REPATRIATION // The Museum of Capitalism
This project facilitates the repatriation of “Home” a sculpture by Nguyen Phuong Linh from Oakland to Vietnam. "Home" is made from 200 year old heavy tropical hardwood, originally used as the floorboards to a Catholic church in the outskirts of Hanoi. This vessel was made in 2012 for Hinterlands at The Luggage Store Gallery. In 2017 "Home" was brought out of storage, and restored for the inaugural exhibition at The Museum of Capitalism, in The Port of Oakland. "Home" was brought into public view with the express purpose of being repatriated to Vietnam, as a symbolic commemoration of imagining capitalism's end.
verb re·pa·tri·ate \(ˌ)rē-ˈpā-trē-ˌāt, -ˈpa-\
to restore or return to the country of origin, allegiance, or citizenship repatriate prisoners of war
verb (used with object), repatriated, repatriating.
to bring or send back (a person, especially a prisoner of war, a refugee, etc.) to his or her country or land of citizenship.
(of profits or other assets) to send back to one's own country. verb (used without object), repatriated, repatriating.
3.to return to one's own country: to repatriate after 20 years abroad.
Repatriation is the return of art or cultural heritage, usually referring to ancient or looted art, to their country of origin or former owners (or their heirs). The disputed cultural property items are physical artifacts of a group or society that were taken from another group usually in an act of looting, whether in the context of imperialism, colonialism or war. The contested objects range widely from sculptures and paintings to monuments and human remains.
Support the Repatriation of Home
Hesitant to be involved with art with a political slant, the biggest funder pulled out of this project within a week of our projected shipping date. We are currently seeking funds of $4,000 in order to repatriate "Home" to Vietnam in August, 2017, as The Museum of Capitalism closes its doors. Read more about this project, and why the time is ripe to send this boat home.
UPDATE 8/25/2017 - We are 1/2 way there! We have raised $2,600, and have $2,600 more to raise. Many thanks to all our generous donors so far.
We are now accepting donations through Green Cities Fund, the non-profit that sponsors Nha San Collective in Hanoi. Donations to Green Cities Fund are tax deductible and 100% of your donation will be used for the "Repatriation" project. This page will be updated with our fundraising goals.
With the abrupt loss of funding from our main sponsor, we are asking for donations amounting to $4000 to support the completion of this project. Beyond the conceptual power of repatriation as an act of memorializing the era of capitalism, there are strong logistical and financial reasons why sending the boat now makes sense, including:
- "Home" is now in The Museum of Capitalism, which is in The Port of Oakland. Moving the work directly from The Museum, rather than back to storage and then out to the port at a later date saves $2000 in handling and storage costs.
- The Museum of Capitalism is able to provide $1,000 in matching funds if this is done as part of the closing ceremony of the institution.
- The Museum of Capitalism will be able to provide excellent documentation of the repatriation, allowing for this project to be shared with wider audiences.
what financial support will do :
- Allow for the ceremonial repatriation of “Home” / the boat from The Museum of Capitalism back to Vietnam. Deepen an ongoing exploration of the history of militarization and the global supply chain by Gabby Miller, Nguyen Phuong Linh and The Museum of Capitalism.
Support artist Nguyen Phuong Linh in being reunited with “Home” the sculpture that she finished in San Francisco five years ago. She believes that the work will not be complete until it returns across to Vietnam.
Support artist run spaces in Vietnam. The repatriation will bring the work back to Nha San Collective for exhibition, the art space the Phuong Linh founded and directs. It is the most active art space in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital.
This process will be memorialized in Gabby Miller’s solo exhibition “Second Sleep” at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, in September 2017. “Second Sleep” will be Miller’s first solo exhibit in America that presents the work generated on her trip across The Pacific on a containership in 2015.
All donors will receive a limited edition silkscreened "Certificate of Repatriation" by Gabby Miller. This certificate will be made with heavy crude bunker oil, fuel that was extracted from a containership crossing The Pacific Ocean.
Background // REPATRIATION of “HOME”
After the closing of Hinterlands, because of budgetary constraints, from 2012 to 2017, “Home” lay in deep storage at a warehouse in San Francisco, waiting to be shipped back to Vietnam. This changed when the curators of The Museum of Capitalism, invited Gabby Miller, with her ongoing examination of the history of the global supply chain, to participate in the inaugural brick and mortar exhibit of The Museum of Capitalism. Miller and the curators decided that this would be a powerful time to bring “Home” back into public view, with the express purpose of ceremoniously repatriating the piece back to Vietnam at the close of the exhibit.
