Nothing screams Vietnam as much as 'Đi Bão' (English translation: 'Go Storming'). Đi Bão is a tradition that Vietnamese line streets in the city center until after 1 AM to blast airhorns and cruise around on motorbikes packed with football fans waving Vietnamese flags. No matter winning or losing, we will be there for sure. Loud, late-night street partying reveals a new sense of patriotism driven by mass media, communist rule and pride in a country long hobbled by war but starting to emerge.
'Đi Bão' is a digitised representation of multiple personality aspects zooming round city on motorbikes, showing their patriotism.
produced by: Ivy Vo
Inspiration & Concept
My inspiration is based on motorbikes as it is something that any Vietnamese has. Motorbikes in Vietnam are common and Vietnamese have woven them in into their daily lifestyle in the way westerners do their cars.
We hang out on our motorbikes, leisurely checking our cellphones, eating or reading morning newspaper; lounge on them like sofa chairs. We practice the art of balance by napping on them like beds. Going to the park at night is like going to a motorbike makeout point — couples park, share a cuddle and occasionally, spoon on their bikes. The motorbike has also become an emblem of Vietnamese hustle. Memes and photos of a dad, mum, and three babies being transported haphazardly on the bike show the reliance of the motorbike by the average Vietnamese. People carry fragile glass windows, ten-high stacks of boxes, or sharp metal beams, scooting on to their destination with no concern.
A photography series by Pham Thanh Long called "Fantastic Fours" (Những Bộ Tứ Siêu Đẳng) has perfectly captured this lifestyle in such a different point of view of something so casual and conventional.
The technique used is rather simple. To recreate that organised chaos in my piece, I used emojis as brush to mimic the flow of motorbikes. As Processing does not handle unicode and emojis very well, I used an array of PImages with emoji images. Randomise the index number so whenever mouse is pressed, we have a new brush.
A simple and stiff random walk
The question here is: WHY EMOJI? After a few attemps to create different version of brushes, I decided to go with emojis because it feels more lively. The repitition the same emojis gives more depth and the monospaced type (occupy the same amount of horizontal space) adds more 'structure' to the flow of people. The idea of representing a mass of people, each individual as emotional (smiley faces) and physical (hearts) beings, but amassed together by their use of technology and their cultural connections/transportation method (smoke from motorbikes), all moving in seemingly random but carefully coded patterns
Did you notice the contrast between fast and friction of going with and agaisnt the flow?
Further Development & Self Evaluation
After 3 months of this module, I can see myself spend a lot more time in the future to be super confident with using Class so I can create many objects at the same time, not the same object many times so the movement feels even more dynamic. I'd love to go back to the brushes I have created and work on them for a different feeling of the same approach.
Overall, the artworks didn't come out exactly the way I wanted, but I'm really happy with what I've made. It is quite a risk to choose emojis as the material but I love emojis and there's no shame about it. The process of solving algorithmic thinking, looking inspirations and references is long and hard, but it is worth it since I sticked with my idea, wrote and debugged the code all by myself (and the internet of course). The result feels very awarding. I am excited for my next pieces.
2020. Heavy Traffic. [Processing]. Available at: https://www.openprocessing.org/sketch/936301
Pham, L., 2018. Fantastic Fours. [image] Available at: https://www.documentary.vn/Projects/Fantastic-Four/