Credit: Kinga Michalska
In a distant, fictional Vietnam, the echoes of pop music on cassette tape reverberate against the sounds of modern Vietnamese rap. Châu Kim-Sanh inhabits this space, metamorphosing through bodily states generated by the presence of coloured neon lights. Of this evening blue erupts a purpleness: “b?u tr?i màu tím x?m” – an uncertain translation. Eyes closed, the neon haze returns her to the sensation of her ancestral land. Saigon, like many cities in South Asia, is flushed with these vivid lights. Here, embodied memory and the imaginary take a ride on a Honda Dream II motorcycle, across a humid sky whose wetness whips the face.
This solo is performed in its entirety from the squat position – a typically Asian posture. Audio recordings bespeckle the choreography, navigating between fantasized nostalgia, loss of language and sexual objectification – all three widely experienced by Asian diasporic populations. In Southeast Asia, rap culture is increasingly popular – giving a voice to a population marked by silence. Rap here is a prayer.