Vacant Room: 
3 Year Residency

James Nguyen,  Watch This Space

James Nguyen, Watch This Space

Vacant Room, PACT’s annual residency program, offers artists space and support to test new ideas. Vacant Room is not a rehearsal space, but rather a program for creative development of an idea-driven investigation. It is about the artistic process: creating a space to let an idea germinate and open up new avenues of creative practice through experimentation and critical feedback.

3 Year Vacant Room Resident 2016 – 2018
James Nguyen

James Nguyen is the inaugural Vacant Room 3 Year Resident artists at PACT. He will work for three weeks of the year between 2016 – 2018, with a weekly salary and a professional mentor. The first two years will focus on creative development and the 3rd year will feature the premiere of a new work at PACT or with a peer company.

The Project

For his Vacant Room project, James will develop is to work with his uncle Cong Ai Nguyen to create series of non-fiction plays and performances around his observations as an itinerant fruit picker in country Victoria. He works picking grapes and stone fruits around Lake Boga. James sees him sporadically when he returns to the city however he knows very little about his life and adventures in the country and the many characters that compel him to leave and stay uncontactable for months on end.
James will begin the project by sending him an audio recording device to keep a daily record of thoughts and reflections; akin to an audio diary. James will visit and follow his uncle throughout the three years to document and collaborate on developing performance interventions as he moves through the country. Although Cong Ai Nguyen’s English is limited, and his experience is by no means unique, his willful choice to avoid the city means that he has developed a migrant’s connection to country and space that is both contradictory and connected, something James seeks to reconcile myself. This work will push the boundaries of documentary through performance, film and verbatim text.

Cong Ai Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1968, Cong arrived in Australia in 1994, divorced his citizenship bride and went into Western NSW and Victoria to travel and do fruit picking. He is willing to take part in the project so long as he doesn’t have to commit to unnecessary travel away from his seasonal work.

The third year of PACT's Vacant Room: 3 Year Residency is presented in association with Next Wave Festival.


View James Nguyen's artist profile.