Memory of the Blind Elephant, 2016
Single-channel video, rubber latex, soil drawings on paper and metal stands
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
Rubber cultivation was introduced to France’s territories in Indochina by Dr Alexandre Yersin at the start of the twentieth century. Plantations such as the Michelin Rubber Plantation in Vietnam not only boosted the economy, but also set the scene for the build-up of anti-colonial sentiments and Communist-led strikes. Fascinated by colonial rubber plantations and the role they have played and continue to play in Vietnam, Phuong Linh explores the materiality of rubber and investigates the historical significance of the country’s rubber trees and plantations. Her work is realised in three parts: a video projection, a nine-piece installation, and a suite of soil drawings on paper. The video captures the activities and landscapes surrounding rubber plantations, while the drawings chronicle the artist’s reflections and explorations around the plantations. The installation addresses the history of rubber in Vietnam and the Cham Pa community, who live in central Vietnam where many plantations are located.