The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music delves into the paradox of life and death in a short film concerning the ritual funerary celebrations that take place in Ho Chi Minh City and throughout Southeast Asia. The festivities resemble a New Orleans jazz funeral, complete with a uniformed marching band, but also a sword-swallowing, fire-breathing dancer who leads the way through crowded city streets teeming with music and performers. The artwork collages documentary footage of actual funeral processions and re-enactments, moving between solemn poetics to bombastic celebration and then on to a queer, uneasy silence. It captures the superstitious nature of ritual in the richly colored, high-definition aesthetics of today's most popular music videos.
This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY.
The Propeller Group (Vietnamese, Collective formed 2006)
The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, 2014
Single channel video, 3840 x 2160 / 16:9 aspect ratio, 4K resolution, 25 fps, color, 5:1 surround sound
Duration: 25 minutes, 15 seconds
Collection of the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky purchased jointly with the New Orleans Museum of Art, 2015.6