Now You're Speakin' My Language
  • Image: Chi Tran, 'There Is Nothing Else Known In The Sky That Does That' (video still), 2022. Courtesy the artist.

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Now You're Speakin' My Language

IMA × NOWNESS ASIA digital commissions

Launching June

#IMAxNOWNESSASIA

Now You’re Speakin’ My Language is a new digital commissioning partnership between the Institute of Modern Art and NOWNESS ASIA. It will present five new films by artists that consider memory, language, and place through their work. Taungurung artist and curator Kate ten Buuren will commission five artists of Australian First Nations, Southeast Asian, and Asia Pacific backgrounds/diasporas, to create new video works that reflect on the ways that language and story connect us across oceans, rivers, lands, and imposed borders, as well as across time.

The commissions will premiere on NOWNESS ASIA, a global film platform presenting the best of arts and culture in Asia to audiences across the region. This project will introduce the work of five Australia-based video artists to a global audience engaged with film, culture, and contemporary art, and profile the strength and innovative practices of contemporary artists in Australia.

The commissioned films will be available to view online at nowness.asia in June 2023.

Artists

Jenna Lee, James Nguyen, Chi Tran, Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu, and more

Curated By
  • Kate ten Buuren
Artist Bios
Jenna Lee

Jenna Lee is a Gulumerridjin (Larrakia), Wardaman and KarraJarri Saltwater woman with mixed Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Anglo-Australian ancestry. Using art to explore and celebrate her many overlapping identities, Lee works across sculpture, installation, and body adornment. She also works with the moving image, photography and projection in the digital medium.

With a practice focused on materiality and ancestral material culture, Lee works with notions of the archive, histories of colonial collecting, and settler-colonial books and texts. Lee ritualistically analyses, deconstructs, and reconstructs source material, language and books, transforming them into new forms of cultural beauty and pride, and presenting a tangibly translated book.

Driven to create work in which she, her family, and the broader mixed First Nations community see themselves represented, Lee builds on a foundation of her father’s teachings of culture and her mother’s teachings of papercraft.

James Nguyen

James Nguyen makes work in Australia and Vietnam. His mixed practice of videos, installations and actions are a way to think more openly about the world. Ranging from the diasporic absurd to representational refusal, everything and anything is up for grabs. James has a PhD on broken translations at UNSW, a Master of Fine Arts on the cinematic body at the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) at the National Art School, and a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Charles Sturt University. He was a collaborative fellow at UnionDocs (Centre for Documentary Arts, Brooklyn, NYC) and continues to show both successful and lacklustre projects locally and internationally.

James Nguyen makes work in Australia and Vietnam. His mixed practice of videos, installations and actions are a way to think more openly about the world. Ranging from the diasporic absurd to representational refusal, everything and anything is up for grabs. James has a PhD on broken translations at UNSW, a Master of Fine Arts on the cinematic body at the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) at the National Art School, and a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Charles Sturt University. He was a collaborative fellow at UnionDocs (Centre for Documentary Arts, Brooklyn, NYC) and continues to show both successful and lacklustre projects locally and internationally.

James Nguyen
Chi Tran

Chi Tran is a writer and filmmaker based in Naarm/Melbourne. Tran’s writing and short films draw together broad themes of everyday life and loss with a particular emphasis on language and expression. Across a body of combined lyrical and critical texts and moving-image productions that blend elements of fantasy, philosophy, slow cinema and critical theory, Tran’s stories focus on the textures of human emotion, rooting the metaphysical in personal and physical experience. Shooting her own footage, Tran synthesises a research-based approach to writing with a run-and-gun filmmaking method, and is often inspired by real-life stories of her own and of those she lives with. Through worldbuilding and the manipulation of time, light and language, Tran creates familiar situations and feelings for the audience to re-encounter, asking the question of how useful the imaginary can be in forging a new path for relation and understanding.

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu is a Gumatj man using new technologies to create contemporary expressions of timeless Yolŋu culture. Gutiŋarra’s filmic self-portraits created at The Mulka Project, a digital library and production centre located in Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land, explore his connection to Country. Born deaf, Gutiŋarra’s work tests the possibilities of non-verbal communication in examining and representing self and culture.

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu is a Gumatj man using new technologies to create contemporary expressions of timeless Yolŋu culture. Gutiŋarra’s filmic self-portraits created at The Mulka Project, a digital library and production centre located in Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land, explore his connection to Country. Born deaf, Gutiŋarra’s work tests the possibilities of non-verbal communication in examining and representing self and culture.

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu
Curator Bio

Kate ten Buuren is a Taungurung curator, artist and writer working on Kulin Country. Kate’s cross-disciplinary practice investigates collective and collaborative ways of working, and her interest in contemporary visual art, film, and oral traditions is grounded in self-determination, self-representation, and the power of knowing one another. Kate is the founder and active member of First Nations arts collective this mob who make space for young artists to connect and create on their own terms. Kate currently works as a curator at ACMI and was previously curator at the Koorie Heritage Trust.


The IMA acknowledges, thanks, and pays our deepest respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that we work with and the Country we work on. 

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