In June of 2017, “Home” was transported from a storage unit in San Francisco to be shown in the inaugural exhibition of The Museum of Capitalism in Jack London Square, at the Port of Oakland. The boat, is at the front entrance of the exhibition hall, highly visible to the thousands of visitors that have walked in. The piece is shown alongside Gabby Miller’s 2012 piece “Logistics from Sea to Land (for Nam and Giang), a four by seven feet section of shipping container, whose underside is painted with turquoise oil paint, from a friend’s studio in Hanoi.
At The Museum of Capitalism's close, "Home" will be repatriated to Nha San Collective in Hanoi, Vietnam. The wooden vessel will be secured in a 20 foot container onsite at The Museum, hauled by truck into The Port of Oakland, and loaded onto a ship crossing The Pacific.
"Home" will arrive in the Port of Haiphong, and transported to Nha San Collective in Hanoi, for further restoration and viewing.
This is an examination of the local and global relationships between imperialism, containerization and ocean freight between Oakland to Vietnam, while supporting artists, and artist-run spaces on both sides of The Pacific.
“Home” is a wooden vessel, a 14 foot long boat made by Nguyen Phuong Linh, one of the the most active and influential Vietnamese artists of her generation. This work was produced in 2012 for the project “HINTERLANDS” a three month residency project curated by Gabby Miller at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, that was funded by The Asian Cultural Council, The Walter and Elise Haas Foundation, and The Furlotti Family Foundation.
“HINTERLANDS aims to merge faraway places. We have transported the hinterlands of Hanoi, through the art and artists that engage with Nha San Studio, Vietnam’s longest running experimental arts space, to a kindred space in San Francisco – The Tenderloin National Forest / Luggage Store Gallery, where 40% of the surrounding neighborhood population is of Southeast Asian descent.
Hanoi, which translates to “the hinterland between the rivers” is located in the Red River Delta, in the center of Northern Vietnam.
The hinterland is the uncharted areas beyond a coastal district or a river’s banks. It is the part of a country where only a few people live and where the infrastructure is weak.
The hinterland is beyond what is visible and known, the back country of the mind, the not yet imagined. It is the far-a-way place.
Nhasan Studio Founded in 1998, Nha San Studio is the longest running experimental arts space in Vietnam. It is a Muong ethnic minority house on wooden stilts, transported piece by piece from the mountains in Hoa Binh province to the outskirts of Hanoi. Moonlighting as family home and business, Nha San circumvents the law requiring approval for any public exhibition in Vietnam by registering gatherings as private events. Nha San Studio can been understood in multiple ways as a hinterland of Vietnam – few inhabitants, distinct from but influenced by the state, and a space to go beyond the imagination.
HINTERLANDS is The Luggage Store’s first artistic exchange involving artists born, raised and based in Vietnam. HINTERLANDS consists of a three month residency project in which four artists work in collaboration. This project culminates in an exhibition of new works by Nguyen Phuong Linh and Nguyen Tran Nam from Hanoi, joined by Lu Yang, from Shanghai and Gabby Miller from The Bay Area.”
Referencing hinterlands as a shipping term, the project explored the geopolitics of ocean freight trade, and the historical connection between. The two artists from Vietnam were invited to ship raw materials across The Pacific, from Vietnam to San Francisco, to produce their work. Nguyen Phuong Linh asked her father, who founded “Nha San Studio” - Vietnam’s first and longest running experimental art space in their family home, and who collects and salvages wood for a living, to send her wood of his choosing. Her father decided to send her the floorboards of a two hundred year old catholic church in the outskirts of Hanoi. These floorboards were thick and strong. They were planed down and shaped into this boat, which Linh gave the title “Home”.
The Port of Oakland + The Vietnam War
The establishment of the Port of Oakland is deeply connected to the escalation of The Vietnam War, and the subsequent transformation of the global supply chain through the worldwide adoption of containerization.
In 1967 the U.S. government contracted Sea-Land to begin service from The Port of Oakland to South Vietnam. In November of that year the 685-foot-long ship The Oakland delivered 609 thirty-five foot containers. The ship held as much cargo as could be carried on ten average break bulk ships hauling military freight to Vietnam.
