Long Time No See (2018 – 2020) is a fragmented collection of visions that explore the memory of the Vietnam-America War and the ongoing legacy of chemical warfare. We bring together photographs, paintings and video made in collaboration with Vietnamese veterans and their descendants. Over a two year period, we worked closely with the community at Làng Hữu Nghị -a residence in Hanoi for veterans and younger generations affected by Agent Orange, a genetically mutating chemical weapon used by the U.S. We challenge the traditionally rigid divide between subject and author and this work is the product of our mutual creative process.
Many of the people in the photographs contributed paintings, and sometimes drew directly on the photographs. Their drawings also appear on the walls of their bedrooms in the background of the photographs. In the same spirit, the videos are dream-like vignettes we co-directed with Vietnamese veterans, blurring the lines between memories, dreams and wish-fulfillments. This collaboration offers a counter-narrative to the dominant historical narrative in the U.S., which is often primarily concerned with its own trauma.
Our process offers an alternative, critical approach to artistic exchange which we hope can open up a democratic space for the audience to interact with the work and to approach the aftermath of this war from multiple entry points. In all of the components of this work, we are interested in how larger socio-economic and political structures are visible, or hidden, within what is personal, psychological, and spiritual.
Caleb Stein is a U.S. based multi-media artist. He graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Art History. His work explores the fragility of memory and the dynamic, energetic interactions that take place within community. His work has been exhibited in a number of international exhibitions – the Palm* Photo Prize at Photo London, Labs New Artists at Red Hook Labs in New York, Photo Vogue Festival at Base Milano, and the Vincom Center for Contemporary Art in Hanoi.
Andrea Orejarena is a Colombian-born American video artist. She graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Cognitive Science & Art. Her work employs the subversive power of play and fantasy to examine the intersection of technology, memory and desire. Her video art has been exhibited at the Vincom Center for Contemporary Art in Hanoi and at the Palmer Gallery in New York and screened at SPLICE Film Festival in Pennsylvania, Blow-Up Arthouse Film Festival, and at OLA Latin American Film Festival in the Hamptons, NY. Outside of her video work, her texts have appeared in catalogues for the Frances Lehman Loeb Museum of Art and she was shortlisted for the 2019 Burn Emerging Photographer Fund.