May 23, 2021 / 14:45

‘Liberation Radio’ audio installation work to open in Hanoi

The audio installation by a group of foreign and Vietnamese artists would help audiences to relive the harsh times in North Vietnam during the American war (1954 -1975).

An audio installation work entitled 'Liberation Radio’ will be open at Manzi Exhibition Space in Hanoi from May 28 to June 13.

The poster of 'the Liberation Radio’ audio installation. Photo courtesy: Manzi

In 1968, a group of American military deserters went to the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) in Stockholm with one object in mind - joining the army they had been drafted to fight. There, they were recruited for the propaganda war - to use magnetic tape, pop music, and political rhetoric to persuade other American servicemen to defect. Their recordings were sent from Sweden to Vietnam on the diplomatic bag and broadcast from transmitters on the rooftops of Hanoi, and villages in the countryside.

Five decades later, an installation work by artist and filmmaker Esther Johnson, sound artist Nhung Nguyen, and historian Matthew Sweet revives that circuit of communication. It also transmits something of the atmosphere of paranoia in the 1970s, when anxieties about propaganda, brainwashing and war produced films such as Alan J Pakula’s The Parallax View (1974).

The American Deserters Committee, Stockholm, 1968. Photo courtesy: Manzi

With contributions from some of the surviving American deserters, Swedish anti-war activists and Vietnamese journalists of the period, the voice of Liberation Radio speaks again.

The project is s funded by FAMLAB (Film, Archives and Music Lab) Fund as part of the British Council’s Heritage of Future Past project in Vietnam.

Due to the fragility of the installation and the complexity of the setup, Manzi can only accommodate five people for each slot and every visitor needs to wear a mask when visiting and use the hand sanitizer provided at the entrance.

The installation is open by appointment only, visit the website or email to Manzi for registration at https://www.manziart.space/event-details/liberation-radio/form, email: manzihanoi@gmail.com