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about albb
open archive & reading room


Motoko Uda
Sue Hajdu
Galerie Quynh
Nguyen Nhu Huy
Himiko Saloon
Ryllega Gallery
Salon Natasha
Atelier Wonderful

Pasi Karjula
Marko Vuokola
Sten Are Sandbeck
Minna Heikinaho
Bank & Rau
Sendai ArtCity
trans urban
X-CHANGE culture-science
Asia Art Archive (AAA)
Arts Network Asia (ANA)
Art Autonomy Newtwork (AAN)
Cemeti Art House
the house of natural fiber
Juliana Yasin

a little blah blah (albb) is an artists' initiative that since 2005 has operated as a platform for contemporary art through a wide range of channels including projects, exhibitions & events, screenings, talks, a residency program, internships and an open-access archive of art books & catalogues. Our program has evolved in a pioneering spirit, in response to the gaps and needs of the Saigon art scene. Since 2008 we have re-focussed our program to presenting one major project each year, capacity building and the ongoing running of albb Reading Room.

December 2007

albb lounge
remembering beyond borders—
those that disappeared
those who we don’t forget
that which we build new

a discussion with visiting artist, Karla Sachse

Karla Sachse has been living and working as an artist in (the former) East Berlin since 1969. Her work dedicated to public spaces reflects the difficult process of remembering. In this albb lounge, she will present objects, rooms and memorial signs developed after the fall of the Berlin Wall, discussing the grapplings of herself and other artists with the new German reality. She would then like to open up the discussion to explore public memory and political change with artists and others living in Vietnam. A talk on the same subject was recently presented at the Goethe Institut, Hanoi.

Karla Sachse’s numerous projects in international collaboration include Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä, Finland and the Henry-Moore-Institute, Leeds, UK, workshops and exhibitions in Thailand and India, and NRLA in Glasgow.

Bad Brains
curated by Alan Cruickshank [director] & Peter McKay [curator]
from Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia [CACSA]

BAD BRAINS-still©Bianca Barling

BAD BRAINS is a 1 hour collection of entertaining new video art that engages with a cross-section of contemporary struggles, fears and (unusual) conflicts. This screening included works by Bianca Barling / Matt Bradley / Lane Cormick / Emil Goh / Matthew Griffin / Ho Tzu Nyen / Viv Miller / Tony Schwensen / Grant Stevens & Wilkins Hill.

Established in 1942, the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia [CACSA] has a long history of developing, supporting and exhibiting contemporary art practice and fostering critical thinking throughout Australian and Asia. The CACSA is publisher of the quarterly arts and visual culture magazine BROADSHEET as well as a number of anthologies and monographs. For more information visit

Many thanks to Sue Hajdu, Project Co-ordinator / Fabrice Lecouffe, SHOWTIME identity / Phan Chi Mai, invitation graphic design, translation & logistics and Henry Forwood for technical support.

November 2007

The Bao Loc Project
curated by Sue Hajdu

The Bao Loc Project came to a close in late November with a Sunday afternoon celebration in the warehouse grounds of ACOM, the host and main sponsor of the project. 800 guests attended, the majority of whom were coffee farmers and local people. Others included representatives of local government, representatives of Dalat University, coffee industry suppliers and a group of Saigon art-lovers who bussed up to Bao Loc especially for the day. The warehouse grounds came alive with a huge colorful marquee and a DJ playing dance tracks. Guests could socialize and relax, eat, drink and party, or wander into Warehouse C to view the artists project presentations.

Participating artists/units and their projects:
Bernadette Gruber: qahwa & Kids Between Nature & Art printing workshop
Lam Hieu Thuan: New House
Nguyen Kim To Lan: Pink Project & Mobile Garden Unit workshop
Maritta Nurmi: Breakfast in Bed & Table 48
Markuz Wernli Saito: Shadow Followers
Rolisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise: My Story
Ngo Dinh Truc: Mobile Studio
Sue Hajdu: Wishing You Great Pleasure
Playscape [Melissa Merryweather, Truong Thi Thanh Hai, Dang Thanh Hang, Truong Thi Quynh Hoa, Dang Ha Vi, Le Trung Cang]: Bao Loc
Playground Proposal & workshop?? and:
Vu Duc Chien: Space design & warehouse entrance carpet
Tran Minh Duc: Standing There For One Night [concurrent project]

For full information on The Bao Loc Project concept and program, the artists projects, bios and workshops at Loc Son II Primary School, please visit

Many thanks to the fabulous team that made this project a possibility: project co-ordinator, catalogue & website designer: Phan Chi Mai / closing party co-ordinator: Nguyen Thi Hanh Tam / DJ: Silvia De Britto / project assistants: Chung Quoc Hung, Le Ngoc Son, Nguyen Tan Dat, Le Trong Duong / the staff & students at Loc Son II Primary School / observer: Philip Faulks / project identity: Markuz Wernli Saito / all the staff of ACOM / Nguyen Van Thuong / albb interns and the many others who contributed their time and energy to make this project a success.

