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—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

—  To make an appointment at our new space in Chinatown, Manhattan, email lulu@far-near.media

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Re-emerging and Remembering with Nhu Xuan Hua’s New Book, “Tropism, Consequences of a Displaced Memory”

Nhu Xuan Hua, Lulu Yao Gioiello

03.02.2023
Photo Series Poetry
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When I first met Nhu Xuan Hua in 2017, we immediately clicked. I was working on the first volume of FAR–NEAR, and our conversation over coffee stirred and expanded my own internal thoughts on identity and the difficulty of navigating intergenerational family relationships. We spoke about the effects of trauma on the way our parents and grandparents shared or withheld their own stories, on the desire of learning more about ourselves through them. We touched upon their particular way of expressing affection, which could sometimes hit too hard and cause greater distance even if it was coming from a place of love.

A few months later, she sent me early versions of a project she was working on. It was a series of  digitally manipulated archival images that obscured the person or people in the photograph, in turn obscuring the memory and offering new interpretations of the context in which they were taken.

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Nhu Xuan titles the series Tropism, Consequences of a Displaced Memory. It utilizes the word, “tropism,” which is a biological phenomenon that indicates growth or turning movement of an organism, usually a plant, in response to an environmental stimulus. For Nhu Xuan, the word encapsulates these visual memories that don’t belong directly to her but to her family, and thus to her personal history.

We are proud to have published Nhu Xuan’s project in Vol. One, when it was still in its early development. Last September, Area Books published Tropism in its complete form. A “treasure hunt on paper, [Tropism maps] a route connecting past and present. Places and people merge: he, she, they, here, there become one after having been separate for so long. In this imaginary bi-dimensional city, the elements from the photographs walk around, meet, dance, multiply, dissipate, transform, lose themselves and disappear – leaving behind them the mere and haunting presence of nostalgia.”

Below, Nhu Xuan Hua offers FAR–NEAR readers a glimpse into the book and the letter that accompanies it.

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Dear fingers with crayon lines,  

 

Have you ever experienced a strange body reaction 

initiated by scattered emotions ?

I tried to capture nothing else than a feeling.

The knots in my inner voice

Singing loud in colour blue

from inherited pieces shuffled.

Can you hear the vessel roaring?

The sounds of plates and cutlery 

Knocking on the table 

Calling for dinner.

Would you sit down with me?

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Share the meal of anamnesis 

crack the egg

revealing the sleeping forms of the Annamese

It’s an invitation for a treasure hunt on paper

Images mapping a route connecting past and present

The contour of a familiar crowd

is stating a country

Merging places and people.

He, She, They, Here and There become one 

after having been set apart for so long.

They have been sent to wait until it comes.

Passports for new exchanges

They walk around, meet, dance, multiply, dissipate

leaving behind them 

the mere and haunting presence of nostalgia 

just in time for Gladiola season.

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To remember is to accept that something has been forgotten

That something has been lost.  

And something that was once owned

Needs to be found again. 

Re-membered. 

We then go on a hunt

sometimes with clues, sometimes with nothing 

Bare hands

bare feet. 

Unprepared, 

scared,

excited.

Cracking the skull of the real enemies

Omission and Forgetfulness.

Shield the distance that has been bruised.

Recalibrate the trajectories so we won’t miss the path buried by the dust.

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Hey wind, don’t mistake the movements for one of a ghost.

The resemblance will trick you.

What you must see is the unforgettable commons 

Streaming in circles.

Be all ears for what you now comprehend clearer

as for the black and white dog who barks 

and signals that something transformed will be coming.

CyberViewX v5.16.55Model Code=72F/W Version=1.07
CyberViewX v5.16.55Model Code=72F/W Version=1.07

Hug of a Swan, Nhu Xuan Hua’s exhibition, travels to Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, February 10 – April 09, 2023.

Opening reception, Thursday, February 09, 7pm.

Images and Text

Nhu Xuan Hua

Design

Bureau Kayser

Article Introduction

Lulu Yao Gioiello

Available on

area-books.com

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