UuDam Tran Nguyen


PERFECT LOCK or Night Gathering


UV Photography Lightbox on PVC

140 x 140 cm

In this photography work, you witnessed an aerial view of a night scene where 42 motorcycles and their drivers formed a lively and colorful performance with their own exhaust smoke pumping into 42 plastic inflatable sculptures. In this performances, motorcycles, their owners and sculptures together created a spectacular sculpture installation performance. These colorful plastic sculptures are manually made from trash bags found in the market of Vietnam. The scene was inspired by the activities of the youth culture and motorcycles going out at nite on the streets of Saigon creating “bão” “storm”. Working with a planned sketch, I asked the 42 drivers to drive to their assigned spots in a way so one will block the advance of the next and so on. Then, it became a perfect lock where the one in the middle can not get out until the circle that enclosed him or her can be opened up. It is a traffic deadlock in Sàigon elevated into a conceptual art concept. One is chaotic vs one that is in order. But the one in this particular order in fact even locked you in more perfectly. Here, the exhaust air produced by motorcycles can be viewed as agents of both good and bad. It is capable of bringing joy as much as it is lethal. The idea goes along with the Hindu creation myth, Churning of the Ocean of Milk, in which the Gods and Demon discover that each new creation endeavour creates “an immense poison” that could destroy the whole universe.It has never been truer now for the fate of our planet.

The scene is one of the 6 chapters in the world famous SERPENTS’ TAILS series. It consists of Playroom, Elephant in The Room, UH&H connection, Perfect Lock (Night Gathering), Dance of the  Prophets, The Long Serpents & The New Babel Tower.

SERPENTS’ TAILS was shot in various locations in Sài Gòn in a span of 2 years from 2014 to 2015. Edited by Ducky Hồ Ngọc Đức of Draco Film and  scored by composer Tôn Thất An (Aaken). First premiered at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennale in Australia in Nov 2015, it has been exhibited around the world in many prestigious venues. Serpents’ Tails is set to join the Asia Art Biennale at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art in 2021

Perfect Lock (Night Gathering) is a photography work in the Serpents’ Tails series.

(Text courtesy of the artist)

For more information, please see the following links on publications of the work:
The statement of Waltz of The Machine Equestrians
PDF of Serpents’ Tail in ACC catalogue (Pages 76-85)
Interview at APT8 – QAGOMA
A complete view of SERPENTS’ TAILS I TALES from 2021 exhibition design