A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Tran, T. Kim-Trang

Other Names: Thi

Artist Website

"In 1991 I conceived of the Blindness Series as an eight-tape project to investigate physical blindness and its metaphors. Three reasons motivated me to produce this series: 1) a personal fear of vision loss; 2) blindness has been a historical concern for many visual artists; and 3) I wanted to explore the perceptual or conceptual process, which informs all that we do.

To date five out of eight tapes are completed and the projected completion date for the three remaining videos is 2001. This will conclude a nearly decade-long body of work. The blindness series has in many ways galvanized my working methods and thinking about experimental media. Stylistically each tape is different, while being multi-layered and associative. I weave in multiple layers of text, image, and sound to reflect a process whereby we perceive and acquire information. Daily we are awash in information coming from various sources: journalism, fiction, our dreams, etc. This is how information comes to us, and it is how I want to re-present information to the viewer.

The Blindness Series explores the following issues: cosmetic surgery, sex and blindness, surveillance, hysterical blindness, metaphor and word blindness. In 'operculum' (1993), I posed as a potential patient to gather video documentation of eight consultation sessions with cosmetic surgeons in the Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles areas, the world capital of cosmetic surgery. The tape focuses on the medical industry as represented by the surgeons who sell these procedures rather than the women and men who seek such surgery.

Histories provide the foundation for the hysterical blindness tape, 'ekleipsis' (1998). The subject is a group of hysterically blind people in the world. Western history of hysteria and the history of the Cambodian Civil War are interlaced with a case study account of a composite character made-up of life stories from the Cambodian women who developed psychosomatic blindness during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. This tape asserts that women should be seen as ascendant personalities whose psychosomatic blindness is evidence of agency. They have not only survived their traumas but have also used their experiences to reflect on life in positive ways."

T. Kim-Trang Tran, Artist Statement

Gallery of Selected Works