Alison Nguyen

Técnicas de confusión
6 de Febrero al 7 de Abril 2024

op.cit. is proud to present Confusion Technique, the first solo exhibition in Mexico of artist Alison Nguyen, made possible with the support of the Whitney Independent Study Program and NYU, and with the production support for the film history as hypnosis (2023) from New York Foundation for the Arts’ Artist Fellowship in Film/Video, NYSCA’s Wave Farm MAAF Grant, MIT List Visual Arts Center, and Rug & Vase film production company.

The sculpture, prints and photographs on view are constellations of history as hypnosis, her latest film and body of work. Writes Sophie Cavaloucos, Assistant Curator of Film at MoMA, “[history as hypnosis is ] a speculative road movie that unfolds through cultural memory of the US war in Vietnam, the piece follows three women, recently reprogrammed by an artificial intelligence that has wiped all traces of their previous lives, as they journey through an uncanny desert landscape to a nearby metropolis. These figures without memory or history become a cinematic use case for themes of alienation, assimilation, and refusal. Freely combining genre, fact, and fiction, the film draws on its Southern California locations’ postmodern glass facades, mimetic architecture, and roadside infrastructure—markers of car culture’s entanglement with American expansionism and cinema history alike—to uncover the more ineffable links between collective consciousness and the Cold War military-industrial complex.”

Nguyen works across mediums combining approaches of narrative, documentary, and performance. She creates highly layered worlds which are offset by the artist’s embrace of improvisation and humor. Means of production and unpredictable elements of filming become integral parts of the work.

The gallery exhibition brings together less readily visible elements of Alison Nguyen’s research and process including documentation of a Seville Nguyen severed for her sculpture history as hauntology; a cigarette case found in its glove compartment lined with a newspaper clipping detailing American violence in Vietnam; confounding images shot during production of history as hypnosis; a print culled from research into JFK’s limousine; and a re-photographed image of Nguyen, her mother, and an older family member Nuoi who immigrated to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon in the late 1970s. Nuoi kept her teeth dyed black.

Text forms the basis of Nguyen’s work. In this case, the poem “Cu” by her brother Matthew Nguyen forms a personal counter-mythology in history as hypnosis. Nguyen’s script-writing process was shaped by a collage of lines from improvised takes, images that occurred during hypnotherapy, text messages with actors, speeches of tech entrepreneurs, and absurdity associated with the Confusion Technique that was used in Ericksonian hypnosis (Milton Erickson, b.1901). Erickson believed that the unconscious mind is active, significant and responds to metaphors, symbols, and contradictions. Hypnosis provides a tool to communicate with it.

Alison Nguyen is a New York-based artist whose work spans video, installation, performance, and sculpture. Her work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, MIT List Center for Visual Arts, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea, The Everson Museum, The Dowse Art Museum, e-flux, The International Studio & Curatorial Program, AC Gallery Beijing, Signs and Symbols KAJE, Ann Arbor Film Festival, International Film Festival Oberhausen, Channels Festival International Biennial of Video Art, True/False Film Festival, and Microscope Gallery. Nguyen received her MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and her BA in Literary Arts from Brown University. She is a 2023–2024 artist in the Whitney Independent Studies Program.