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Hotel Window

This project deals with my recurring themes of  trans-cultural identity and site specificity.  It is my attempt to address issues of cultural belonging and cultural transiency through the irony of surveying Vietnam- as a Vietnamese American-  through a hotel window. 

During the last few years, I made photographs from the same  hotel window in Ho Chi Minh City, District 1. The second-floor window offered a commanding view of the alley where it widened before the sharp left turn located under my hotel where it became narrow again. The alley served as a short cut between the congested street where it began and ended at a crowded market.  What separated my camera from the alleyway was the large glass window to dampen the noise and the thin white curtain for privacy. I spent a little more than four months in this sixty-four square foot hotel room, photographing obsessively from six in the morning until late at night, only taking breaks to eat or to sleep. During my process, I remained as objective as a scientist gathering visual data.  The camera tripod allowed me to keep the same perspective of the scenes outside my window throughout the day.

With this work, I aim to document, as if from the perspective of a natural scientist or archeologist. Using the camera to record facts rather than regarding it as a subjective tool, I have become increasingly intrigued with the idea of mapping my “own” culture in hopes of understanding it from an outside point of view using the hotel room as a metaphor for an in-between place. The window curtain was the variable that changed in addition to the light, which also changed throughout the day.  The curtain was a literal veil to the world and the culture outside my window.

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