project host & main sponsor: Atlantic Commodities Vietnam (ACOM)
supporters: Pro Helvetia and the Embassy of Finland Hanoi
sponsors: Fujifilm, Pure Digital Technologies, Long Hai Security

workshop / a week ON HEAT! / The Bao Loc Project
A Night out in Saigon: from 6PM to 6AM
by Markuz Wernli-Saito & Roslisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise

We are very sorry that this workshop, which promised to be an interesting night-long socially interactive adventure for all participants, had to be cancelled due in an injury by Markuz Wernli-Saito.

albb talks / a week ON HEAT! / The Bao Loc Project
Bao Loc Project Participating Artists
Ngo Dinh Truc & Roslisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise

This talk presented recent projects of interest by two artists participating in The Bao Loc Project. Ise discussed 3m x 3m x 3m =27m3, an artwork of his that caused a whirlwind of critical response when it was created for the Malaysian Young Contemporary Art Award in 2004 at The National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.

Saigon-based photographic artist, Ngo Dinh Truc’s talk focussed on Picture Menu, a project he created during his recent residency at the Asian Artists in Residence Program, Cheon-gju, Korea. Truc worked to create photographic picture menus with three local restaurants that do not use English in their menus. This project was an exploration of art in the public realm and the intersections of art and life.

albb talks / a week ON HEAT! / The Bao Loc Project
Art Embedded in its Environment:
Creative interventions in public that come to life through
engagement and participation
by Markuz Wernli-Saito, participating artist, Bao Loc Project

Art engaged with the public realm flourishes through communication. The artist — as a citizen among citizens — influences the social fabric as opposed to working solitarily in the studio. Markuz Wernli Saito is interested in creative interventions that contribute to their environment, explore untried directions and show alternative interpretations of what is right amidst our lives. This talk introduced the motivation, strategies and process behind this artist's creative work and its social and artistic components.

Markuz Wernli Saito is in Saigon to participate in the Bao Loc Project with his project titled, Shadow Follower. His project is generously supported by Pro Helvetia and has been sponsored by Fujifilm.

albb talks / The Bao Loc Project
Presentation to ACOM staff
by participating artists, The Bao Loc Project

In a casual setting nestled amongst the coffee bags in one of ACOM’s warehouses, each of the artists/units in The Bao Loc Project made a brief presentation on both their past work and their plans for this project. Fifty to sixty workers from the ACOM Mill, some of whom are participating in the artist’s projects, attended the talk.

October 2007

The Bao Loc Project
curated by Sue Hajdu

The Bao Loc Project launched in late October with the arrival of participating overseas artists to Saigon. 9 artists/units — either based in Saigon or in residence with albb — are taking part in this month-long project.

Each weekend for four weekends, the artists, curator and team of assistants will be bussing up to Bao Loc, a highland town 180km north of Saigon. Bao Loc is one of the centers of Vietnam's coffee industry. In a loose conglomeration of working methods and practices — emphasizing process over product — artists, architects and urban planners will create projects and workshops in public space or working with various communities in Bao Loc. The project will also include workshops and talks held in Saigon. Participating artists/units are: Bernadette Gruber / Lam Hieu Thuan / Nguyen Kim To Lan / Maritta Nurmi / Markuz Wernli Saito / Rolisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise / Ngo Dinh Truc & Playscape [Melissa Merryweather, Truong Thi Thanh Hai, Dang Thanh Hang, Truong Thi Quynh Hoa, Dang Ha Vi, Le Trung Cang].

The outcomes of the artists' projects will be presented on the fifth weekend, in a closing event party to be held in the coffee warehouse of ACOM, the host and main sponsor of this event.

This project is generously supported by Pro Helvetia and the Embassy of Finland Hanoi. It is sponsored by Fujifilm, Pure Digital Technologies and Long Hai Security.

albb residency
Maritta Nurmi, Roslisham Ismail & Markuz Wernli-Saito

albb welcomed three artists to Saigon this month, all of whom are taking part in The Bao Loc Project: Maritta Nurmi, who has been based in Hanoi for 14 years, and Markuz Wernli-Saito and Roslisham Ismail, who are based in San Francisco and Kuala Lumpur respectively.

Special thanks to Pro Helvetia for support of Markuz Wernli-Saito's participation, and to The Embassy of Finland Hanoi, for support of Marita Nurmi’s participation in this project.

albb Reading Room
October: Art from Far-away Places

The albb reading room program concluded this month with a focus on Art from Far-away Places. We presented new books and catalogues from Russia, the Caucasus, Africa, Scandinavia & the Middle East in addition to catalogues from the major art art exhibitions of this year, Documenta, Sculpture Projects Muenster and Venice Biennale 2007.

albb Reading Room has now concluded as a program. Over the course of a year, this program introduced our steadily-growing archive of some 1000 volumes of art books and catalogues to the Ho Chi Minh City art community, with a reading room open day on the first Saturday of each month.

The albb archive remains open at any time (by appointment) for artists and researchers.

