April 30th, 2005
30th anniversary of the reunification of Vietnam
Re: Announcement for A Motorcycle for Bi
Project participants and sponsors request
I arrived in the United States as a Vietnamese refugee in 1975. This date, April 30th, 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the Re-unification of Vietnam. In response to this occasion I will return to Vietnam during the summer of 2005 to begin a reconciliatory project entitled A Motorcycle for Bi.
Bi is a Vietnamese rickshaw rider in his mid-20s whom I met on my first return trip to Vietnam in 2001. He assisted in the making of some of my photographs when I was in Nha Trang and during our acquaintance we became friends, though I have had no contact with him since. . Rickshaws are gradually losing their popularity as a mode of transportation to the motorcycle in Vietnam and in order to support just the basic needs of his family, Bi is required 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Having a motorcycle would increase his earning potential significantly but it is beyond his means.
A Motorcycle for Bi will begin with my arrival in Ho Chi Minh City in June of 2005. From there I will travel to NhaTrang to locate Bi and to purchase a Motorcycle to replace his rickshaw, In return Bi will take me, as his first customer, on his motorcycle traveling from the southern tip to the northern most point of the country. The project is expected to begin in July of 2005, and it will end four weeks later. For both, this will be our first opportunity to see the unified country in its entirety. We will collaboratively document our journey via audio recordings, diary entries and images.
The process of collaboration is important in this project, as it is a piece about community and reconciliation. This is not just a collaboration between Bi and myself but I intend it to also bring in the extended, greater community. I would like to allow the project to involve as many people who wish to participate and let it be a work in which the product documents the process of a vast community sharing in the effort of reconciliation.
I intend for A Motorcycle for Bi to address the potential of a community as well as the potential for art to exist in a form that occurs as much beyond its typical boundary. So while much of the experience will take place as an actual journey involving Bi and myself, all of the experience of that process and all contributions involved by others will be brought together in a form that can be shared by a broader community.
I will be offering an edition of 30 images, (20’’x24’’ color prints) from a body of work entitled The Garden. Each signed print is priced at $100 to anyone wishing to financially support the project. These funds will go toward the purchase of the motorcycle and the expenses of the journey. All financial sponsors will be publicly acknowledged and each will receive a signed final report toward the end of the project. All persons offering support will be acknowledged as a sponsor of A motorcycle for Bi. I would like to invite all those who wish to be involved in the project financially or in another way to communicate with me via email and to have their comments or suggestions possibly incorporated into the project. The introductory stage of A Motorcycle for Bi will be installed at PH Gallery in NY in July of 2005.