Artist and filmmaker Michelle Dizon works with an archive of National Geographic magazines to explore the mechanics of the "white gaze." Through a process of poetic subtraction, Dizon works with only the language on the original page to write a decolonial counterpoint to a way of imaging the world centered on the West. Her images lay the white gaze bare, unearth a genealogy of a racist visuality, and work in the gap between image and text to write against the grain of imperialist narratives. Artist and writer Việt Lê uses Dizon's images from White Gaze as a starting point for his poetic exploration of the legacies of war and imperialism. Lê's text performs a dual work, both contextualizing Dizon's images in the history of empire and unleashing a rhythmic play with language, both visually and aurally, to cut to the core of how meaning is produced. His text speaks to absence as much as presence with a story of war and empire told in fragments, phrases, words hanging on the page—an index of both the trauma and resistance experienced by those subjected to the violence of empire.
Michelle Dizon is an artist, filmmaker, writer, theorist, and educator based in Los Angeles, California. Born in the United States as part of the Philippine diaspora, Dizon’s life experience has been shaped by the politics of migration across the Pacific Rim. The violence of imperialism and the intimate spaces of resistance within globalization form central pivots in her work which take the form of multi-channel video installations, expanded cinema performances, essay films, photographs, discursive events, pedagogical platforms, and writing.
Dizon has exhibited and lectured internationally at venues such as the Center for Women’s Studies (Zagreb, Croatia), Caixaforum (Barcelona, Spain), Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (Copenhagen, Denmark), Jeu de Paume (Paris, France), IASPIS (Stockholm, Sweden), Metropolitan Museum of Art (Manila, Philippines), Sumaryo Art Space (Jakarta, Indonesia), Vargas Museum (Manila, Philippines), Para/site Art Space (Hong Kong, China), Queens Museum (Queens, United States), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, United States) and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, United States).
Dizon is the founder of at land’s edge, an experimental platform for visual research and catalyst for decolonial thought and action. She has taught courses on documentary, visuality, postcoloniality, globalization, war, feminism, and ecology at the California Institute of the Arts and served as co-chair and core faculty in the Visual Art program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She earned an MFA in Art with specialization in Interdisciplinary Studio at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric with designated emphases in Film and Women, Gender, and Sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley. www.michelledizon.com
Việt Lê is an artist, writer, and curator. Lê is an Assistant Professor in Visual Studies at California College of the Arts. He has been published in positions: asia critique; Crab Orchard Review; American Quarterly; Amerasia Journal; Art Journal; and the anthologies Writing from the Perfume River; Strange Cargo; The Spaces Between Us; Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art; among others. Recent solo exhibitions include lovebang! (Kellogg University Art Gallery, Los Angeles 2016), vestige (H Gallery Bangkok 2015), tan nÁRT cõi lòng | heARTbreak! (Nhà Sàn Collective Hà Nội). Lê has presented his work at The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA; DoBaeBacSa Gallery, Seoul, Korea; Japan Foundation, Việt Nam; 1a Space, Hong Kong; Bangkok Art & Cultural Center (BACC), Thailand; Civitella Ranieri, Italy; Shanghai Biennale, China; Rio Gay Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; among other venues.
Lê curated Miss Saigon with the Wind (Highways, Santa Monica, 2005) andCharlie Don’t Surf! (Centre A, Vancouver, BC, 2005); and co-curated humor us(with Leta Ming and Yong Soon Min; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, LA, CA, 2008), transPOP: Korea Việt Nam Remix (with Yong Soon Min; Seoul, Sài Gòn, Irvine, San Francisco, 2008-09), the 2012 Taipei Kuandu Biennale and Love in the Time of War (with Jen Vanderpool, at UC Santa Barbara and SF Camerawork). He coorganized the 2015 Artistic Interventions confererence (Ph.D. workshops and symposium) in Hong Kong.
Lê received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Irvine, where he has also taught Studio Art and Visual Culture courses. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (Department of American Studies & Ethnicity). www.vietle.net