TATE Gallery exhibition text:
A film by Vong Phaophanit, text by Claire Oboussier
Commissioned by The Quiet in the Land under the High Patronage of the Department of Information and Culture, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR
The work offers a meditation on language and memory and on the role they have in shaping both national and personal identity. Through images of Laos and a reflective voice over, written by Claire Oboussier, the film focuses on the instability and ephemerality of meaning. It also addresses the limits of our understanding of the world, suggesting that memory – to see things, to remember them – involves possession, but that the knowledge it provides is always informed by points of view which narrow our understanding. The work implies that it is only forgetting and leaving things behind which allows us to see things afresh and as they are.