Huong Ngo and Hong-An Truong. The opposite of looking is not invisibility. The opposite of yellow is not gold. 2016
Huong Ngo: Huong: Hi, my name is Huong Ngo.
Hong-An Truong: And I'm Hong-An Truong.
Hong-An Truong: This is our work. It's called The opposite of looking is not invisibility. The opposite of yellow is not gold.
Huong Ngo: We were looking through our family photos and noticed the striking similarity and we started with the one pairing that is of our mothers next to the huge white American cars. And they're both dressed up in their Sunday best.
Hong-An Truong: There were these striking moments that just spoke to these archetypical experiences, that were echoed between our two families.
Huong Ngo: So we kind of based the project around that uncanny pairing, thinking about them as performing the identity as the successful refugee.
Hong-An Truong: In between there are laser-etched excerpts from congressional hearings that were conducted during the late 1970s, in which they were discussing the fate of Indochinese refugees post the Vietnam War.
Huong Ngo: We were most interested in the language of the documents, how they're talking about refugees in terms of their labor, what obstacles they might face being good laborers in the United States. So very much, they are concerned with these refugees as laboring bodies.
We started thinking about our mothers and our mothers as refugees and laborers during that time period in the '70s and '80s. And really wanting to address how their labor and their contribution is doubly invisible from being women and refugees. So there's this narrative of what it means to be an American that's spoken through the photos but then another one that is in the congressional documents.
Hong-An Truong: We really wanted you to be confronted with these photographs and to think about what your perception is of this Asian family. Do they seem like Americans? Do they seem like other? Do they seem like they belong?