14:30 – 16:30, November 20, 2023


Gia Lâm train factory hall, 551 Nguyen Van Cu, Hanoi


Lê Thuận Uyên is currently Curator/Artistic Director of The Outpost – a Hanoi based private organisation committed to the collection, presentation, and discussion of contemporary art in Vietnam. Informed by her former training in politicial science, Uyen is interested in alternative histories, personal narratives that are rendered absent or undesirable by the official record. Her practice is also concerned with the investigations of forms and ideas within the social context and aesthetic traditions of Vietnam. Uyên is also a keen advocate for integrating art experiences into the universal educational system, as well as building capacity for the Vietnamese art landscape. Some of her past curatorial projects include: Fractured Times (The Outpost, Hanoi, 2022); Domestic Bliss (Ilham Gallery, KL, 2019); Gang of Five Chancing Modern (Hanoi, 2017); Sindikat Campursari (Jakarta, 2016);…

Vân Đỗ is a Hanoi-based curator and writer whose practice concerns artistic interventions and negotiation of existing sites and seeks for critical engagements with the local communities. From 2019 to 2021, Vân worked in the curatorial team of The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre (HCMC). Since 2022, Van has been Artistic Director of Á Space, an artist-driven independent space for experimental practices in Hanoi, Vietnam. Selected exhibitions include: Vy Trịnh: Overvoltage (Gia Lâm Train Factory, Hanoi, 2023); White Noise (Nguyen Art Foundation, HCMC, 2023); Tương tương ngộ ngộ cá kho tộ, ngộ ngộ tương tương đậu kho tương (Á Space, Hanoi, 2023); IN:ACT 2022 (Nhà Sàn Collective & Á Space, Hanoi & Kassel, 2022); Hà Ninh Pham: Recursive Fables (A+ WORKS of ART, Kuala Lumpur, 2022); Within / Between / Beneath / Upon (The Factory, HCMC, 2021); An ode to the microscopic (Dcine, HCMC, 2020).

Pham Minh Hieu (b. 1996, Vietnam) is a contemporary artist who contemplates reality by creating places that he calls “absolute installations of art.” He founded Studio Pham Minh Hieu in 2021 with a vision of artistic practice not bound by traditional definitions and genres. Studio Pham Minh Hieu collaborates with technology partners, material solution providers, and research institutes in the art creation process. Recent works use advanced techniques such as soundscape, projection mapping, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, etc. Some typical exhibitions of the artist include: The Outpost (The Outpost, 2022); Như thể là (AGOhub, 2021); Ở đây & Bây giờ (Exhibition House 93 Dinh Tien Hoang, 2014).


In the field of contemporary art, the term “site-specificity” can be roughly understood as practices that place the specific nature and characteristics of a space, which can encompass architectural, historical, socio-political, cultural aspects and its relationships with the surrounding residential areas in a central position. Such considerations contribute significantly to the formation of the artist’s body of work/project, not only in the display of the works but also in the process of researching and conceptualizing the work/art project. In some cases, the presence of a work of art in turns transforms the physical space and activates the embedded relationships associated with that space. Because of the ability to excavate existing memories of a place while creating new values ​​and stories, realizing art projects in heritage sites is applied by many countries worldwide with the desire for such sites to continue to ‘breathe’ with the contemporary biosphere.

The fact that historically important spaces such as the Gia Lâm train factory or Hàng Đậu Station being opened and becoming venues for the Hanoi Festival of Creative Design 2023″ is a good sign for the public in Hanoi has access to parts of their collective memory that is associated with the development of modern urban areas. Meanwhile, for art practitioners,, this special site holds the potential to activate different possibilities for long-term research and artistic projects. 

Through several case studies that took place in recent years, the discussion between Lê Thuận Uyên (Curator/Artistic Director of The Outpost), Vân Đỗ (Curator/Artistic Director of Á Space), and Phạm Minh Hiêu (Contemporary Artist) will analyze selected art projects and and provide perspectives from art practitioners on a diversity of working methods and approaches to site, concerning the specificity of socio-historical, aesthetic, and community contexts, as well as the meaningful ways in which art can be a vehicle for collective memory, intergenerational exchange, and response with understanding of the present, history and past.

The activity is within the framework of the Hanoi Festival of Creative Design 2023, directed by the Hanoi People’s Committee – Vietnam Association of Architects; Organized by the Department of Culture and Sports, Architecture Magazine (Vietnam Association of Architects), Vietnam Railway Corporation; with the companionship of the UNESCO Representative Office in Hanoi, the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) and the coordination of Departments, Committees, branches, People’s Committees of districts, towns and other organizations. relevant organization. The festival has the participation of sponsors, and especially the participation and response of a large number of cultural, educational, and diplomatic organizations, universities, training institutes, businesses, community groups, experts, and Hanoi creative circles.