Keywords: propaganda films, mobile units, nation building, 1960’s, Vietnam War, American War, Ngo Dinh Diem, Madame Nhu, Bing Crosby, White Christmas, Fall of Saigon, April 30 1975, photography, object-making, film and video installations, sculpture, sculptural installations, card catalog, archive, counter-archive Library of Congress,

The project takes its name from over a dozen South Vietnamese propaganda films archived at the Library of Congress. Labeled only as "Unidentified Vietnam," these 1960's films--made with U.S. support--call into question the policies and politics of nation building.

With exacting attention to the material artifacts and architecture of the archive, Unidentified Vietnam simultaneously expands and contracts the space of history, offering a view of the present moment through the lens of past events. At the center of the installation, a card catalogue contains photographs of Library of Congress interiors and empty film cans. On the reverse of the cards are excerpts from interviews about the propaganda films conducted by the artists. In their video re-enactment of archival footage, former leaders of the failed republic refute Graham Greene's implication that Vietnam is "invisible like peace." Also on view, enlarged photographic stills of transitional moments in the films connote absence, stasis and movement.

Employing irony, humor and melancholia, Lin + Lam expose the force of bureaucracy, the dangers of nationalism, and the ramifications of U.S. foreign intervention. Recognizing the contingency of democratic discourse, they ask viewers to consider the viability of and possibilities for ethical interaction between nations and peoples.

Unidentified Vietnam


mixed-media installation with photographs, sculptures, 16mm projector and 16mm film loop, video and parabolic speakers.

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