Truong Cong Tung


Portrait of a deforming symbol. Lost and Found


Two channel video


Taking the vertical axis as a metaphor for urban architecture, the artwork – part of a larger project called ‘Another Place Across The River’ – is part of a collection of Saigonese urban myths. Urban myths do not necessarily only come from ‘human characters’; forgotten objects also reflect a peculiar history of the land – where their life cycle retains the traces of the impact of both humanity and nature. Here, ‘material myths’ are collected primarily in District 2, where the reformation process of urban space is most apparent: from swampland to semi-urban and then back to swampland, waiting for the future megalopolis. ‘Material myth’ lies in the torn billboards with fading pictures, advertising slogans or propaganda statements, which used to be hung effulgently by the river. The plethora of scattered iron pieces were metal-detected and dug up to reveal their previous lives. Door bolts, rivets, scale weights, warheads, spears, knives, working tools, etc., count among the things that once contributed to the daily life of a community – now becoming waste to recycle. As man-made objects, they last longer than a human’s life cycle. Despite being fragmented, their bodies remain in places where even humanity cannot withstand. These anonymous and worthless objects create an animate world in a landscape lacking human beings. Their absurd world exists in parallel and in opposition to the metropolis full of the sound and movement of people on the other side of the Saigon River. (Text courtesy of the artist)