Are You in Line?
New work by Katrin Paul, albb artist-in-residence

This exhibition was the culmination of Katrin Paul’s residency with albb and was presented as a part of the “Month of Images” organized by the French Consulate, Ho Chi Minh City.

“Are you in line?” presented a new series of photographs and line drawings that challenge traditional concepts and expectations of the photographic portrait. The work questions identity and the reconcilability from details that are said to have embedded in them an individual’s most personal ID information and life history. If we see only the lines of these parts of the body, can we picture the person?

The artist worked intimately with five families living in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Four female family members, each representing one generation within the family, were photographed. The same part of the body was photographed for all family members. In addition, the artist drew the lines of the inner hand of her subjects on paper. In the exhibition, the photographs and drawings were arranged in a grid aligning members of generations as well the members of one family. Which line is more likely to hold resemblance, the family line or the generational line? Can these details reveal more of the individuality of a person than a “real” photographic portrait in a conventional sense could?

Many thanks to the Goethe Institut Vietnam for its kind financial support of this exhibition.

Our thanks to project assistant, Phan Chi Mai, and to Jany Bourdais and Caroline Sotta from the French Consulate General, HCM City.

For further information on this project, please see:

September 2007

albb talks
Katrin Paul
albb artist-in-residence, September/October

Born in Germany, Katrin Paul completed her studies with a Diploma of photo-design at the FH Dortmund (University of Applied Science Dortmund, Germany) and a Diploma Media-Art at HfG Karlsruhe (State University of Design, Media and Arts Karlsruhe, Germany). For the last ten years she has been residing in Japan where she has developed a significant body of work concerning the photographic portrait.

Katrin Paul's original reason for relocating to Japan was to accomplish a series about the image of women in Japanese society with a scholarship from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and later the Monbukagakusho. This accomplished, she stayed on in Japan to further develop concepts about the photographic portrait. Later in Tokyo, Katrin Paul completed a PhD in art at Tama Art University. Katrin Paul exhibits internationally in solo and group shows. Her work can be found in private collections and international institutions. For further information, please visit

albb residency
Pasi Eerik Karjula of OLO
research trip

albb was pleased to welcome Pasi Eerik Karjula from the Finnish collaborative unit, OLO, to Ho Chi Minh City for a short research-based residency to develop work for our up-coming Super Structures project. Pasi launched straight into Saigon life with a dinner on the street with local artists at which he was introduced to Saigon Beer. He then spent 10 days motor-biking around Saigon with our intern, Le Ngoc Son, to research the urban environment. For more information on OLO and Pasi's individual practice, please visit: / /

This research trip was funded by FRAME, Finnish Fund for Art exchange.

albb residency
Katrin Paul

We were very pleased to welcome Katrin Paul to commence her 5-week residency with albb. Katrin worked closely with assistant, Phan Chi Mai to develop a photographic portraiture project, working with Vietnamese families in and around Saigon. With a lot of photographers in town for the Month of Images, this was a great time for a residency in Saigon. Here Katrin is out at a live music venue with Paris-based photographer, Arno Gisinger. For Katrin Paul's website, please visit

Many thanks to Goethe Institut Vietnam for supporting Katrin Paul's residency and project.

curated by Pontus Kyander

A Night of Finnish Frenzy presented works by Finnish video artists and the collective, Ykon, which recently featured in the Singapore Biennale, including: M8, by Ykon / Man in a Blue Shirt, by Hannu Karjalainen / Night by Elena Näsänen / Julio & Lupita, by Aurora Reinhard / A Monument for the Invisible, by Anu Pennanen / Bee Studies, Orchid Bee Males, by Sanna Kannisto.

Pontus Kyander is an independent curator, documentary film-maker and art critic based in Malmo, Sweden, who worked with a little blah blah in Saigon in 2006. For further details, please see albb weblog entry for 2006. Many thanks to FRAME, Finland / Sue Hajdu, Project Co-ordinator / Fabrice Lecouffe, SHOWTIME identity / Phan Chi Mai, invitation graphic design, translation & logistics and Katrin Paul for assistance with set-up.

Alternative is the way to go:
exploring curatorship outside the white cube and the dusty museum

by Sue Hajdu @ RMIT Hong Kong D.F.A. Symposium, RMIT International University Vietnam, Hanoi

Sue Hajdu gave a presentation on methodologies and ideologies of curating and organizing projects in public space and alternative venues in Vietnam. The focus was on albb projects such as The Last Vestige, The Dream Collector and Trans-Splash 2006 and her own recent projects: Operation: Captive Audience, Code Name: Cold Chisel and MAGMA | we’re not counting sheep.

August 2007

albb lounge/ a week ON HEAT! / The Last Vestige
The Last Vestige: The Aftermath
by Thea Baumann

albb lounges are infomal talks with a small number of participants, that bring together practitioners from the field for across-the-table discussions. This lounge wrapped up the recent project, The Last Vestige, curated by Thea Baumann as a part of her Asialink residency with albb. Guests included members of the HCMC art & creative communities and others involved the project itself.

