Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. —Exhibitions |  NTU CCA Singapore
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NTU CCA Singapore Exhibitions is focused on contemporary artistic production that provides a critical platform for reflection and discussion. The exhibition programme embraces artistic production in all its diverse media with a commitment to current debates in visual culture. NTU CCA Singapore presents up to four exhibitions a year ranging in format from group to solo shows giving voice to a diversity of international artists. Each exhibition is accompanied by an extensive public programme of tours, talks and workshops that foster reflections on the exhibition from various perspectives and disciplines.


Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films.

17 October 2020 — 28 February 2021

Forgetting Vietnam (2015)
Night Passage (2004)
The Fourth Dimension (2001)
A Tale of Love (1995) 
Shoot for the Contents (1991) 
What about China? (Part I of II, 2020–21) 

The making of each film transforms the way I see myself and the world. Once I start engaging in the process of making a film or in any artistic excursion, I am also embarking upon a journey whose point of arrival is unknown to me.”—Trinh T. Minh-ha 

Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. is the first institutional exhibition of filmmaker, music composer, writer, anthropologist, feminist and postcolonial theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha in Asia, presented in an exhibition format. Five of her films—Forgetting Vietnam (2015), Night Passage (2004), The Fourth Dimension (2001), A Tale of Love (1995) and Shoot for the Contents (1991), filmed over a quarter of a century, in different parts of Asia—are simultaneously on view in five small-scale movie theatres in The Exhibition Hall. As the viewer wanders from one theatre to the next, the proximity of the films enables their narratives to interrelate. This spatial configuration took its point of departure from Trinh’s exhibition at the Secession, Vienna, in 2001. 

Forgetting Vietnam, framed by two ancient Vietnamese myths, was made in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war, touching on the memory of trauma. Night Passage, inspired by Miyazawa Kenji’s novel Milky Way Railroad (1927), narrates the spiritual journey of a young female immigrant and her two companions, into a world of in-between realities. Shot in Japan, The Fourth Dimension is Trinh’s first digital film. Using special video effects to composite images and sound in multiple layers, this film is an exploration of time through rituals of religion and culture, new technology and everyday reality. A Tale of Love is a retelling of 19th-century Vietnamese poem The Tale of Kiều (1820), through a modern-day Vietnamese immigrant in the United States. In this film, Trinh experiments with various cinematic techniques and elements. Shoot for the Contents, an excursion into allegories, explores cultural and political shifts in China, as refracted by the June Fourth incident in Beijing. 

Presented in the Centre’s Single Screen from 31 October 2020 is Trinh’s newest cinematic work, What about China? (Part I of II, 2020–21). Initiated by NTU CCA Singapore, and co-commissioned with Rockbund Art Museum (RAM), Shanghai, the film takes the notion of harmony in China as a site of creative manifestation, and draws from footage shot in 1993 and 1994, in Eastern and Southern China, specifically from provinces Anhui, Hubei, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangxi—linked to the remote origins of Chinese civilisation.

Through Trinh T. Minh-ha. Writings., a display of Trinh’s books on reading platforms along the passageway connecting the five theatres in The Exhibition Hall, as well as Why are they so afraid of a lotus?, presented in The Lab by CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (Wattis), San Francisco, that showcases its year-long research season on her multifaceted practice, viewers are able to encounter her extensive writing that is core to her practice. 

Trinh’s early films, Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989), Naked Spaces—Living is Round (1985), and Reassemblage (1982), are part of an online film programme, Speaking / Thinking Nearby. Other films selected echo strands of discussions in Trinh’s layered practice, ranging from ethics of representation, to aspects of migration, global socio-politics, and feminism.

Besides the film programme Speaking / Thinking Nearby, other public programmes include Mother Always Has a Mother, an online convening presented by the Centre, Wattis, and RAM, and “There is no such thing as documentary”, a conference that brings together filmmakers, film historians, and curators to question the politics embedded in presentation and representation, perception, context, and the spatial. 


