Everyman 1.1

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Description: Most footpaths in central Hanoi served as sites to display and sell food and goods.  Colourful toys and souvenirs sat next to domestic wares and paint supplies, or cafe seating was installed beside metal workshops and mannequins dressed in the latest fashions.  Merchandise would often spill out of store fronts onto the street, so that as a pedestrian, you necessarily had to negotiate between the goods and motorbikes in order to reach your destination.  This consumptive display seemed in opposition to the Confucius texts that the Action Researcher/Performer was reading and collecting from bookshops in Hanoi that identified intangible means of obtaining happiness.  The Action Researcher/Performer chose two iconic quotes by Confucius that related to her own experience in Hanoi: 'And remember, no matter where you go, there you are' and 'It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop'.  These quotes were then translated into French and Vietnamese (the two main languages spoken in Hanoi) and stencilled onto long strips of cardboard.  Also of note, was how many maps of Vietnam (always depicted in a bright red colour) were displayed in establishments throughout Hanoi.  The Action Researcher/Performer created her own version of one of these maps made out of card and contact.  A mannequin of a child was then purchased and placed in a local park holding the red map in its hands.  Extending from the base of the mannequin the stenciled quotes were arranged in various configurations.  Many passers-by stopped to read the texts and a number of locals were encouraged to talk about their own experience of living in Hanoi.  These conversations provided great insight into the culture, religious beliefs, political perspectives, social values and historical sensitivities of the Hanoi community. 

© Astra Howard 2014