Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s short film The Island is shot entirely on Pulau Bidong, an island off the coast of Malaysia that became the largest and longest-operating refugee camp after the Vietnam War. The artist and his family were some of the 250,000 people who inhabited the tiny island between 1978 and 1991; it was once one of the most densely populated places in the world. After the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shuttered the camp in 1991, Pulau Bidong became overgrown by jungle, filled with crumbling monuments and relics.
Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s film takes place in a dystopian future in which the last man on earth—having escaped forced repatriation to Vietnam—finds a United Nations scientist who has washed ashore after the world’s last nuclear battle. By weaving together footage from Pulau Bidong’s past with a narrative set in its future, Nguyen questions the individual’s relationship to history, trauma, nationhood, and displacement.
This screening will present The Island in its entirety, with an introduction by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Curator.