This is NTU CCA Singapore’s final presentation in its current exhibition space, its opening coinciding with the Centre’s seventh anniversary. By the end of this exhibition, the Centre would have hosted 55 exhibitions since its inception in 2013, inaugurated by the show Paradise Lost (2014), featuring works by Trinh T. Minh-ha alongside those of Zarina Bhimji and Fiona Tan.

Trinh T. Minh-ha (Vietnam/United States) is Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, and an award-winning artist and filmmaker. She grew up in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and pursued her education at the National Conservatory of Music and Theater in Ho Chi Minh City. In 1970, she migrated to the United States where she continued her studies in music composition, ethnomusicology, and French literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She embarked on a career as an educator and has taught in diverse disciplines which brought her to the National Conservatory of Music in Dakar, Senegal, where she shot her first film, Reassemblage. Trinh’s cinematic oeuvre has been featured in numerous exhibitions and film festivals. She has participated in biennales across the globe including Documenta11, Kassel (2002), and most recently at Manifesta 13, Marseille (2020). A prolific writer, she has authored nine books.

Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. is curated by Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, NTU ADM. 

This project focuses on the multi-layered practice of Trinh T. Minh-ha as a filmmaker, writer, music composer and educator, generating a multi-year (2019–2022) research and programme partnership between NTU CCA Singapore, RAM, Wattis, and the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart.


For more information on the overview of Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. public programmes, click here.


Image: 1 and 2. Trinh T. Minh-ha, Forgetting Vietnam, film still, 2015, colour, 90 min. Courtesy the artist. 3. Trinh T. Minh-ha, Shoot for the Contents, film still, 1991, 102 min. Courtesy the artist. 4. Trinh T. Minh-ha, Surname Viet Given Name Nam, film still, 1989, 108 min. Courtesy the artist.

Public programmes

In Conversation: Trinh T. Minh-ha, artist, and Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, NTU ADM
17 Oct 2020, Sat 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

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Recap of the lecture:



Following an excerpt of What about China? (Part I of II, 2020–21), her newest film, Trinh will read from her film script. This point of departure will bring Trinh’s multivocal practice in conversation with the curatorial and spatial concept of this exhibition.



Trinh T. Minh-ha (Vietnam/United States) is Professor of Rhetoric and of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Originally trained as a musical composer, she received her two masters and PhD from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Her numerous books include Lovecidal. Walking with The Disappeared (2016), D-Passage. The Digital Way (2013), Elsewhere, Within Here (2011). Her work has been recipient of many awards, including the Wild Dreamer Lifetime Achievement Award at the Subversive Festival, Zagreb (2014); the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women’s Caucus for Art (2012); and the 2006 Trailblazers Award at the MIPDoc in Cannes.

Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore) is the Founding Director of the NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, Singapore. Previously, she was Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where she also served as Founding Director of the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (2005–13). For more than three decades, Bauer has curated exhibitions and presentations, connecting contemporary art, film, video, and sound through transdisciplinary formats including Documenta11 (2002), 3rd Berlin biennale for contemporary art (2004), and the US Pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). 


Image: Trinh T. Minh-ha, What about China? (Part I of II), 2020–21, film still. Courtesy Moongift Films.

Trinh T. Minh-ha. Writings.
17 Oct 2020, Sat - 28 Feb 2021, Sun

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Visitors to the Exhibition Hall at our Centre can encounter Trinh T. Minh-ha’s extensive writing, core to her practice, through these books as displayed on the reading platforms along the passageway connecting the five theatres.


Books by Trinh T. Minh-ha

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. Cinema Interval. New York and London: Routledge, 1999.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. D-passage: The Digital Way. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event. New York and London: Routledge, 2011.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. Framer Framed: Film Scripts and Interviews. New York and London: Routledge, 1992.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. Lovecidal: Walking with the Disappeared. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. The Digital Film Event. New York and London: Routledge, 2005.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. When the Moon Waxes Red. Representation, Gender and Cultural Politics. New York and London: Routledge, 1991.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

Books by other authors

Dissanayake, Wimal. Rethinking Third Cinema. New York: Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2003. 

