Three-channel video, 15’45”

Courtesy of the artist

Mute Grain is a personal interpretation of the littlediscussed 1945 famine in Vietnam, which took place during the Japanese occupation of French Indochina (1940-1945). This famine is believed to have caused the deaths of more than two million people living in the Red River Delta region of North Vietnam.

Mute Grain weaves oral histories (from research undertaken by the historian Van Tao, who donated his recordings to the Vietnam National Museum of History in Hanoi) with magical elements borrowed from Vietnamese folk tales and chronicles. Told from the perspective of two adolescents, the work is expressed in a lyrical language inspired by Japanese post-war writer Yasunari Kawabata’s Palm-of-the-Hand Stories.

The narrative of Mute Grain relays the story of the unjusti fed death of a young woman named August, who is unable to move on to the next life and thus becomes a hungry ghost. She retains her human form, appearing between layers of time and space, across silk screens and cinematic frames with her brother, March, who foats anxiously, searching for her. This story of March and August re fects the poorest months of the lunar calendar, a fragile time when farmers once had to borrow money and fnd additional jobs to sustain themselves


Written by the artist and edited by Zoe Butt.

Location Map

Kathmandu Triennale 2077 was made possible by the generous support of various Sponsors and Partners
Copyright © 2024. Kathmandu Triennale
Designed & Developed by: Curves n' Colors | Visual identity by: Wkshps