Continuing their interest from a decade ago, Phaophanit and Oboussier present Never real historians, always near poets, a newly commissioned video installation for the Biennale. The project is an exploration of memory and identity and expands from the personal to the collective. The work centres on the different decisions made by members of Phaophanit’s family following a regime change in Laos in 1975; some of them fled to France while others remained in Laos. The artists filmed their footage and interviews in Sawannakhet in Laos and in St. Denis, a northern suburb of Paris. Not only do they retrace the connection between older family members who have not met in decades, they also encapsulate the landscape and soundscape of their distinct inhabitancies. Using a dual-channel video projection to draw connections and create dialogue, the artists employ their intuitive practice to create a visual poem. The work explores the meaning of ‘home,’ ‘nationality’ and ‘ethnicity’ as well as what it means to create an identity as a citizen in a globalised world.
– Vipash Purichanont, Curator
Editor & Composer – Savanh Phaophanit
Narrator – Reman Sadani
Voice Capture – Kathryn MacCorgarry Gray
Special thanks to our facilitators & guides – Pae, Sack & Chanthila