hyphenated projects x artist in residence
special thanks to phuong ngo, nikki lam and andy huynh, who made my one month away from home a treat x
hyphenated projects house. photo by nikki lam
earlier this year i was told that my research into white australia and internalised racism within the vietnamese community was pretty much, unnecessary, because "australia is probably the most multicultural country in the world." oh, also can't forget being asked "do you watch a lot of american tv? it seems like your emotions and feelings are influenced by american tv because it's not like that in Australia..." as i gently closed my laptop to not make a scene, i walked out of the room, searching through my contacts on my phone, ready to call phuong from hyphenated projects. "am i crazy phuong?"
i used to love adelaide. i thought it was the only place i would ever want to live. if you put your head down and don't pay attention to anything or anyone else, adelaide works. you can get from anywhere you need in under 30 minutes. but as i've come to learn through disappointing experiences, it's a little entitled city full of ignorant fuckwits who continue to rave on about feminism and sustainability like it's the only thing that matters. i get it, the world is dying, but it's hard to want to be a part of a movement that is trying to preserve the world when the same people make you not want to live in it. I am still learning how to be better to the environment, you know, like putting fruit in my basket instead of the plastic bag, and rolling my eyes at someone using the wrong tupperware, but maybe pull your head out of your ass and look at the way white supremacy continues to sneakily work against those who aren't privileged enough to be considered for that job, for that friendship group, for that grant, or have the freedom to explore patriarchy and global warming before you freak out over your neighbours yellow bin. that's probably not fair of me to say. but i have.
what hyphenated projects have done for me is not baby me through situations, but allow me to be in a safe space, vent, and explore how and why i feel the way i do. they have given me a platform to be myself, to make work with whatever materials i choose and not make me feel categorised or tokenised for it. they have walked alongside me as i begin to unlearn my own internalised racist beliefs, but what i am most grateful for is they have also helped me recognise my own privilege, that i am also a part of the problem.
the residency was the sweetest time. I lived in sunshine west. met lion dancing troupes. met other artists and curators of colour. had a whole house to myself. and karaoke. and rudimentary. and ricotta cannoli. west is best.