The Sky Is Not Sacred is a single channel video created in collaboration with artist Hồng-Ân Trương.
In the video, footage taken from war planes in the sky during the American military campaign in Việt Nam chronicles the perspectives of fighter pilots, and is juxtaposed with a narrative by John Constable, the 19th century British painter whose keen observations of the sky and clouds established a distinct landscape painting practice. Constable’s text professes an authentic reverence to the sky, suggesting the idealization of nature and science as an aesthetic epistemology. Together, image and text concede in admiration and awe, to the sky’s stature as a sublime, horrifying space. The Sky Is Not Sacred suggests the tension between the aesthetic and the political, and asserts the way in which Western ideologies have violently impacted the Vietnamese landscape, and more broadly, how they have shaped our cultural and emotional relationship to landscape as an imaginary space.
The Sky Is Not Sacred
Single channel digital video with sound