Thea presented documentation of the project and outlined themes such as Pirate Utopias, independent forms of curation, Odyssean timetravel, and feminist arts practice, which have informed the evolution of the project. The discussion then opened out to discuss the logistics and the team-work involved in coordinating the multiplicity of art spaces.

Thea Baumann was curator-in residence at a little blah blah supported by the Asialink organization. As part of her arts management residency she curated and coordinated THE LAST VESTIGE, a floating exhibition on board a vintage junk boat, which presented site-specific performance and installation works by 7 artists on the deck and within the bowels of the ship. This project was funded by the Australia Council, the Federal Government's arts funding and advisory body and Arts Queensland, Asialink and Creative Sparks.

albb talks / a week ON HEAT! / The Last Vestige
Xtravaganza :: Living Sculpture and the Aesthetics of Australian Exotic
by XIONA aka Vivian Hogg
On Imagination Suprnation

by Imagination Suprnation

Vivian Hogg started her lively and extremely entertaining talk by introducing the notion of camp and Australian cultural cringe, and then explored a series of concepts related to her practice by discussing the works of artists, designers and performers such as Gilbert & George, Prince, Eva & Adele, Leigh Bowery, Barry Humphreys, Peter Tully and Jenny Kee.

Vivian is a producer, curator, critic and media artist who took part in The Last Vestige. Vivian's 'Nicotine Kylie' media and performance work was exhibited within the 'Karaoke Bedlam' event of the 2006 Multimedia Art Asia Pacific festival. Vivian will be producing the BIG SQUARE EYE project for the 2008 Brisbane Festival as part of the Australia Council for the Arts EPIC07 initiative.

By casting issues of contemporary culture in symbolic form, Imagination : Suprnation creates twisted and hysterical visions of parallel universes which are both familiar and absurd. I:S presented the processes involved in developing her work for The Last Vestige, through topics such as avian influenza, ancient Egyptian funerary practices and Cold War space exploration as well as introducing her past work.

Imagination Suprnation is a Brisbane based interdisciplinary artist who produces performances, manifestos, and peripheral artworks inspired by artifice, mutant identities, genetic science, linguistics, love and war.

Philip Brophy
curated by Thea Baumann

This edition of showtime, featuring works by Philip Brophy was presented as a satellite event orbiting the launch of The Last Vestige, curated by Thea Baumann, albb/Asialink curator-in-residence. Works presented on the massive screen at Lush nightclub were: Evaporated Music, Words in My Mouth Voices in My Head - Anna, and The Sound of Milk (prologue).

Philip Brophy is one of Australia's leading mixed-media artists who has exhibited in art and non-art contexts over many years. He has exhibited at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, and the Singapore Biennale 2006. He is a significant writer and curator of audiovisual media & technology; comics, graphics and associated mass media; and Pop Art in its historical and contemporary forms.

His most recent major curatorial project is the major manga retrospective TEZUKA - The Marvel of Manga for the National Gallery of Victoria (touring to the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco). For more info please visit

This project was funded by the Australia Council, the Federal Government's arts funding and advisory body and Arts Queensland, Asialink and Creative Sparks.

Many thanks to Sue Hajdu, Project Co-ordinator / Fabrice Lecouffe, SHOWTIME graphic design & identity / Matt Rose, Flash sting design / Phan Chi Mai, translations & logistics.

albb Reading Room
August: Nippon Super Spesh

With new books and catalogues from BankART 1929 / Candy Factory Projects / Tokyo wonder site / Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and many others, this month's Reading Room presented a bonanza of recent art projects from Japan.

Titles included: Tezuka: the Marvel of Manga / Animate / Fukuoka Triennale 1999 / Fukuoka Triennale 2002 / Fukuoka Triennale 2005 / senso no katachi / air's box Columbia project / what's in a name? / Lost in Space / Akiyoshidai Artist-in-residence / Meeting Caravan / Demeter / wave front / ArtIT! and more.

July 2007

albb talks / a week ON HEAT! / The Last Vestige
Alice Lang
Zombified Flesh: on growing cancer, skin and viruses -
the morphosis of the body through mutation, leakage, and blobs.

by Ladylump aka Alicia King

The Last Vestige, and a week ON HEAT! were pleased to co-present a series of artist's & curator's talks & lounges linked with the Last Vestige project. These were held at albb, RMIT International University Vietnam, and other off-site locations.

Alice Lang creates soft-sculpture installations to explore concepts of the monstrous, and the tension between repulsion and the alluring. This talk introduced the artist's work and the pop-cultural and historical inspirations that inform it, such as science-fiction cinema such as the Aliens films, Victorian era costuming, Craft and gothic horror schlock.

Alice Lang is an Australian artist currently based in Brisbane who took part in The Last Vestige. In 2004 she was awarded the Queensland Art Gallery Hobday and Hingston Bursary, she was artist-in-residence at Metro Arts, Brisbane in 2005 and at the Klondike Institute for Art and Culture in Dawson City, Canada in 2006.

In this talk, Ladylump explored her recent and current projects involving research into the creation of semi-living sculptural objects through tissue culture techniques. Ethical issues surrounding the permutations between biotechnology, humans, animals and the wider environment were also discussed.

