Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2014

Thanh Cong Huynh
To 1945/1945 To
Thanh Cong Huynh
To 1945/1945 To

To 1945/1945 To is a study of a particular moment of historical knowledge production during postcolonial Vietnam. First, in order to legitimize Viet Minh’s claims as to the importance behind the events of 1945, the book adheres to the conventionalized chronology of Vietnam but with the intent to complicate and rupture its linearity. The entirety of the book is a macrogenealogy. The first page starts with the story of Lac Long Quan and Au Co, who gave birth to the ancestors of the Vietnamese people approximately 2793 B.C., and closes with the Declaration of Independence announced by Ho Chi Minh on September 2, 1945. Though the pages symbolize a period of time in Vietnam’s history (the higher the page number, the closer to 1945), there are two distinct instances of disruptions. To interfere with the convention of Vietnamese history, one may begin by indulging in the themes and tropes in Vietnamese literature deemed acceptable by the Viet Minh, or by retracing the development of Quoc Ngu language, and systems of communication to disseminate these narratives. Each section is composed of cultural artifacts (empirical maps, diagrams, art objects, photographs, literary texts, legends, folklore, poems, etc.) that are paired with peer-reviewed excerpts of collected texts, journals, books from a variety of sources including Western, non-Western, and Vietnamese writers. Since each set of collected materials stemmed from different sources and therefore different points of view, the contradicting and overlapping voices suggest a multiplicity of perspectives. The whole collection is a fragmented and conflicting understanding of history, while it is bounded by the events of 1945. Consequently, To 1945/1945 To is a catalogue of cacophonic thoughts and ruptures that reenact the fantasy and fallacy of a national truth.




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