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.
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