Supplies flowed in, the cargo backlog dissipated. “The port congestion problem was solved,” the army’s history of 1967 declared triumphantly. * (Levinson, The Box)
ABOUT MUSEUM OF CAPITALISM
The Museum of Capitalism is an institution dedicated to educating this generation and future generations about the history, philosophy, and legacy of capitalism, through exhibitions, research, publication, collecting and preserving material evidence, art, and artifacts of capitalism, and a variety of public programming. The museum’s programs result from collaborations between a network of researchers, curators, artists, designers, filmmakers, writers, economists, historians, scientists, and non-specialists from all walks of life, including those with direct experience of capitalism. The Museum’s inaugural exhibition will appear in Oakland, California in 2017.
The mission of the Museum of Capitalism is to educate this generation and future generations about the ideology, history, and legacy of capitalism.
On August 20th, 2017, The Museum of Capitalism will close its doors. In the last days of The Museum, when the last burst of visitors will be touring the exhibition, we will ceremonially remove the boat from its exhibition spot. “Home” will be rigged into it’s own twenty foot container, pulled by big rig through The Port of Oakland, and shipped out as ocean freight, back to Vietnam. This ceremonial repatriation at The Port of Oakland will be documented by Gabby Miller. This process will be integrated and memorialized in her solo exhibition “Second Sleep” at The Luggage Store Gallery in September, 2017.
“Home” will be received and subsequently exhibited at Nha San Collective, for an audience in Hanoi. Nha San Collective is the present day iteration of the experimental art studio that Phuong Linh’s father started in their family home. Nha San Collective is the most active artist led space in Northern Vietnam.
Bangkok Art and Culture Center (2018)
The work will continue to be transported and transformed further. The artist, Nguyen Phuong Linh, plans to transform the boat into a light installation, and use it as a centerpiece for her solo exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) in February 2018. This solo exhibit is fiscally supported by the Hans Nefkin Foundation.
The repatriation of “home” / the boat flow outwards from The Museum of Capitalism, to Gabby Miller’s solo exhibit at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, to Nha San Collective in Hanoi and then to the Bangkok Art and Culture Center in Thailand. The movement of the piece is part of a connected conceptual project that explores the legacy of logistics and ocean freight by Gabby Miller.
About Nguyen Phuong Linh:
Calling herself a ‘travelling artist’ who goes on endless expeditions to learn and make art, Nguyen Phuong Linh may recall the mobility of ‘Renaissance artists’ in Europe in the sixteenth-century; however, her journeys in fact reflect more the urge to excavate untold histories, where fragmented realities and fictions lie beneath dust, dead generations and ordinary communities. Born as daughter of Nhà Sàn Studio’s co-founder, Phuong Linh’s teenage spent among the first and most pioneering generations of contemporary artists in Vietnam in late 1990s and early 2000s. She was rejected several times to Hanoi Fine Art University, and instead of being self-taught artist, Phuong Linh was indeed community-taught combining with self-learning and life-driven.
Linh Phuong Nguyen has participated in various exhibitions and art projects in Vietnam, countries in Asia, Europe as well as US, such as Japan, Korea, India, China, Germany, England, France, and Italy. In 2009, she exhibited the first solo exhibition Salt at Galerie Quynh Vietnam. In 2011, Linh participated in 11th Winds of Artist in Residence at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum with a solo exhibition Dust. In 2012 she presented project Home in the exhibition Hinterlands at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, USA. In 2013, she participated in the large exhibition HIWAR, 25th anniversary of Darat Al Funnun in Amman, Jordan.
Since 2010, Linh organized and curated programs at Nha San. She found and organized IN:ACT, the annual international performance art festival in Hanoi. In 2012, she organized Skylines With Flying People, one of the most ambitious contemporary art events in Vietnam in the last decade with local and international artists and curators from Vietnam, Japan, Germany, US, Serbia, Shanghai, Korea… at Japan Foundation, Nha San Studio, Goethe Institute, Manzi Art Space and many public sites in Hanoi. In 2013, Linh co-founded Nha San COLLECTIVE.
Since 2010, Linh Nguyen has assisted Danh Vo in several large scale exhibitions and projects, including his solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Bregenz in 2012 and the large project for the Venice Biennale in 2013.
About Gabby Miller:
Much of the work I've been doing over the last 12 years has been centered on the experimental art scene in Hanoi. The past 6 years have more focused on the rise of containerization globally and it's connection to the escalation of the Vietnam War, and growth of The Port of Oakland. This research led me to take a containership across The Pacific in 2015. Here are some more links to the what I've been up to.