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Everlasting Karaoke

Artist Feature of Minh Ngọc Nguyễn

For the past few years my practice has revolved around my Vietnamese heritage as a starting point and to examine Western portrayals of Southeast Asian culture and other motifs through the photographic medium. The work started by considering how images and image culture inscribe national identity along the lines of fetishisation and appropriation, and how these ideas have impacted my perception of my heritage.

By utilising technical conventions and tropes from my background as a commercial photographer, I aim to deconstruct and reconstitute specific objects and iconography to question their appropriation and reclaim them from the fetishisation and alienation to which they have become prone.

This ongoing project took the form of an exhibition called “Everlasting Karaoke” presented last year at Oblong’s gallery space in Copenhagen.

"Elements of a culture that are able to generate a sense of connection and pride, while simultaneously acting as signifiers of otherness that can be used to caricature. Karaoke itself is central to the exhibition; an appropriated global phenomenon that is at once loved and fetishised. This duality has led Nguyen to have a deeply conflicted relationship with karaoke, coming to symbolise the performative aspect necessary for assimilation to be achieved. As Everlasting Karaoke demonstrates, this performance becomes continuous, lifelong, everlasting.”

Minh Ngọc Nguyễn is part of »Guest Room: Heather Canlas Rigg & Emmy Lee Wall«.