“Near my village most land has been sold, saved for the modest graveyard off in the distance.” A self-produced music video by Nguyễn Văn Song, featuring himself, to the track of a contemporary folk pop song, its title an onomatopoeia for the humming sounds in northern Vietnamese lullabies. The artist, donning a white-collar worker’s ensemble of white shirt and dark trousers, daydreams in a flurry of superimposed footage of a bygone agrarian landscape with flocks of storks, paddy fields, cows and buffalos. There is a tinge of whimsical irony in the song’s grievous laments, how one chose to sing of irreversible urbanization, and the rough hems of a homemade video.
À Í A is a rare individual work from Nguyễn Văn Song. Since 2010, he has been active as a member of the Hà Nội-based performance art group The Appendix (Phụ Lục). Using everyday objects as props, the group conducts durational performance of repetitive actions in abstractly staged settings, in order to evoke social issues or address each member’s personal concerns. Phụ Lục has participated in various local and international performance art events.