Sung TIEU

About The Artist

Vietnamese artist Sung Tieu (b. 1987) is based between London and Berlin. Working across various mediums, the dimensions of displacement play a central role in her work, which also foregrounds the ways evidence is manipulated to serve socio-political agendas . Recent solo exhibitions include “Zugzwang” (2020) at Haus der Kunst, Munich, and “In Cold Print” (2020) at Nottingham Contemporary, U.K. Recent group shows include those at Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, as well as the Matter of Art Biennial, Prague. Sung Tieu is also part of several artist collectives, among them East London Cable and TROI OI. 

Sung TIEU

"The Americans recorded Vietnamese voices, imitating a dead Vietnamese soldier asking fighters to return home at the risk of becoming wandering souls. Played overhead from helicopters and planes, it haunted the night."

About The Artwork

Sound TV

Single-channel colour video with sound

The whisper heard in Sound TV is chilling, overlaid with a hostile, high-pitched noise. Here, it lays bare the power of the cinematic and televisual machine. The noise is a recreation of the so-called “Havana Syndrome”, based on accounts of sounds allegedly heard by American diplomats stationed in Cuba. The recreation of the sonic attack in Tieu’s work is overlaid with an encrypted message written and recited by the artist, presented over footage taken on the Mekong Delta and inside the Cu Chi Tunnels, where another psychological weapon developed by the U.S. Army was utilized during the Vietnamese-American War. These sensorial and psychological tactics exploited a Vietnamese cultural belief: that those killed without an appropriate funeral ceremony would turn into restless spirits. The Americans recorded Vietnamese voices, imitating a dead Vietnamese soldier asking fighters to return home at the risk of becoming wandering souls. Played overhead from helicopters and planes, it haunted the night. Sound TV collapses these two conflicts - the Vietnamese-American War and continuing Cold War tensions today. Highlighting the presence of the U.S. in both conflicts, Tieu’s synthesis provokes a reflection on the notion of victim and perpetrator.

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