Ferguson, Russell, Martha Gever, Trinh T. Minh-Ha and Cornel West. Out There: Marginalisation and Contemporary Culture. Cambridge: The MIT Press Ltd, 1992.

Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey. Women Filmmakers of the African & Asian Diaspora: Decolonizing the Gaze, Locating Subjectivity. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, 1997.

Guo, Xiaolu. Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China. New York: Grove Press, 2017.

Kaplan, F. and E. Ann.  Feminism and Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: essays and speeches. Berkeley: Crossing Press, 2014.

Pines, Jim, and Willemen, Paul. Questions of third cinema. London: BFI Pub, 1989.

Rhomberg, Kathrin, ed. Trinh T. Minh-Ha / Secession. Vienna: Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession, 2001.



Van Dienderen, An. “Indirect Flow through Passages: Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Art Practice.” Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Inquiry 23 (Spring 2010): 90–97.  [Free access upon registration]

Duong, Lan, and Lila Sharif. “Displaced Subjects: Revolution, Film, and Women in Viet Nam and Palestine.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 6, no. 1 (Spring 2020): 168–97. [Free access upon registration]

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. “Forgetting Vietnam: Trinh T. Minh-ha with Lucie Kim-Chi Mercier.” By Lucie Kim-Chi Mercier. Radical Philosophy 2.03 (December 2018): 78–89. [Access PDF]

Fuser, Marina. “Nomadism in the Cinema of Trinh T. Minh-ha.” PhD diss., University of Sussex, 2019. [Access PDF

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. “Shifting the Borders of the Other: An Interview with Trinh T. Minh-ha.” By Marina Grzinic. Telepolis. August 12, 1988. [View here]

Hill, Michael. “Abandoned to Difference: Identity, Opposition and Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Reassemblage.” Surfaces 3, no. 2 (1993): 1–29. [Access PDF]

Lawson, Jacqueline. “Gender and the War: Men, Women and Vietnam.” Vietnam Generation 1, no.3, Article 1 (1989). [Access PDF

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. “Documentary Is/Not a Name.” October 52 (Spring 1990): 76–98. doi:10.2307/778886. [Access PDF]

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. “Not You/Like You: Post-colonial Women and the Interlocking Questions of Identity and Difference.” Inscriptions 3 (1988): 71–77. [Access PDF

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. “The Totalizing Quest of Meaning.” Theorizing Documentary 1 (1993): 90–107. [Access PDF

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. “Trinh T. Minh-ha with Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa and Patricia Alvarez.” By Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa and Patricia Alvarez. The Brooklyn Rail. October, 2016. [View here


Image: Courtesy Trinh T. Minh-ha.

In Conversation: Speaking/Thinking Nearby by Dr Marc Glöde, Assistant Professor, NTU ADM, and Dr Ella Raidel, Assistant Professor, NTU ADM and WKWSCI
29 Oct 2020, Thu 07:00 PM - 08:30 PM

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This lecture will be streamed live online. Sign up here to receive the link and password.


Special attention in the accompanying film programme has been given to Trinh’s approach of the withdrawal from the usual pattern of the documentary with regard to authenticity, representation, observation, or the creation of sentiments in favor of non-linear storytelling in which the documentary appears as a performance. This conversation will focus on key aspects in Trinh’s work, and their correlation to the films selected for the programme.



