Reflecting on Marcin Dudek’s tunnel installation in I Will Eat This Sleepy Town, as well as his earlier works that drew on the underground passages at the US-Mexico border and a tunnel built in Sarajevo by the Bosnian resistance army – Waterside Project Space presents The Cu Chi Tunnels, a film by Mickey Grant, screened in tandem with two of Dudek's own video works.
Traces, 2008, Marcin Dudek and Renata Gaspar, 2'07"
Axis, 2010, Marcin Dudek and Renata Gaspar, 3'07"
In Grant’s film, as in Dudek’s passages, the simple process of ‘walking through’ begs more profound questions of survival (the transportation of medical supplies, fuel and weaponry), profiting (drug trafficking) and escape (illegal immigration).
During the war in Vietnam, thousands of people in the Vietnamese province of Cu Chi lived in an elaborate system of underground tunnels. Originally built in the time of the French, the tunnels were enlarged during the American presence. When the Americans began bombing the villages of Cu Chi, the survivors went underground where they remained for the duration of the war.
The secret tunnels, which joined village to village and often passes beneath American bases, were not only fortifications for Viet Cong guerrillas, but were also the centre of community life. Hidden beneath the destroyed villages were schools and public spaces were hospitals where children were born and surgery was performed on casualties of war: underground were schools and public spaces where couples were married and private places where lovers met. There were even theatres where performers entertained with song and dance and traditional stories.
The Cu Chi Tunnels, 1990, dir. Mickey Grant, 60'
Wednesday, 26 January 2011, 7pm