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An Evening with Anh Trieu and Guests:
Birds of a Feather

German, English, Vietnamese

An Evening with Hai Anh Trieu, Thuy Trang Nguyen, Hieu Hoang and Pham Minh Duc

1.Thuy Trang Nguyen: Roan (2019, Germany, 12 min)
A tender relationship unfolds between an elderly Vietnamese grandmother, who raised eight children on her own and took them safely away from the Vietnam war, and her granddaughter, who was born and brought up in Germany. While they spend a day at the grandmother’s apartment in Berlin-Reinickendorf, they begin to share small discoveries of everyday life and larger, existential questions. We see the warm admiration felt from granddaughter to grandmother. The power, endurance, strength and love shared by the two women, as they reach across generations

2. Conversation between Hieu Hoang and Pham Minh Duc

3. Hai Anh Trieu: Birds of a Feather (work in progress, 2019, Germany, Vietnam, 60 min)
In the mid 1980s Doan Thi Hai Yen moves from Saigon, Vietnam to Sokolov, Czechoslovakia as part of a work exchange program where she was to be trained as a textile technician. Slowly but surely, she realizes it’s a scam: the training was for assembly line work in a factory, and the wages were all but subsistence level. Frustrated by the conditions, Yen leaves her workplace and marries. Soon enough, she discovers she’s pregnant. But she worries that if she goes to a hospital, she’ll be forced to choose between an unwanted abortion and deportation to a war-torn Vietnam. Rejecting this ultimatum, she takes matters into her own hands. One night in 1991, she flees Czechoslovakia and sets out to Munich on foot. Once she arrives in Germany, she moves from asylum center to asylum center. All the while, Yen makes VHS home videos documenting her new life with baby Anh as she moves across Europe and sends the tapes back to her family Vietnam. Almost 30 years later, Anh travels to Saigon and Hanoi with a camera and film crew to stage her homecoming to the home she never had—to make images about the people who spent their whole lives looking at images of her.

Birds of a Feather is a meditation on the vicissitudes of diasporic belonging in the age of transnational migration and reproducible media. The film traces one family’s attempt to actively construct a coherent family narrative over vast distances and stretches of time. It moves freely between Yen’s original VHS recordings and contemporary footage shot with actors in Hanoi and Saigon. In eschewing the boundaries between documentary and fiction, it rejects the possibility for any authentic portrayal of an ethnographic subject. Instead, Trieu offers an image of a heavily mediated relationship to one’s own biography, which is nonetheless completely true to her own. In one of the film’s most telling scenes, Yen and baby Anh show their granny a warm sunny day in the park and introduce baby Anh’s German friend. After introducing herself, however, the German friend quickly notes, “That’s not your granny. It’s a camera!”

Hai Anh Trieu is a Berlin-based filmmaker, born in Munich in 1991. She premieres her debut short film, Birds of a Feather (work in progress, 2019) at the Grüner Salon. The cultural anthropology graduate works between the boundaries of film and video art, paying close attention to social architecture and the collective aspects of shared viewing. She is currently working on her performance Everybody Has Their Own Agenda, which transforms a film screening into an immersive installation, deconstructing each of cinematic elements of sound, text, and image and rendering them physically tangible. Trieu is collaborating with the music duo Nguyễn + Transitory and the writers and theater makers Olivia Wenzel and Tucké Royale on this project.

Thuy Trang Nguyen was born to Vietnamese parents in Berlin, Germany in 1993. After graduating high school she became Co-founder of the non-profit organization BERLIN ASIAN FILMNETWORK. Before attending film school in 2016 at Internationale Filmschule Köln, she took a theoretical approach to audiovisual arts and studied film theory at Freie Universität Berlin. She worked as an assistant director, sound engineer and cinematographer for fictional and non-fictional features. Aiming to raise awareness of under- and misrepresentation of the Asian Diaspora in the German media, she started to work as a Dialogue Coach and Caster/Streetcaster for actors and actresses of Asian descent.

Minh Duc Pham (born 1991) is a visual artist and performer. He considers his artistic practice as an exploration of origin, identity and belonging. Following his training in music, architecture, and visual arts, he now works with various media with a view to a transdisciplinary discourse.

Hieu Hoang studied literary writing, theater, and philosophy. He works as a freelance writer, theater maker, and performer, mostly in collective and collaborative contexts. He is a member of the network cobratheater.cobra and was part of the artistic direction for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons of the Doppelpass project Haus der digitalen Jugend (House of Digital Youth), which aestheticizes and reflects upon the content and form reservoir of the internet in a theater space.

Funded by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Literarisches Colloquium Berlin

Images: Filmstills, Birds of a Feather © Philipp Rühr

An Evening With … is a monthly open format that enables visual artists to design an evening for the Grüner Salon and share it with the public. That can mean plays, performances and readings, as well as collaborations with other artists. It's about venturing beyond familiar terrain and trying out new things within the framework of the intimate setting of the salon. Participating artists include: Cally Spooner, Jesper List Thomsen, keyon gaskin, Dan Boden & Tarren Johnson, Bob Kil, Aviva Silverman and Riot Pant Project.

Curator: Elodie Evers


Past Activities

An Evening with Bob Kil

For the last few years, Bob Kil has been writing. Some playful and some others more surreal and murderous, they are mostly dead plain. Bob’s writing is easy reads. Toying with words and formats, the new book, BUT BOB portrays fragmented stories and wisdom of various nameless, mainly female, characters. Referred to their professions only such as the artist, the curator, the writer, the comedian, the director, etc., the different personalities come together in the 44 short stories.

