Over three weeks, six artists working in different fields of art in Hanoi, including visual arts, performance art, sound, and moving images, will collaborate in a series of “symbiotic experiments” entitled “More Than Human #1: The Understories”.

The “open studio” features an art installation alongside various events, including film screenings, discussions, and artist talks will open at two different spaces of Manzi Art Space and Exhibition at No.14 Phan Huy Ich Street and No.2 Hang Bun Street in Ba Dinh District.

The poster of the art event entitled “More Than Human #1: The Understories” that takes place from February 23 to March 19 at Manzi Art Spaces in Hanoi

The authors are Nguyen Huy An, Dieu Ha, Nguyen Tran Nam, Nguyen Van Phuc, Nguyen Trinh Thi and Nguyen Van Thuy.

Provoked by an infinite conundrum about the “More-Than-Human World,” ‘The Understories’ simulates a site-specific staging in which many elements/characters would be involved; they can appear suddenly or quietly withdraw, with unexpected movements and mise en scène: there is light and darkness; sound and silence; natural beings and man-made objects; remembrance of things past; the promise of things that begin.

These complex and multivalent “entities” are inextricably interwoven in the same “habitat.” This mise-en-scène constructs a loose representation of an ecosystem.

In three-week time, ‘The Understories’ will transform through four phases, each lasting four or five days. Over time, the performance of each artist, and their body of works would be gradually formed – adjusted/ sustained- dissipated as if regulated by a general principle comparable to the’ interspecies collaboration/competition’ practice in the natural ecosystem.

According to the organizers, the audience to this open studio may see, hear, and feel them – the “beings” of The Understories’ breathing, growing, staying alert to their surroundings, and responding to stimuli.

They do not only interact with each other (like with their neighboring species) but also react with internal factors of the exhibition space (their living conditions), as well as with the audience – external stimuli (or invaders of their environment); not to mention that they also respond to the flow of time.

The artists pose challenging questions to the audience following their fun experiences in the open studio: Is there such a thing as “Everything has a spirit” (in animalism theory) or “Everything is transient” (in Buddhism and Taoism)?

What’s to come next? A state of rest in the perfect & eternal equilibrium? Or a point of extinction signaling an upcoming phase of post-apocalyptic rebirth?

The art event is organized by Hanoi Doclab and Manzi with the support of the Prince Claus Foundation and will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday, until March 19, 2023.