Online Screening: the time is now. (I+II), Heidrun Holzfeind, 2019
1 Nov 2020, Sun - 14 Nov 2020, Sat

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Register here for the password to access film. 


the time is now. (I+II), Heidrun Holzfeind, 2019
Colour, sound, 48 min
Rating: PG

Holzfeind is interested in architectural and social utopias that create an alternative living. She documents the shamanistic rituals of the Japanese improvisation/noise duo IRO, Toshio and Shizuko Orimo, in what they call “Punk Kagura”—in reference to Kagura, a ritual dance tradition and music for the gods. Holzfeind uses a visual language that adapts their mystical rituals: breaks in image; as well as the colour and narrative corresponding with the soundscape, the modernist architecture of Takamasa Yosizaka, and the surrounding nature in which the duo performs a choreography for healing our damaged planet. The urgency is underlined in the title the time is now

This film is part of the Film Programme: Speaking / Thinking Nearby, co-curated by Dr Marc Glöde, Assistant Professor, NTU ADM, and Dr Ella Raidel, Assistant Professor, NTU ADM and WKWSCI, and accompanies the exhibition, Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films.


Video introduction by Dr Ella Raidel



Heidrun Holzfeind (Austria/Germany), an artist and filmmaker, explores the interrelations between history and identity, individual histories and political narratives of the present.


Image: the time is now. (I+II), Heidrun Holzfeind, 2019, film still. Courtesy Heidrun Holzfeind and Sixpackfilm.

Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films.
Online Film Programme:
Speaking / Thinking Nearby
1 Nov 2020, Sun - 28 Feb 2021, Sun

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Trinh T. Minh-ha’s approach to film has addressed a wide field of discussions—reaching from the ethics of representation in ethnographic film, to aspects of migration, debates on global socio-political developments, and different layers of feminist discourse. Her films are investigations into the question of the voice as well as the relationship between the visible and audible. This programme will present a selection of films that echo some of these discussions negotiated by Trinh in her filmic works as well as her writings, and create a dialogue with other filmmakers and scholars.

Co-curated by Dr Marc Glöde, Assistant Professor, NTU ADM, and Dr Ella Raidel, Assistant Professor, NTU ADM and WKWSCI.



1 – 14 November 2020
the time is now. (I+II), Heidrun Holzfeind, 2019
Colour, sound, 48 min
Rating: PG

Holzfeind is interested in architectural and social utopias that create an alternative living. She documents the shamanistic rituals of the Japanese improvisation/noise duo IRO, Toshio and Shizuko Orimo, in what they call “Punk Kagura”—in reference to Kagura, a ritual dance tradition and music for the gods. Holzfeind uses a visual language that adapts their mystical rituals: breaks in image; the colour and narrative corresponding with the soundscape; the modernist architecture of Takamasa Yosizaka; and the surrounding nature in which the duo performs a choreography for healing our damaged planet. The urgency is underlined in the title the time is now.

Heidrun Holzfeind (Austria/Germany), an artist and filmmaker, explores the interrelations between history and identity, individual histories and political narratives of the present.



15 – 28 November 2020
Heaven’s Crossroad, Kimi Takesue, 2002
Video, colour, sound, 35 min
Rating: G

What does it mean to “look” cross-culturally? This film follows up on this question by creating a visual journey through Vietnam. Instead of following the established patterns of the classic documentary, Takesue creates an experimental experience that challenges the audience and invites us to reflect on what it means to “truly see another culture”. Within this beautiful visual travelogue, questions of desire, projection, and communication begin to appear, that are embedded in this idea of the cross-cultural encounter.

Kimi Takesue (United States) is an award-winning filmmaker and recipient of the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships in Film.



29 November – 10 December 2020
Naked Spaces—Living is Round, Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1985
16mm transferred to digital file, colour, sound, 135 min
Rating: PG13 (This film contains some nudity)

Six West African countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Senegal) stand in the centre of this film. The work explores the life in the rural environments of these counties by taking a closer look at the everyday. With its nonlinear structure, the film steps away from the classical traditions of the documentary/ethnography tradition and offers a sensuous approach. It is a poetic journey to the African continent in which the interaction of the encountered people or the spaces in which they are living becomes relevant.



