By what means do we look at the world with a conscious and curious mind in the 21st Century? How do we define, and archive, the physical and psychological local characteristics of our community? Is it with a comparative awareness of its layered complexity in time, space and memory?

‘Conscious Realities – Reader 1’ is out now, nationwide!

This bilingual publication opens a doorway to these questions, targeting Vietnamese readers, featuring new translation of philosophical, scholarly and artistic texts by some of today’s most esteemed thinkers and makers who inform and provoke ideas of what it means to live and reflect with the communities of the Global South. These texts were selected from the varied readings and presentations delivered in the first year of ‘Encounter’, a lecture and workshop series, organized by San Art as part of ‘Conscious Realities’ (2013-2016), a program bringing expertise to Ho Chi Minh City from South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America and Africa.  This reader responds to the three central topics engaged within ‘Conscious Realities’, namely ideas of mythology and its language; the impact of the social sciences on the arts; and the ethical considerations of material resource as matter and symbol.

‘Conscious Realities – Reader 1’ contains translated canonical texts by cultural essayist Walter Benjamin, philosopher and theorist Michel Foucault and anthropologist ethnographer Claude Lévi-Strauss. These critically acclaimed essays sit alongside critical contemporary presentations by Professor Prasenjit Duara, Dr David Teh, curator Andreas Huyssen and the poet cum literature critic Inrasara (please see Table of Content for further details).

This publication is initiated and organized by San Art and its Network Partnership with the Prince Claus Fund, its translation and proof-reading would not have been possible without the generosity of the translators and editors both in Vietnam and aboard (please see Acknowledgements pages for further details).

San Art and the Chief Editor of this publication, Zoe Butt, would like to thank Hoa Sen University for their co-hosting and co-publishing of this Reader; the team of San Art and interns for their unwavering commitment to knowledge; to the many participants of the program from across Vietnam who took part in lively debate during the course of ‘Conscious Realities’; and to the outlets across Vietnam who have agreed to stock and distribute this Reader.

‘Conscious Realities – Reader 1’ is distributed across Vietnam at the following outlets:

Hà Nội

Hộp bookstore, alley 238 Âu Cơ, Tây Hồ


Then Cafe, 63 Lê Trung Định

Hồ Chí Minh City

Sàn Art Reading Room, 3F Cà Phê Thứ Bảy Trẻ, 264B Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, District 3

The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, 15 Nguyễn Ư Dĩ, Thảo Điền, District 2

Inpages, 4 Lê Văn Miến, Thảo Điền, District 2

Cù Rú Bar, 240 Nguyễn Công Trứ, District 1

And soon at Phuong Nam Bookstores across Vietnam!