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Anh Trieu: Everybody Has Their Own Agenda
Grüner Salon


An installative performance in two party by Anh Trieu.

With Tucké Royale, Olivia Wenzel and Pham Minh Duc.

Everybody Has Their Own Agenda builds on Anh Trieu’s video Birds Of A Feather from 2018. In the video, Trieu staged a “homecoming” in Vietnam—her mother’s country of birth, which is still largely foreign to her. There she meets relatives who mostly know her from old VHS recordings. Trieu’s mother used to make these VHS tapes as way of having her relatives back home participate in the life she was leading with her daughter in Germany. In Trieu’s video, the old VHS recordings are combined with staged scenes shot in Vietnam, where actors slip into her family members’ roles.

Trieu’s video Birds Of A Feather is the starting point for the two part performance series Everybody Has Their Own Agenda. The first part was performed in the studio of Wolf Kino, while the second part will continue in the Volksbühne’s Grüner Salon. For her performance at Wolf Kino, the artist rearranged the scenes from her film and supplemented them with other material. The resulting film could be seen in two versions: one projected in the interior, the other on the studio’s display window. The exterior, i.e. public space, was thus integrated into the installation. The supplementary found footage material also continued this thread, as it mostly showed street scenes and was shown on a screen facing the sidewalk. The videos came together with experimental noise music and a live performance or live[1] translation as well as installation elements, culminating in a film you could walk through. The recordings were dissected into their components, which enabled a conscious reflection on their mediality as well as a decolonial reading.

For the installation at the Volksbühne, the gaze is directed inwards. Here, the sections of the film presented focus on intimate, domestic family scenes. The Volksbühne’s Grüner Salon will thus be divided into three sections, where the films will be shown. Starting at the back of the room, visitors can follow the film’s narration by entering the stage, where key scenes from Birds Of A Feather will be shown.

The division of space in the Grüner Salon evokes Vietnamese townhouses. These are characterized by a very slim, almost tubular shape, and their inhabitants often have to wander through many semi-public spaces before reaching their private quarters. The Volksbühne’s bar will be one such semi-public space—here the performative elements previously presented at Wolf Kino will be restaged. The performers thus constitute a living link to the first performance and create the transitions between scenes. The actions they perform are characterized by aspects of public self-presentation as well as more private acts. They thus create a bridge between private and public space.

Both the visitors and performers will be able to move freely through the space. They will thus find themselves in a constant process of negotiating their relationships to each other and the installation. The viewers’ own position in this arrangement will actually be made visible and audible, thus shifting the attention towards them as an extension of the film’s focus on the construction of identity and ethnicity. In the context of this work, strategies of queering as well as feminist and post-colonial reading are applied, thus creating an opportunity to examine the film Birds Of A Feather in particular, as well as the medium of film in general, in terms of its conditions of production and reception.


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