11 – 24 December 2020
A Song of Ceylon, Laleen Jayamanne, 1985
16mm film, colour, sound, 51 min
Rating: PG13 (This film contains mature content and some nudity)

This film is an intense study of the body, gender and the multiple aspects of colonialism. It addresses theatrical conventions by recreating classic film stills and presenting the body in striking tableaux. A remarkable film on which Trinh T Minh-Ha, in Discourse (1989), commented: “The anthropological text is performed both like a musical score and a theatrical ritual….The film engages the viewer in the cinematic body as spectacle…”.

Laleen Jayamanne (Sri Lanka/Australia) is a filmmaker and Professor of Cinema Studies at the Power Department of Fine Arts at the University of Sydney, Australia.



25 December 2020 – 5 January 2021
Surname Viet Given Name Nam, Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1989
16mm film transferred to digital, colour, sound, 108 min
Rating: PG13 (This film contains some disturbing scenes from the archival footage of the Vietnam War)

This film is Trinh’s complex deep dive into the difficulties of translation, as well as themes of exile or dislocation. By using historic material, dance, printed texts, folk poetry and combining it with anecdotal narratives, she examines the status of Vietnamese women since the Vietnam War, as well as the status of images as evidence. It is a complex approach that invites the audience to reflect on the modes of perception and encourages a profound critique of audio-visual strategies.



6 – 19 January 2021
Nervous Translation, Shireen Seno, 2018
Colour, sound, 90 min
Rating: PG

This film follows the inner voice and play of an eight-year-old girl who cooks perfect miniature dishes, mimicking the world of adults. The perception of the child is translated through fragmentation and sounds that are written into words, such as the ring of the telephone, and the sound of the aircon, all forming together, an orchestra of the everyday. Waiting, boredom, and dead time pave the temporality of her imagination, while she is listening to cassette tapes recorded by her father, a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia. The personal phantasmagoric vision encounters the political dimension echoing the times of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines.

Shireen Seno (Japan/Philippines) studied architecture and cinema at the University of Toronto before relocating to Manila. Her work addresses memory, history and image-making, often in relation to the idea of home.



20 – 31 January 2021
Reassemblage, Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1982
16mm film transferred to digital, colour, sound, 40 min
Rating: PG13 (This film features tribal ways of life that depict some nudity)

With her remarkable and widely discussed first film, Trinh brings the conventions of the documentary to our attention and asks how films in the field of documentary and ethnographic tradition have consecutively established a power to manipulate the way in which we perceive different cultures. By gathering filmic means and techniques that reject the traditional narrative forms, Trinh constantly alerts us to our own process of perception, furthermore reminding us that watching a movie is not a passive, but an active process.



1 – 14 February 2021
The Human Pyramid, Jean Rouch, 1961
DCP, colour, sound, 93 min
Rating: NC16 (This film contains mature content)

At the Lycée Français of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Rouch worked with students there who willingly enacted a story about the arrival of a new white girl, Nadine, and her effect on the interactions of and interracial relationships between the white colonial French and Black African classmates, all non-actors. Fomenting a dramatic situation instead of repeating one, Rouch extended the experiments he had undertaken in Chronicle of a Summer, including having on-camera student participants view rushes of the film midway through the story. The docu-drama shows how working together to make the film changes their attitude towards each other.—Icarus Film

Jean Rouch (France), ethnographer-turned-filmmaker, was the father of modern cinéma vérité together with his collaborator, Edgar Morin. Their work has had great influence on French New Wave filmmakers.



15 – 28 February 2021
95 and 6 to Go, Kimi Takesue, 2016
Digital, colour, sound, 85 min
Rating: G

While visiting her grandfather, a recent widower in his 90s in Hawai’i, Takesue begins to follow his everyday routines. When he shows interest in his granddaughter’s stalled romantic screenplay, an interesting discussion about her work, family, memories, and identity unfolds. Shot over six years, this film shows how personal aspects intertwine with a critical reflection of the documentary genre.



Image: Trinh T. Minh-ha, Reassemblage, 1982, film still. Courtesy the artist.