Into Thin Air
A public art project
A public space is a space that does not belong to anyone, but at the same time, to all. It is a site that doesn’t just hold its inhabitants’ history and memory, but also reflects their personal and collective identity. It is a place that is often neglected or forgotten, but has the potential to become a zone for creativity and freedom.
“Into Thin Air” is a long-term public art project, initiated and curated by Manzi Art Space with a view to building awareness and appreciation for art – particularly contemporary art – among the public, to helping artists develop independent practices whilst encouraging their involvement in social development within the current context of Vietnam.
Into Thin Air takes art and creativity outside of its conventional comfort zones (i.e. the museum, gallery, art space etc.) and into public spaces.
For the project, all participating artists were asked to consider their everyday urban spaces, or places in Hanoi that are significant to them and their community, and create artistic interventions for the spaces. The artists were also asked to take into consideration the city’s historical, political and social characteristics, to be more open and socially engaging, and to make works which encourage the public to participate or interact with it.
For the project,
The first edition of Into Thin Air took place successfully from 9 to 19 April 2016 in Hanoi. Ten artworks and projects in the form of site-specific/context-responsive installations, interactive video works and sound installations were placed around Hanoi. A smartphone app was created, functioning as a “treasure map” to aid the audience in “hunting” for and getting information about the works.
Following the success of the first edition of Into Thin Air, the second installment continues to explore the core format of the project. It also furthers and broadens its scope by tackling a different type of public space: the Internet. Into Thin Air’s 2nd edition includes a series of virtual artworks (virtual installations, performances, sound-walks and video arts) which will exist permanently in 10 of Hanoi’s public spaces.
Audience can view/ interact with a given artwork through a free online application using augmented reality (AR) technology which can be downloaded to their phone or tablet. All artworks exist virtually yet are only accessible at a particular site.
This 2nd edition looks to promote the diversity of cultural expression to reiterate the importance of creating an enabling environment that encourages individuals and society as a whole to get access to and enjoy a wide range of cultural activities.
Nguyễn Huy An
Born in 1982 in Hanoi and graduated from the Vietnam Fine Art University in 2008, Nguyen Huy An is considered one of the most dynamic and innovative artists of his generation. Huy An’s work has been a process of trying to dig into the darkness of psychology. Most of his projects have been underpinned by an obsession with memory and the complexities of a pessimistic perspective. From installations, performance art to paintings and sculptures, Huy An’s works are highly acclaimed by international art critics and curators for their introspective, simple and strong concepts.
Vũ Ngọc Khải
Khải is a professional dancer and choreographer who has been studying and working in Vietnam and Europe. Khải studied at the Dance School of Hanoi and in 2006 gained a full scholarship from the Holland General Consulate to study at the Rotterdam Dance Academy in the Netherlands. One year later, he gained a scholarship from the company for a special course focusing on training dancers and choreographers.
Born to an artistic family, Huy Trần decided to pursue a professional dance career at a very young age. A 2006 graduate of the Vietnam Dance College, he worked for the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) and was eventually awarded a scholarship from Cinevox Junior Company in Switzerland where he studied until 2011, He then started to perform at the Ballet Hagen Theatre and the National Mannheim Theatre – Germany. He is currently working for the Pfalztheatre Kaiserslautern as a dancer and choreographer.
Cao Thanh Lan
Cao Lan is a versatile musician, she was trained as a classical contemporary music pianist (by Pierre-Laurent Aimard) in Cologne’s and in Brussels’ Conservatories, but finds her main interest in sound. She has been experimenting with analogue synthesizer, amplified objects, prepared marxophone, daxophone and low-tech electronics.
Gregor Siedl was born in Vienna, Austria. He is deeply engaged in the field of experimental and improvised music. Through his explorations of extended techniques, preparations on the saxophone, clarinet and the use of extra-musical instruments such as game-calls and water, he has developed a unique voice in music.
Gregor won first prizes as best improviser at the international music competitions XL-Jazz and Gent Jazz festival. He has been involved in experimental music, jazz and multi-disciplinary projects with performers, visual artists and artificial intelligence.
Trí Minh started his career as a performing artist in the early 1990s, when he co-initiated Hanoi’s first jazz band, which performed for years in various venues across Vietnam’s capital. In the late 1990s, Trí Minh started experimenting with electronic music through collaborations with international artists performing as a solo artist and in various forms of collaborations in Vietnam and Europe.
Maritta is a Finish artist based in Hanoi. Her 25 years in Vietnam, together with an education in Finland both in natural sciences and visual arts have merged into an alchemist-like metallurgic experimentation in painting. Maritta equally enjoys exploring other genres of art, including ceramic art, wearable art, public art and community based art projects. She has exhibited in numerous countries across 3 continents.
Nhung Nguyễn has been creating sonic waves in Hanoi’s underground music scene for the last couple of years. In addition to her solo projects, she has teamed up with artists working across various media and from around the world to add audio elements to visual experiences. Since 2014, Nhung has been releasing music under the project Sound Awakener and eventually under her real name. She has worked with labels such as Time Released Sound [US], Unknown Tones Records [US] Soft [FR], Flaming Pines [UK], Fluid Radio [UK] and Syrphe [Germany].
Christian Grothe is a musician and music producer based in Berlin. He is producing and performing music under the alias Kryshe and collaborates with many artists, such as the trio Unland. His work combines trumpet, guitar and his voice with live electronics to create sound pieces for exploration and deep listening. Every piece is based on the use of improvisation and experimentation, to produce a variety of moods from soft and dreamy to dark and distorted.
Nguyễn Oanh Phi Phi
Born in Houston in 1979, Phi Phi Oanh received her BFA at Parsons School of Design (2002) and a Masters in Art and Investigation at the University of Madrid Complutense (2012). In 2004, she received a Fulbright Grant to study lacquer painting in Hanoi. Since then, Vietnamese lacquer has become central to her work, which focuses on its potential as a painting medium to convey memory or reflection, examine current theories of the image and expand into more experimental methods and scale.