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Lin + Lam
Changing Time: Between Historicity and Spatiality
Center Note Lecturers

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2007
10 a.m. – 12 p.m., San Francisco Art Institute, Lecture hall and classrooms
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Achilles Mbembe asks what comes after colonization: “Is everything really called into
question, is everything suspended, does everything truly begin all over again . . .?
This is a false question, but one that raises questions not only about the specific
nature of the present period, but also about the very possibility of changing time.”
Situated in the present, Unidentified Vietnam, a mixed media installation, and
Unidentified Vietnam No. 18, a 16mm film, are studies of the past. Lin + Lam regard
their projects as a dialogue with time, with history, and the viewer. We will discuss
the unique capacity for film to demonstrate time, emphasizing the direct communal
experience of cinematic viewing in contrast to mediation of a prior situation. We
propose that potential liberation could reside in the possibilities of activating different temporal registers. Constructing a moment of suspension may offer the post-colonial or post-war subject a means to emerge from what Mbembe calls “the time of entanglement,” to find a language for speaking between the time of one’s own and that of an other’s.

Participant Bios:

For the past six years, the artist team “Lin + Lam” has produced research-based projects
that examine the ramifications of the past on the current socio-political moment. Lin +
Lam’s individual practices intersect along several lines of interrogation that expand
the conception of information, history, evidence and subjectivity. Paying close
attention to materiality, site, and the specificities of different medium, their collaboration is a productive integration of their individual strengths and backgrounds. Trained in architecture, H. Lan Thao Lam uses photography, sculpture, and installation to address social memories of time, place and politics. Informed by documentary and experimental film, Lana Lin’s work interprets different cultural contexts and examines the processes of identification. Their work has been exhibited at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, LA; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Merida, Mexico; Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival, Taipei and others.

Lam received her MFA from CalArts and was Assistant Professor at Middle State Tennessee University and Goddard College, MFA program. Lin received her MFA from Bard College and was Assistant Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and the City College of New York. They both currently teach at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA program. They have been honored with awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, among others.