Alicia King is a Hobart-based new media artist who took part in The Last Vestige. For the past few years she has been delving into the realms of biological technology at the University of Tasmania's School of Medicine, after doing independent study to learn tissue engineering techniques at SymbioticA, the Art and Science Collaborative Research Laboratory, University of Western Australia.

The Last Vestige
curated by Thea Baumann

Launched on the cusp of a full moon, The Last Vestige was a fleeting one-night only art experience set afloat down the Saigon River on the vintage boat 'The Hardship' - its destination a private riverfront property on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, where an electronic music party lay waiting.

Reinforced by a coterie of all-female Australian artists, each room and cabin of The Hardship boat became the setting for a series of mini-dramas, site-specific installation and performance works drawing inspiration from themes related to time-travel, mutancy, and pirate utopias.

Presented across a series of interconnected temporary autonomous zones - 2 shuttle busses, a 'Vulture House' party property, and The Hardship boat, The Last Vestige sought to create a dynamic new exhibition experience toying with the freedoms and comfort levels usually afforded art audiences, sending the audience hurtling as passengers and players into the post-apocalyptic unknown.

The Last Vestige merged with albb's a week ON HEAT! to present a series of talks and lounges by the curator and participating artists, and with albb's SHOWTIME contemporary video program in a satellite screening of Australian artist, Philip Brophy's audio-visual work.

Participating artists and their projects:
Alice Lang: It Came from the River
Ladylump: The Ephemeral Flesh Projects
Lucy Dyson: Deliver Us From Evil
Sue Hajdu: MAGMA | the innocents [performance in collaboration with Thea Baumann]
Madeleine King: Luminary Fugitive: the hitchhiker who suffered an eclipse
Imagination:Suprnation: immortIS mutatIS mutandIS
h5nOneness escort agency and carrier craft service
Vivian Hogg: Xiona: The Bush-Couture Bag-Lady of Reptilian Glory Philip Brophy

Many thanks to the following collaborators and supporters for their assistance and goodwill:
Fabrice Lecouffe / Justin Barrerra / project assistants: Le Trong Duong, Phan Chi Mai / albb interns & assistants: Van Thuy Linh, Julia Mironova, Vu Thu, Le Ngoc Son, Nguyen Tan Dat / Mr Quang, Ms Hoa and family / the crew of the Hardship and our fabulous team of hardworking installation assistants / Mark Jolly & Suckaphish P. Jones for the great music, and the many other individuals whose invaluable contribution enabled an idea become a reality.

The Last Vestige was developed and curated through Thea Baumann's Asialink 2007 residency with a little blah blah.

The project is funded by the Australia Council, the Federal Government's arts funding and advisory body and Arts Queensland.

albb talks
PLAY LANDS: uncovering new terrains for public art
by Australian curator and albb Asialink resident, Thea Baumann

As a curator, Thea Baumann is interested in exploring non-traditional forms of exhibition presentation and public art projects which sit outside the 'white cube'. This multimedia presentation introduced a series of projects she has curated and exhibited in very unique and alternative settings; a 120-year old heritage listed apartment building; a purikura sticker booth arcade; a karaoke club; empty shop-fronts in Chinatown; and Queensland's own tropical suburbia. She also discussed the the motivations behind her curatorial practice which are often informed by the blurring or rupturing of boundaries between public and virtual space, and the collaboration of subcultural and otaku communities as participants and co-creators in the public art experience.

Thea Baumann is an Australian curator, producer and media artist currently undertaking a 4-month Asialink arts management residency with a little blah blah. She was Special Projects Coordinator for MAAP: Multimedia Art Asia Pacific ( from 2004 - 2006, where she was involved in curating public exhibition programmes for MAAP 2004 Gravity, and MAAP's major 2006 festival Out Of The Internet.

In 2005, she curated Otakulture a touring multi-arts exhibition focusing on the appropriation of manga and anime culture by Australian, Chinese, and Japanese artists. Otakulture featured the work of both internationally recognised artists such as Cao Fei alongside emerging 'otaku' artists such as Tetsuto Takahashi, and Yumi-co.

albb Reading Room
July: Creatures from OZ

Creatures from OZ focused on a selection of catalogues, zines, art magazines and DVDs from Australian artists and curators, with a particular focus on artists emerging from the tropical state of Queensland. This reading room explored the fantastical outer-limits of contemporary arts practice such as: exhibitions on otaku and manga, the culture of the occult, to intergalactic identities and performance. The spotlight was on Pope Alice / Philip Brophy / Iain Haig / Jemima Wyman / Scott Redford Primavera 2006. Many thanks to Thea Baumann for her donation of materials to this month's Reading Room and to the albb archive.

This month's Reading Room featured a screening of video & animation works by Ian Haig.

June 2007

albb lounge
a discussion with installation and sound artists, Katie Lee & Dean Linguey

'intersection' was a part of Run Artist Run, an Asialink-facilitated project that aimed at strengthening links between artist-run spaces (ARIs) in Australia and Asia. The project was developed in Hanoi and exhibited at Ryllega Gallery in June 2007, by Melbourne-based artists, Katie Lee and Dean Linguey and was presented in this lounge to Saigon audiences as a part of Run Artist Run. Lee, who was based in Hanoi in 2003, is a sculptor and committee member of the artist-run space, Conical Inc. in Melbourne. Linguey, who has a background in performance and dance, works with installation and sound, in particular engaging with how the moving body is emphasized within an aural environment.


This month, Sue Hajdu took took 3 weeks off to visit Venice Biennale, Documenta and Sculpture Projects Muenster 07. With Motoko Uda also away, albb took a little break from our usual activities in Saigon. Meanwhile Thea Baumann, who was curator-in-residence during this period, was manning the fort.

May 2007

Panoramic Perturbations:phantom apparitions in urban, suburban, and virtual terrains
curated by Thea Baumann

Our second edition of showtime, albb's bi-monthly program of contemporary video, was curated by Thea Baumann.

Panoramic Perturbations: phantom apparitions in urban, suburban, and virtual terrains presented the work of Australian media artists Tara Marynowsky / Ben Ducroz / Sally Golding / Ben Ducroz / Sky Frostensen / Anto Skene / Kitty K + Joel Booij + Tara Pattenden / Soda_Jerk / Alice Lang / Jemima Wyman / Luke Ilett.

This project was funded by the Australia Council, the Federal Government's arts funding and advisory body and Arts Queensland.

albb lounge
SWAPPING DELTAS: Re-envisioning Tennessee Williams for Vietnam
by David F. Chapman

In March 2007, David Chapman led a highly entertaining interactium as a part of albb's talks program. This month he returned for an albb lounge focussing on the main project on which he has been working in Ho Chi Minh City, Tennessee Williams' play Summer and Smoke. Swapping Deltas: Re-envisioning Tennessee Williams for Vietnam functioned as an opportunity for discussion about the repercussions of this work by opening the dialogue out to others who had been involved in the project, as well as a group of guests who work in similar areas in Vietnam’s cultural arena.

For more information on David, please see March entry, below.

albb Reading Room
May: READ ALL ABOUT IT! art theory—art magazines

This month's reading room featured a range of books on art theory and new international art magazines. Topics included postcolonial theory, postmodernism, biennales, computer game theory, cultural theory and notions of contemporary art. There were plenty of art magazines for those who preferred to browse at pictures.Special thanks to Artspace, Sydney and to Broadsheet contemporary visual arts & culture for their donations to albb's reading room.

April 2007

albb residency
Thea Baumann
Asialink curator-in-residence

albb was pleased to welcome Thea Baumann, who arrived at the end of April to commence her 4-month Asialink arts management residency with albb. Thea Baumann is an Australian artist and independent curator. Her activities in Vietnam are funded and supported by Asialink, The Australia Council, Arts Queensland, Brisbane City and the Australian Government.

albb residency
Banke & Rau
research trip

The Copenhagen-based collaborative unit, Banke & Rau (Lone Bank and Tanja Rau) were artists-in-residence with albb this month. Their aim was to conduct preliminary research for their participation in albb's up-coming project, Super Structures, co-curated by Sue Hajdu and Pontus Kyander.

albb talks
a talk by exhibition curator, Nguyen Nhu Huy

This focussed on the exhibition, XIN CHAO, MY DARLING!, curated by Nguyen Nhu Huy, which took place at Gallery Supplement Space, Stone and Water, Anyang, South Korea in 2006. This was the first exhibition in which Vietnamese artists from various disciplines worked together to produce artworks on the same theme: a reflection from the present onto the past of the Vietnam War. The project involved a subtle balance of discourses and negotiations, especially when dealing with sensitive issues such as censorship. Participating artists in Xin Chao, My Darling were: Ngo Thi Thuy Duyen / Nguyen The Nang / Ngo Dinh Truc / Nguyen Thanh Truc / Nguyen Dao An Ha / Ly Hoang Ly / Nhu Huy / Nguyen Duc Thinh / Ly Doi / Le Quy Anh Hao / Nguyen Pham Trung Hau / Nguyen Trong Nghia / Ngo Van Luc / Rich Streitmatter Tran / Le Viet Ha / Tran Dan.

albb talks
expo-personal art adventures
by Ingo Gunther

Ingo Gunther is a German-born artist who has been based in New York for over 20 years. In 2006 and 2007 he worked in Vietnam together with the Goethe Institut, Hanoi, on HOI AN HORIZON, a public sculpture project in Hoi An. Since 1983 Gunther's sculptural media works have been shown at places such as Nationalgalerie Berlin (1983/ 1985); Venice Biennale (1984); documenta, Kassel (1987); P3 Art and Environment, Tokyo, (1990/1992/1996/1997); Ars Electronica, Linz (1991); Guggenheim Museum, New York (1996); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (1998); Yokohama Triennale (2005).

