Hồi Sóng

7th December – 18th December 2021
Sàn Art

  • Event dates: 7th December – 18th December 2021
  • Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm 
  • Location: Sàn Art, Units, B6.16-B6.17, Block B (Office), Millennium Masteri, 132 Ben Van Don (Nguyen Huu Hao entrance), Ward 6, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.

 “Starting an archive is much like a leap of faith, one is partly blind to its usefulness or purpose in the future. What initially began in 1909 as an encyclopedic survey of linguistics and musicology morphed into one of the most concrete sources testifying the presence of colonial conscripts, forcefully or deceptively taken away from their homes by the French, to participate in a war that wasn’t theirs. While their crucial presence – for so long forgotten – is slowly reexamined by Western countries as part of a shared collective history, many gaps in the chaos of war remain unfilled. Lists of words, numbers, prayers, chants, descriptions of homelands, experiences of the war front were recorded from the factory workers or infantry men drafted from Vietnam, Cambodia, Mali, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Guadeloupe, or Martinique, to name a few. Now part of the Humboldt University sound archive in Berlin, the aforementioned recordings underwent a process of digitisation in the mid-1990s, opening up a vault of erased history to public access. This is the source from which Hồi Sóng emerged from, the initial starting point of the project that has since expanded to other archival components all thoughtfully selected and edited by experimental composers and sound artists Nhung Nguyen and Zach Schreirer.

Roughly translated as both a “return” and a “tuning in” of sound waves, Hồi Sóng aims to revive and reactivate a collection of these recordings through a sound installation that audience members can interact with. Altogether, the project possesses three conceptual components – auditory experience, archive appropriation and audience participation – and three concrete elements – an installation made from vintage transmitters, experimental compositions, and side documentation. Open to public interaction, the artwork aims to simultaneously activate the stories while connecting people with a part of forgotten history and heritage. The channels, created as sound collages, incorporate original recordings from captured soldiers and retrospective testimonies of Indochinese workers from World War I and II respectively, scripted narration, and arrangements created by the two artists.”

Sàn Art is delighted to reopen its doors and give way to artists Nhung Nguyen and Zach Sch to introduce Hồi Sóng, an experimental sound installation concocted after months of research and labour. Presented as the physical counterpart to their online platform hoisong.art, our display invites audience members to join us at the gallery and interact with the work.

Full documentation, curatorial text and references can be found here.


About Hồi Sóng:


“Hồi Sóng” is a research and creative project undertaken by Vietnam-based sound artists, Nhung Nguyen and Zach Sch. Comprising archival material – including century-old, multinational sound recordings from Humboldt University sound archive – and sound pieces created by the two artists, the project ultimately culminates into a website and a sound installation presented at Sàn Art space in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

This ongoing project aims to present previously inaccessible histories of peoples  –  specifically colonial soldiers and workers from Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Martinique, and Vietnam brought to Europe during World War I and II – through oral narratives (stories, songs, interview, in-situ recordings) intertwined with radio broadcasting methodology and the musical language of each composer. While hoisong.art will continue to store and present the research process, transcripts and materials of this project, its physical showcase will also include elements of audience interaction, encouraging the public to tune into the radio installation and interact with artifacts of their distant past.


𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲:

Sàn Art
Humboldt University of Berlin
Goethe-Institut Ho Chi Minh City
Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam
Nguyen Thien Dao Foundation