GADAG ~ Threads of memories  

GADAG ~ Strands: Video and Multimedia Exhibition 

Alttext in German: A collage of four images with art and culture: a painting with a central figure and symbols, a woman looking at a presentation, another in conversation and a sculpture of a face. Alt text in English: A collage of four images featuring art and culture: A painting with a central figure and symbols, a woman observing a presentation, another in conversation, and a sculpture of a face.
(c) from the top left corner clockwise: Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide), Quyên Nguyen-Le, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai, Yukiko Nagakura


Here You can find information about the program parts/offers in DGS (German Sign Language) from GADAG. At the exhibition opening on March 24.03th. The artist talk will be interpreted by Oya Ataman in DGS.

Here You will find information about the accessibility of Oyoun's premises (arrival/departure, parking, access to the building, elevator, barrier-free toilet, early boarding, seats, retreat areas). If you have any questions, please contact our team at or +49 152 58986465.

On Saturdays, there are exhibition tours/mediations in various languages: English, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, German.

Seating options: chairs, benches, bean bags, seat cushions

Plain Language:

Video works are very important for the exhibition GADAG.

The video works were made by artists from different countries. 

All films are about stories of people who remember wars.

These stories have often been forgotten.

The exhibition also contains images, texts, banners and objects.

Further information about the video works can be found below.

Für den deutschen Text, ändere die Spracheneinstellung dieser Webseite.

GADAG ~ Strands: Video and Multimedia Exhibition

Oyoun Saal
Lucy-Lameck-Str. 32, 12049 Berlin

The video and multimedia exhibition featuring the artists Quyên Nguyen-Le, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai, Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) and Yukiko Nagakura constitutes the centerpiece of the project 가닥 GADAG. Each film centers different marginalized stories related to war memories, feeding into different political debates across countries and generations. While all these stories are given their own respectful space to be told and heard, they are brought together in one room, connecting them physically and symbolically.  

The video works are accompanied by installations that include objects, drawings, prints, texts and more, allowing the visitors to fully immerse themselves in the works, blurring the lines between the screen and the viewer.

The following texts are excerpts from the description of each exhibited artwork. You can find the entire work description in the exhibition space.

Plain Language:

“Nước (Water/Home)” (2016, 05:37')

“Nước (Water/Home)” is about a young person who is queer.

His mother fled to California, USA during the Vietnam War

The young person tries to understand what his mother went through.

The title of the film, “Nước,” is a Vietnamese word. 

It means both water and home.

“In Living Memory” (2022; 10:39')

The film “In Living Memory” is about the mother of filmmaker Quyên Nguyen-Le. 

She fled Vietnam. She now lives in California.

Until 2020, she owned the nail salon "Cathy's Nails".

The film shows how important the nail salon and the mother are for Quyên's family even today.

Language: English and Vietnamese spoken language with English subtitles

Trigger Warnings: Mentions of war and death, allusions to gun violence and chemical warfare.

Quyên Nguyen-Le, Nước (Water/Homeland), 2016

“Nước (Water/Homeland)” (2016, 05:37’) is an experimental narrative short film about a queer Vietnamese-American teenager who attempts to piece together and understand their mother's experiences as a Vietnam War boat refugee. The title of the film refers to the dual meaning of the word nước in Vietnamese, which means both water and homeland. 

"Nước" conjures up a historical reality that is reflected in the psyche and in affect, and presents a kind of magical realism that merges multiple timelines and traverses different places, spaces and bodies to create a stream of consciousness that flows seamlessly through multiple iterations of history. (Ly Thuy Nguyen, 'Queer Dis/inheritance and Refugee Futures', "Women's Studies Quarterly", 2020)

Quyên Nguyen-Le, In Living Memory, 2022

"In Living Memory" (2022; 10:39') tells the story of filmmaker Quyên Nguyen-Le's mother, who settled in California as a Vietnamese refugee. Here she opened a nail salon named after her child, which provided a living for the family until 2020. Quyên’s mother Angie, however, was forced to close the business with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In "In Living Memory", Quyên Nguyen-Le sets a monument for their mother's salon and recalls what it symbolizes for the family.

