.S., we have been Individuals with a U.S. program. We have been conscious of the context with which we have been coming into the area, and the load this would possibly carry with it. After we arrived, the veterans and the youthful era have been sleek; there wasn’t an oz of seen anger of their faces. After we advised them about our preliminary hesitation to go to, they joked, “Why would we be mad? we received the warfare”.

This reply struck us, and turned our understanding of the battle on its head. We realized that we had solely acquired a Western-centric narrative about this battle, one which primarily bolstered U.S. overseas interference and imperialism. In that second we knew that we needed to work in a collaborative manner with the Vietnamese veterans and their descendants, to supply a counter-narrative.

We went again to Làng Hữu Nghi to listen to tales concerning the warfare, and views we had by no means heard. When our time as alternate college students was over, we knew that we needed to return once more and do a challenge with them. There have been many issues that we, as Individuals, had no concept about. We went again to the States, graduated, bought jobs for a 12 months to lift cash, and in the beginning of 2018 we returned to Vietnam and commenced a long-term, intimate collaboration.

This collaboration consists not solely of pictures, but in addition of work and movies. What’s the concept behind it?
We went into this challenge with no preconceived concepts about what kind it could take. With time, the construction of the collaboration began to take form as folks realized how they needed to precise themselves. Lots of the folks within the images contributed work, and generally drew straight on the pictures. Their drawings additionally seem on the partitions of their bedrooms within the background of the pictures. In the identical spirit, the movies are dream-like vignettes we co-directed with Vietnamese veterans, blurring the traces between recollections, desires and want fulfillments.

Our course of affords an alternate, essential strategy to inventive alternate, which we hope can open up a democratic area for the viewers to work together with the work and to strategy the aftermath of this warfare from a number of entry factors. In all the elements of this work, we’re excited about how bigger socio-economic and political buildings are seen, or hidden, inside what’s private, psychological, and non secular.

Might you describe the collaborative facet of the challenge?
On one stage, this work was made as an artist duo between us – Andrea and Caleb. We developed the general idea as a duo, and introduced collectively a variety of mediums to create a dialogue concerning the reminiscence and legacy of the Vietnam-America Battle.
On one other stage, this work is the results of a collective strategy to art-making, and accommodates contributions made by different artists. We wish to make it okay to acknowledge another person’s work in a challenge. Even when some artists enable for the themes to jot down or draw on their images, the plaques in museums solely have one identify on them, when it’s clear that there have been total groups that went into the creation of the work, and the work wouldn’t be the identical with out the collaborations.
We’re excited about difficult these conventional conceptions of authorship. We wish to open issues as much as embody a multiplicity of voices. Basically, Lengthy Time No See is a constellation, an effort to embrace a variety of views and types.

We wish to break down the boundaries that exist presently between the portrayers and the portrayed. We’re in search of methods of opening up energy dynamics in images and video, in order that area is left for the portrayed to precise themselves and to play an energetic function in representing themselves. So, though the challenge stems from our conception, every particular person picture has particular captions with credit score for numerous individuals who helped make every bit.

Who’re the protagonists in your footage?
We went to Làng Hữu Nghi day-after-day for 2 years. Whether or not we have been photographing, working collectively within the portray workshops, or growing the video vignettes, the relationships flowed very naturally by way of all of it. The vast majority of the youthful era folks we labored with to make the pictures and work, have been born deaf due to Agent Orange. They taught us Vietnamese signal language throughout the weekends and week nights. After we turned extra fluent, it opened up an entire world of communication.

How lengthy did you’re employed on the challenge in whole, and what have been the largest challenges?
We labored on the pre-production facet of the challenge from 2015-2018. The precise manufacturing interval was two years – from 2018 to 2020 –, culminating in an exhibition on the Vincom Middle for Up to date Artwork in Hanoi. Our collaborators have been in a position to include us into the area, and we selected the curation and the edit as a collective. We checked out this as a ‘reside lab’ type of strategy. And we’ve now been growing the e-book challenge for a 12 months, in collaboration with many great folks, together with Brian Paul Lamotte, Đỗ Tường Linh, Hannah Meszaros-Martin from Forensic Structure, and Yanyou, Guangyuan and Yinhe from the Jiazazhi Press group.

How did utilizing the Leica M10 have an effect on your work?
The Leica M10 is all about making footage. Earlier than working with a Leica, we each labored with totally different cameras, and we discovered it very troublesome to get handed the ten thousand buttons and results. The M10’s simplicity and class make it a strong work device. Utilizing this digital camera allowed us to maneuver freely and to have interaction in our collaborations in a private manner. Bulkier tools would have prevented beneficial connections, as a result of that type of tools registers very in another way on a psychological stage. On a technical stage, the M10 not solely has the capability to create photos with a full, stunning tonal vary, nevertheless it additionally provides us a top quality file to work with once we monumentalize the pictures in massive scale prints.

The challenge has been nominated for the W. Eugene Smith Grant, the Benrido Hariban Prize, and has already been proven in Amsterdam, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Metropolis. Did you count on such a response?
We’re thrilled with the response to the work, and grateful to all the folks and establishments which have supported the work to date. In fact, we didn’t go into this work realizing what kind it could take or what life it could have, however we’re grateful that the work is discovering its viewers and beginning conversations round a topic that we care deeply about.

Do you will have any future plans for extra collaborations like this?
We now have continued to collaborate with Phan Thị Lan Hương, Nguyễn Tiến Hưng , Phạm Văn Mạnh, and Đinh Thị Hương – the youthful era of artists residing at Làng Hữu Nghi. Earlier than we left Hanoi in the beginning of the pandemic, we gave them a digital digital camera. We now have been taking a look at their work frequently and mentoring them on-line. They’ve change into very gifted photographers, and we not too long ago made an utility on their behalf, for a grant that we really feel they’re very effectively certified to obtain (fingers crossed). So, in different phrases, the collaborative spirit of the challenge retains discovering its personal life and totally different kinds as time goes on.

Andrea Orejarena (born in Colombia in 1994) & Caleb Stein (born within the UK in 1994) are a multimedia artist duo presently based mostly within the U.S. Their work, which has been exhibited internationally, is accessible by way of the Vin Gallery in HCMC, The Curator’s Room in Amsterdam, and the Rose Gallery in LA. Orejarena & Stein have been nominated for various awards, together with the Hariban/Benrido Award (chosen by Yasufumi Nakamori, Senior Curator of Images at Tate Trendy), and the W. Eugene Smith Grant (jurors embody Teju Cole). A e-book of their work, Lengthy Time No See, is forthcoming by way of Jiazazhi Press in 2022, with texts by Đỗ Tường Linh and Forensic Structure, designed in collaboration with Brian Paul Lamotte. Collectively and aside, their work has been printed within the New York Instances, The Guardian, i-D Vice, and Vogue Italia, amongst many others. Their work is in various private and non-private collections, together with the Nguyen Artwork Basis, the Frances Lehman Loeb Museum, and the Ann Tenenbaum & Thomas H. Lee Household Assortment. Discover out extra about their work on their Instagram account and web sites (Orejarena / Stein).

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