Shadow Followers (đuổi theo chiếc bóng)
2007 ‧ The Bảo Lộc Project with 15 participating households (Lâm Đồng)
- Photo-ethnography ‧ participant-led documentation ‧ coffee & tea plantations ‧ ethnic minorities
Commissioned by A Little Blah Blah, curated by Sue Hajdu, supported by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Council for the Arts, in collaboration with Son LeNgoc, Pham Than Tam, Nguyen Huu Binh, Nguyen Van Duong, Tran Thi Thuan, Nguyen Nhu Quynh, K’Boi, Le Ngoc Tram, Tran Van Dong, Pham Viet Hien, Nguyen Duc Hanh, K’Oahn & Co Thuy, Le Thi Phuong, K’Li Ang Va, and Roslisham Ismail (aka Ise).
Prior to camera-sporting smartphones and ubiquitous social media, this distributed, photo-ethnographic exploration brought together a wide range of people from this coffee-growing south-Vietnamese countryside to document what they found noteworthy. Most participants had never used a camera before, so they were given single-use cameras over a four-week period and instruction to point the lens in the direction of the shadow for best exposure—making them to Shadow Followers. Participants took photos and notes six times a day, swapped exposed camera with prints in weekly meetings, and self-curated the group exhibition in the coffee warehouse at project’s end with excitement.
The project integrated participants from various ethical groups (including the indigenous K’ho community), class and generations into a unity of purpose. Naturally this brought about tensions of envy, resentments, and authoring that demanded negotiation and reconciliation (in families and group).