In this talk for albb he discussed his exo-personal adventures through projects such as HOI AN HORIZON / REFUGEE REPUBLIC / WORLDPROCESSOR / DIPLOMACY.

curated by Sue Hajdu

SHOWTIME, albb's bi-monthly program of contemporary video, was launched this month. Over the course of this year, SHOWTIME will present screenings of video works compiled by international guest curators, bringing a wide selection of contemporary video art to Ho Chi Minh City from around the world.

Our program was launched with THE HISTRIONICS, by Danius Kesminas, curated by Sue Hajdu. The Histrionics, a "concept-art-(heritage)-rock-cover band" was formed by Australian artist Danius Kesminas in 1999, and will be opening the Australian Pavillion of this year’s Venice Beinnale. albb screened the DVD of their album, MUSEUM FATIGUE. Danius Kesminas is represented by Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney.

For this first edition of SHOWTIME, special thanks to Motoko Uda, Project Co-ordinator / Fabrice Lecouffe, SHOWTIME graphic design & identity / Julia Mironova, Flash design / Vu Anh Thu, Research / Van Thuy Linh, Translations / and to Le Ngoc Son, Justin Barrera, Tran Quoc Trung, Julia Mironova, Vu Anh Thu, and Van Thuy Linh for technical Assistance, set-up and logistics.

albb residency
by Syliva Schwenk

Sylvia Schwenk was albb artist-in-residence in April, 2007. Her project, X, was realized on Sunday 8 April, when 19 volunteers created an ephemeral yellow X outside the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House.

In addition to X, Sylvia worked on another ongoing project in public space as a part of her residency. Many thanks to project assistant, Vu Thu.

[photo credits: Sue Hajdu & Barry Evans]

albb Reading Room
April: beautiful paper, beautiful design

This month's albb reading room offered a selection of books and catalogs that are a pleasure for the hands, a pleasure for the eye—publications that are beautiful objects to be felt through the fingertips, objects with weight and texture.

We also held a special screening of MEUNZSTRASSE, Berlin, 2006, a video work by albb artist-in-residence, Syliva Schwenk.

March 2007

albb talks / a week ON HEAT!
BRECHT-DOWN: an interactium
by theatre director & Luce Scholar, David F. Chapman

Modern theatre history is often divided into two periods: Before and Since Brecht. But who was Bertolt Brecht, and why, fifty-one years after his death, is the theatre world still marked by his innovations?

This "interactium" introduced the major ideas and techniques of Bertolt Brecht, with particular focus on his relevance to artists working today. In keeping with Brecht’s vision of the theatre as a place for action, David Chapman applied Brecht’s techniques throughout the night, creating a lively and highly enjoyable hands-on course in Epic Theatre!

David F. Chapman is a 2006-2007 Luce Scholar of the Henry Luce Foundation in New York. The Luce Scholars Program provides a small number of young American professionals, with limited prior exposure to Asia, with yearlong internships in East or Southeast Asia. David’s placement was as Guest Professor of the Ho Chi Minh City College of Stage and Cinema, where he directed a new Vietnamese version of the Tennessee Williams play Summer and Smoke. Prior to his arrival in Vietnam, David spent several years directing in Chicago, North Carolina, and New York, including a season as the assistant director at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. David has performed his solo plays at the Edinburgh and Montreal Fringe Festivals, the Camden People’s Theatre in London, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and Chicago’s Bailiwick Arts Center. David was also a 2003-2004 recipient of a U.S. Fulbright grant to Budapest, Hungary.

albb residency / a week ON HEAT!
(better than gossip in the ladies' room):
Women and Art Initiatives in Asia
led by albb artist-in-residence, Varsha Nair

This half-day workshop formed the focus of Varsha Nair’s residency with albb. Varsha Nair is a Bangkok-based visual artist whose solo and collaborative works have been exhibited internationally, including at Tate Modern, London, Fondazion Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, National Review of Live Art, Glasgow and Art In General, New York.

The workshop kicked off with a presentation about Womanifesto by Varsha Nair, who has been part of the Womanifesto organising team since the very first event and was the initiator of Womanifesto 2001, 2003 and 2006. This was followed with, Sisters Who Did It for Themselves, a presentation by albb co-director, Sue Hajdu on the impact of women artists on the art scene in the 1970s and a presentation by Ho Chi Minh City-based architect, Melissa Merryweather, on the Jane Drew Prize, a project in which she headed a women's run initiative in the UK to create an architectural prize honoring collaboration and innovation in the broad spectrum of architectural culture.

The second half of the workshop opened a series of questions about the possibilities for women and art initiatives in Asia out to the floor for discussion and debate. We also presented participants with copies of my little capsule—oh what a champion!

Project Presentation
my little capsule—oh what a champion!

