In/Visible Borderline Project II: The Act of Ceremony & Game


Interactive installation and performance, 2016

The In/Visible Borderline Project by Tuan Mami, is a research-based art project that focused on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border and its surrounding area at the Mekong Delta. By traveling to the region and studying the cultures and customs of the people from both sides of the border, I wanted to explore the similarities and differences of two different ethnic communities, whose ties are heavily strained by distrust and prejudice from a long conflicted history.

The project provokes reflections on the interwoven notions of home, identity and migration. It also reveals the tensions and ambivalences in the relationship between the natural and manmade worlds, and in the human narratives. This project aims to evoke and deconstruct the issues regarding geographical and socio-political borders.

During the In/Visible Borderline I exhibition, the audience was requested to bring objects which relate to their personal stories or histories about the relationship between Vietnam/Cambodia to trade with Border Post Palm Sugar Sculptures. My collaborator, Sao Sopheak, a Cambodian documentary filmmaker, and I shifted the artists’ role to become that of a free trade dealer who will bargain for the exchanges. The installation slowly transformed from a political presentation to a social interactive installation of exchanges of personal memories.

In this new iteration, I will connect the earth from the Cambodian-Vietnamese border with the waters of the Trent River in Nottingham, in a multi-form installation that will include audio-visual work, the Buddhist water blessing in a performance, a durational participatory performance with water guns and earth and sculpture that will melt the symbolic border posts fabricated in palm sugar, a main source of trade across the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.