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Month of Arts Practice Returns to Hanoi With Virtual Lectures, Livestreamed Talks

For its fifth consecutive year, the annual “Month of Arts Practice” (MAP) is currently running from its base in Hanoi with a series of online events and a final exhibition opening on November 21.

A project originally initiated by artist Trần Trọng Vũ in 2015, the residency organized by Heritage Space sets out to create a platform for the development of contemporary art by teaming established international artists with emerging artists from Vietnam under the guidance of art experts who are senior curators, artists, or art scholars with years of experience in the international art scene.

From last year's Month of Arts Practice exhibition.

The program offers a sequence of events including lectures, artists’ talks, and roundtable discussions that go on to inform a final exhibition held at the Hall of the Vietnam Fine Arts University. Due to travel restrictions, the guest curator's lectures and the artist's talks will take place in Hanoi via Zoom, as well as Facebook and YouTube livestreams for remote participants. The virtual collaboration and exchange between participants is a new program structure that is expected to become a long-term strategy in the face of the unpredictable future of face-to-face artist exchanges.

Director Mai Huyền Chi (left) from Da Nang, one of this year's participating artists.

The overarching theme “B L U E project” encourages the participating artists to study the city of Hanoi under a new light. From the organizer:

In the color palette, the blue color might be the color most loved by people because it is associated with the sky, the ocean, with the softest and purest things. The blue color has long passed beyond the visual territory to enter various fields such as psychology, language, literature, music, and politics and symbolize heart-warming dreams.

In the color palette, it is often possible to find a dominant color for a geographic location, an idea, so that colors become conventional. It is no coincidence that blue is chosen as the visual representation of small screens, for financial institutions that need to win the public's trust. It is no coincidence that blue was chosen as the brand for Twitter, for Tumblr, for LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook which is extremely close to 2.5 billion global citizens. It is no coincidence that workers' clothing in Hanoi is dyed blue, although the number of factories here declines over the years. But it is so random that it is hard to find this very blue in food and drink, which is the most basic physical need for survival.

Hanoi has no blue sea. Hanoi is also probably a rare capital that is covered by a not-blue sky even on the brightest hot days. It is rare for Hanoians to paint their walls in blue, as if because they were not in the habit of seeing the true color of the sky above the city, as if blue would disrupt an urban color harmony, and it was as if the luxury blue had no place in their visual needs. But in fact, inherently associated with peaceful and eternal scenes, the blue color will certainly not have its place in a crowded, polluted, chaotic and precarious city like Hanoi.

But what if the absence of blue in Hanoi is the explanation for the many stories and other issues that are more profound and more specific?

Artists participating in MAP will study and take Hanoi as a topic for their work. They will use that unseen blue color of the Hanoi sky to express what Hanoi has suggested to them, along with their own individual thoughts about a complex city that can give them a great deal of visual, sound, cultural, social, political, historical material... to make art. They will go beyond visual acquisitions to come to what is not visible that Hanoi hides inside its colorful appearance. In other words, using blue to tell what's not blue, using the paradox to tell about the paradox, is the purpose of MAP 2020.

Artists from many countries, races, ages, carrying with them very different life experiences and careers, will share personal thoughts through dialogue and practice. The combined work of the MAP 2020 artists will create a blue space, like an absurd drama set inside of Hanoi.

Artist Flinh from Hanoi, one of this year's participating artists.

Month of Arts Practice - M.A.P 2020 is organized with the generous support of the Goethe Institute in Hanoi, the Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam, and Pro Helvetia. The project also receives subsidies from the Cultural and Creative Hubs Vietnam, which is co-sponsored by the European Union and the British Council.

Follow the project's Facebook page for more updates.

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