As a part of WOMANIFESTO TALKFEST, albb presented my little capsule—oh what a champion! a project that was run concurrently with the workshop to outreach to women artists, curators, writers and managers working in the Asia-Pacific. Workshop participants were presented with copies of the project, and were encourage to continue the discussions through the Womanifesto web-board, on which the project is presented fully. See: Contributions are welcome.

conception: Sue Hajdu / co-ordination: Motoko Uda / translations: Vu Anh Thu / graphic design: Van Thuy Linh

albb talks / a week ON HEAT!
cultural exchange projects by trans urban & X-CHANGE culture-science
by Stephan Schwarz

Vienna-based architects, Stephan Schwarz and Nariman Mansouri are the co-ordinators of trans urban and X-CHANGE culture-science. Through these organizations they run international cultural exchange projects between European and Asian institutions. Stephan visited Saigon on his way through to Hanoi where he and Nariman were about to launch a project entitled, Hanoi: Flexibility, Mobility and Housing.

In this talk, Stephan Schwarz discussed dwellings & interiors, architecture & town planning, living spaces & conceptions of the city through their recent projects:

WOHNKULTUREN culture of living, February 2005, Yogyakarta >>
CITY CULTURE IN MOTION, February 2006, Bangkok >>
BRINGING TOGETHER, September 2005 in Yazd >>
KARAWANE / CARAVAN, December 2006 in Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd & Esfahan >>

Mid-way during the presentation, albb artist-in-residence, Varsha Nair—who was also a participating artist in KARAWANE—gave an impromtu performance of In-between places, a poem that she created in collaboration with Seita Parkkola during their time in Iran.

a week ON HEAT!

a week ON HEAT! is a new member of albb's program. During this week we go a little crazy with an intense series of talks, workshops and interactions. Stay tuned for more weeks ON HEAT later in the year.


a little blah blah is proud to announce the launch of the first residency program in Ho Chi Minh City.

a little blah blah has been a member of RESARTIS since 2005, but our residencies in 2005 and 2006 were conducted on a project basis. With the launch of our residency program this month, we regularly offer overseas-based artists, curators, researchers and writers opportunities to explore this art scene and the intense dynamics of this city through residencies varying from 2 weeks to 2 months.

Our residency is orientated towards participants who are interested in working on self-generated art projects or research. No specific outcomes, such as exhibition, at the end of the residency are required, although interaction and exchange of ideas, methods and experiences is a desirable and highly valuable for this community.

albb Reading Room
Uber Contemporary

With Uber Contemporary as the theme of this month’s reading room, albb presented a survey of the most up-to-the-minute contemporary artists worldwide. Visitors could see what’s happening right now in various media by browsing through books on Public Art & New Artistic Strategies, Digital Art and New Media Art. Catalogues representing artists of diverse practices such as Oleg Kulik, Shaun Gladwell, Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro, Jun Nguyen Hatsushiba, Takashi Murakami and other Japanese artists working with the cultures and aesthetics of otaku were also on show.

February 2007

Yokohama, Japan
February is New Year season in Vietnam, so albb took a well-deserved break from contemporary art activities in Ho Chi Minh City during this month.

Instead, we took part in SHOWCASE in Yokohama, Japan. This was a networking event focusing on alternative art spaces in Japan and a number of overseas organizations. a little blah blah had a booth at SHOWCASE, at which we introduced our activities over the past two years, and also gave a bilingual presentation: albb in the Vietnamese Art Context.
After SHOWCASE, we continued networking activities in Yokohama and Tokyo, meeting prominent artspaces and organizations supporting contemporary art.

albb Reading Room
Lumiere: Contemporary Photography

In this month’s reading room, a little blah blah presented exquisite books on contemporary photography, featuring artists such as Nan Goldin, Pierre & Gilles, David Levinthal, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Chrisitian Boltanski, Tracey Moffat, Dinh Q. Le, Anne Zahalka, Darren Siwes and many others. Also on view was the Noorderlicht Photofestival 2006 catalogue, in which several photographers based in Vietnam took part.

January 2007

Winners of the 2006 YAGP for HCM City
by Ngo Dinh Truc, Lam Hieu Thuan, Le Vo Tuan, & Lieu Nguyen Huong Duong

The Young Artists Grant Program for Ho Chi Minh City, an initiative of the City of Melbourne, aims to encourage and support the practices of young artists. In January 2006, eleven artists aged under 35 were awarded developmental grants or encouragement awards. In this albb mini-portfolio, some of the 2006 YAGP winners introduced the work that they created with grant funds during 2006.

albb mini-portfolios are a sub-genre of albb talks that provide young artists with their first opportunity to make a brief presentation on their work, together with their peers.

albb screenings
1st Southeast Asian Performance for Video Showcase 2006

Curated in 2006 by Thanavi Chotpradit, Khairuddin Hori and Manuporn Luengaram, Performativity explores the confluences of performance and video. The project has toured various cities in South East Asia, and is screening for the first time in Vietnam at a little blah blah.

Montri Toemsombat (Thailand) / Chanognun Tiraganchana (Thailand) / Pitchayapong Pissapan (Thailand) / RathKnotPath (Thailand) / Lee Wen (Singapore) / Andree Weschler (Singapore) / Urich Lau (Singapore) / Ana Prvacki (Singapore) / Mitch Garcia (The Philippines) / Sharon Chin and Iskandar Razak (Malaysia).