On the occasion of the launch of BUT BOB at Grüner Salon, Bob will carry out a series of performances. Lying between poetry readings and pop culture, Bob will use the body as a metronome and deliver the voice to peak, whisper and gasp.

Published by John of the Thing / Juan de la Cosa in Mexico City, BUT BOB is out in January 2020.

BUT BOB is supported by Arts Council England and Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.

Bob lives and works in Berlin.

An Evening with Kasia Fudakowski and Company: Brexit (TBC)

Brexit – To Be Confirmed.

What might the future hold in these uncertain times? What kind of relationship with Europe can the British hope for? Deal or no deal, how do we move on together?

On the first day of the UK's official intended departure from the EU, Kasia Fudakowski invites you to the Grüner Salon for a therapeutic circle to air grievances, mend lost and worn relationships and float questions left in Brexit's wake. Employing a uniquely British stoicism to build a raft of reconciliation on which to drift into our common ship-wrecked future, Fudakowski and company dare to ask what might be a more creative response to the toxic deluge of steaming chaos that the 2016 referendum released. The support group meeting will be followed by a sing-a-long, and a drinking to sorrows.

Fudakowski collaborates with Will Evans and Bernd Grether.

Kasia Fudakowski is a visual artist, born in 1985 in London, and studied at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University before moving to Berlin in 2006. She works with sculpture, text, video and performance and often employs humour, awkwardness and irony across her mediums. Her recent work has included a dystopian film project that imagines words as a limited environmental resource (Word Count, 2016-ongoing) and an exhibition split in half that leads each viewer into a different scenario based on their initial answer, in reaction to the unknown consequences of the Brexit referendum (Double Standards, 2017, ChertLüdde Gallery Berlin). She has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including at Kunsthalle Baden Baden, Lodos Mexico City, and Kunstmuseum St. Gallen and more.

Will Evans (b.1979) is a writer from the UK, living and working in Berlin.

Bernd Grether (b.1980) is a German graphic designer, living and working in Berlin.​

Photo: Kasia Fudakowski

An Evening with Cally Spooner and Jesper List Thomsen

For A Talk in Two Parts with Painting Jesper List Thomsen and Cally Spooner present three components that each in their own way speak of the capture and potential release of a body in our current socio-political climates.

Blackbirds is a text by Jesper List Thomsen that stages a relationship between body, image and language. It presents the reader with a ‘duration’ that is as elaborate and testing as the reality it attends to and depicts. Blackbirds finds its agency in the image deposits and semantic tissue of our present cultural and political moment.

Cally Spooner will present a talk of loosely connected themes to investigate ‘captured time and stagnation’, as it may manifest in a subject’s psychology, in financialised cities, in surveillance capitalism and in the stagnated muscles of a body. In searching for under-currents of hidden or disavowed temporalities, labours and ‘life drives’, the talk asks how time and stagnation might be undone. Through maintenance, resilience, patience, duration, stillness, trust and in-action the talk speaks of a desire for the unexpected, both in form and content, as well as calling for a capacity to better identify the difference between what is alive and dead.

Jesper List Thomsen’s painting xy9d8gv features a nine meter long line, a motive drawn indiscriminately, over and over. Its length is that of the average human digestive tract, starting from the mouth and ending at the anus. This first significant feature, to form on the human embryo, manifests in reverse to the function it later comes to serve. xy9d8gv measures 80X140cm., and is made from wood, primed canvas, marker-pen, enamel, PVC and acrylic paint.

A Talk in Two Parts With Painting was originally performed on the Greek island Nisyros as part of Making Oddkin, curated by Nadja Argyropoulou.

Cally Spooner is an artist based in Athens. Recent solo shows include Everything Might Spill at Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2018); DRAG DRAG SOLO at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva (2018); Soundtrack for a Troubled Time and Notes on Humiliation at Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017); And you were wonderful, on stage at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2016); On False Tears and Outsourcing at The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2016) and Vleeshal, Netherlands (2015). Spooner’s work was included in recent group exhibitions at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Singapore (2018); V-A-C Foundation, Moscow (2018); FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2018) The Serpentine Galleries, London (2017); Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich (2017); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2016); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2015); and REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); among others. She has also curated several exhibitions and events, including Micro-Composition at San Serriffe, Amsterdam (2017); A Social Body Event at The Serpentine Galleries and Central Saint Martins, London (2017); and An Intimate Symposium on Maintenance, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017).

Publications by Spooner include Scripts, published by Slimvolume Press (2016) and Collapsing in Parts, published by Mousse (2013). A monograph of her work published by Museo MADRE, Naples and Vleeshal, Netherlands is forthcoming in 2019. Spooner will open a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2019.

Jesper List Thomsen is an artist and writer based in Athens and London. Recent exhibitions and performances include BASE BASE, Gasworks, London; A table made again for the first time, Bureau des Réalités, Brussels; A Social Body Event, Serpentine Gallery, London; Hollis and Money, ICA, London/ Künstlerhaus, Stuttgart; Speak Through You, Hot Wheels Projects, Athens; Hand and Mind, Grand Union, Birmingham; The boys the girls and the political, Lisson Gallery, London; One Hour Exhibition, South London Gallery, London.

A monograph of his writings was published by Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing, Mexico City/London in 2018.

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