Trinh T. Minh-ha. The Ocean In A Drop

Saturday, January 21, 2023, 6 p.m. – Sunday, January 22, 2023, approx. 7 p.m.



Towards the end of the exhibition Trinh T. Minh-ha. The Ocean In A Drop, Württembergischer Kunstverein offers the opportunity to see all six films shown in parallel in the exhibition one after the other. Drinks and snacks will be offered and may exceptionally be consumed in the exhibition / film booths (as well as food you bring yourself).
Admission: 5 Euro; reduced 3 Euro
Last admission: Sunday, January 22, 2023, 1 a.m.
Registration at:

6:15 p.m.
Introduction: Iris Dressler, Hans D. Christ

6:30 p.m.
Naked Spaces – Living Is Round, USA 1985
Digital film (16mm), 135'

After studying ethnomusicology, music composition, and French literature in Illinois and in Paris, Trinh taught at the National Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dakar, Senegal, from 1977 to 1980. Originating in this period are, among other things, her first two 16mm films, Reassemblage (1982) and Naked Spaces – Living Is Round. Each film takes a differentiated approach to the people of rural West Africa, their cultures and living spaces, while attempting to expose and disrupt the colonial gaze of classical ethnography. Naked Spaces – Living Is Round explores the housing, everyday life, rituals, and narratives of the people inhabiting the rural areas of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Senegal.

9 p.m.
Surname Viet Given Name Nam, USA 1989
Digital film (16mm), 108'

In this film Trinh delves into the complex history and present of Vietnam from the perspective of women and their centuries-old emancipation struggles. Her focus is placed on the experiences of more recent history: ranging from the independence struggles against the French colonial power (1945–54); to the division into communist North Vietnam and nationalist South Vietnam; to the reunification after the Vietnam War in 1976 and the founding of the socialist state. The film questions relationships between gender and national identity, and it also queries the role and resistance of women in the context of conservative gender models, as shaped by Confucianism, being dismantled and of the new regime’s authoritarian structures.

11 p.m.
Shoot for the Contents, China, USA 1991
Digital film (16mm), 102'

Shoot for the Contents was Trinh’s first film in which she elaborately explored the history and present of China, in order to expand her own understanding of this country and its various influences on Vietnamese culture. The title of the film references an ancient Chinese parlor game involving the guessing of objects hidden in boxes. It interlaces Chinese folk songs and opera, classical music, sayings by Mao and Confucius, the work of a calligrapher, and the comments and thoughts of two female narrators and other individuals.

1 a.m.
Night Passage, USA 2004
Digital film, 98'

The film, which harks back to Miyazawa Kenji’s novel Milky Way Railroad (1934), is dedicated to friendship, and to the transitions between life and death, with travel in a night train serving as the central metaphor. It is one of the few films by Trinh that corresponds rather to the motion picture genre, specifically fantasy film and science fiction, which Trinh deconstructs here at the same time. Night Passage tells of the spiritual journey of the young migrant Kyra and her two companions: her friend Nabi and the young boy Shin.

2:45 a.m.
Forgetting Vietnam, USA, Vietnam, 2015
Digital film, 90'

The film Forgetting Vietnam was made forty years after the end of the Vietnam War and approaches the traces left both in the Asian country and elsewhere. The footage was shot in 1995 and 2012, so at discrepant distances from the war, and with different camera technology used each time. In this film, Trinh purposefully eschewed the usual images of violence from the Vietnam War that have been reproduced in countless documentaries and motion pictures. Showing rather unspectacular, quotidian images, she examines the traumatic experiences associated with the war, negotiating this trauma between the poles of remembering and forgetting.

4:30 a.m.
What About China?, USA, China 2021
Digital film, 135'

What About China? is based on footage that was shot between 1993 and 1994 in the rural provinces of eastern and southern China, at places associated with the ancient origins of Chinese culture. The film contemplates the traditional architecture of these regions, such as the multistory roundhouses of the Hakka community or the hanging wooden dwellings of Ganlan style, and the people living there.

Schlossplatz 2
D-70173 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0)711 - 22 33 70
Fax: +49 (0)711-22 33 791
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart