As a matter of course, the underground tunnels turned out less useful than people’s preconceptions of them. — excerpt, Củ Chi Tunnels Restoration Report

About the book:

In 1981 a Polish-Vietnamese heritage conservation mission gave an impulse to transforming the partisan tunnels of Củ Chi into a symbol. The apparently technical task of securing fragments of this obscure construction, in fact constituted part of the process of adapting the history of the Vietnam War to the preferences of a modern audience—one of the most important historical policy projects of that time. After all, the secrecy and inaccessibility of the corridor network determined the character of this reconstruction—initiating the process of replacing the material remains of the past with their models.

After nearly 30 years since the first revitalization efforts, we follow further steps of this adaptation, as fragments of the corridors acquire the properties which facilitate the work of imagination. Our architectural survey verifies the existing tunnel maps, at the same time testing the limits of the positivist approach in defining what is a material footprint of the past. Secrecy, though of a different kind now, remains the fundamental principle of the tunnels’ effectiveness.

About the authors:

Anna Pilawska-Sita, born in Poznań in 1989, is an architect, graduate of the Faculty of Architecture and Design at the University of Arts in Poznań. She is the winner of the Maria Dokowicz Contest in 2017 and shortlisted by SARP for the Graduation Diploma of the Year 2017 title. She’s worked with Latz+Partner in Germany, Abalimi Bezekhaya in South Africa, Vo Trong Nghia in Vietnam, and others. The scholarship of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2018 allowed her to conduct fieldwork and collect materials published in the “Củ Chi Tunnels Restoration Report”.

Michał Sita (1985) is a documentary photographer and curator based in Poznań, PL. He is a graduate of photography at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (2009) and social anthropology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, where he currently works on his PhD. Interested in research through photography within topics such as collective memory and social interpretations of history, he has authored the books “Củ Chi Tunnels Restoration Report” (2019), which was selected as the photobook of the year 2020 at Fotofestiwal Łódź, and History of Poland exercise book.”