The film weaves documentary, performance, installation, sculpture, and an archive of home videos to present a living practice of memory between Cathy’s Nails’ entrepreneur, her child, and their chosen family in the aftermath of the salon's permanent closure.

In Living Memory of Nước (Water/Homeland) invites viewers into a space fragmented across memory and imagination. Based on Quyên Nguyen-Le's short films, this installation centers the refugee nail salon as a site connecting different but continuous histories.

Language: English spoken language and Vietnamese spoken language with English subtitles

Trigger Warnings: mentions of war and death, allusions to gun violence and chemical warfare

Alttext in German: A close-up of a blue sculpture of a male face in front of blurred flowers. Alt text in English: Close-up of a blue sculpture of a male face against a blurry floral background.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai

Plain Language:

"“Người ở lại (The Remained One)” (2019; 18:41′) 

In the film “Người ở lại (The Remained One)”, several women from North Vietnam talk about their memories of the Vietnam War.

These women did important things during the war and after. 

For example, they were community leaders, providers and nurses.

Their memories of the war often went unheard.

Language: Vietnamese spoken language with English subtitles

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai, Người ở lại (The Remained One), 2019

"Người ở lại (The Remained One)" (2019; 18:41') is a collection of the stories and recollections of women whose memories of the Vietnam War are often overlooked.

The film consists of multiple testimonies from Vietnamese women who "remained" in their homes, communities and workplaces during and after the Vietnam War, taking up the roles as community leaders, providers and caretakers. In villages in North Vietnam, the artist Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai interviewed a group of women whose husbands were soldiers in the Vietnam War.  

In the context of war memories, a patriarchal nation-state only recognizes those actors whose profiles and actions match nationalist and socio-economic values. While those who are recognized are placed in grandiose monuments, the stories and experiences of the marginalized are not given enough space and attention to be heard.

Language: Vietnamese spoken language with English subtitles

Alttext in German: A painted image with a central figure with outstretched arms and surrounded by smaller figures and suns, over a colored wheel on a yellow background. Alt text in English: A painted image featuring a central figure with outstretched arms surrounded by smaller figures and suns, above a colored wheel on a yellow background.
Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide)

Plain Language:

“Four Months, Four Million Light Years” (2020; 35 minutes)

“Four Months, Four Million Light Years” is a film about a special journey. 

It's about healing and shamanism.

It tells the story of adoptions between the Netherlands and Korea.

Besides the film there are many other things, for example: drawings and banners.

The work thanks people who have been separated from their family, their culture and their country.

Phonetic language: English, Dutch, Mongolian, Korean with English and Korean subtitles (English subtitles only appear where non-English languages ​​are spoken)

Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide), Four Months, Four Million Light Years, 2020.

“Four Months, Four Million Light Years” (2020; 35’) is a shamanic healing journey through space and time. This immersive film installation addresses the colonial narratives behind transnational and transracial adoption, specifically the historical relations between The Netherlands and Korea.  

The colonial print Een Schaman ofte Duyvel-Priester [Shaman or Devil’s Priest from the Tungus, 1692] by Dutchman Nicolaes Witsen acts as a pivotal point for a spiritual journey through time. This print is the first Western depiction of a shaman. It marks the beginning of a long history of racialised and infantilising descriptions of Asian people by white Europeans and the violent eradiation of shamanistic cultures by missionaries.

In the Netherlands alone around 40.000 people have been adopted from the Global South, often through child trafficking and with falsified documents. The four months of the title refer to a law that required a minimum stay of four months in a Korean orphanage in order to become adoptable by law for the lucrative transracial adoption industry. This industry started to flourish after the Korean War and continues to live off the same colonial imagery from 300 years ago.  

Textile, paper text banners, and drawings surround a video projection. Shamanic poems, songs and visions invoke the ancestors for support. The work is an homage to those who have been cut off from their mothers, fathers, family, ancestors, land, culture, and spirits.  

On 8 February 2021 the Dutch government has decided to end transnational adoptions with Korea and other countries, because of the systemic abuse, trafficking, and fraud inherent to them. The Dutch government has offered apologies to men and women with an adoption past. In 2022 The Government of South Korea has installed a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to investigate the human rights violations in relation to the Korean adoption industry.

Language: English, Dutch, Mongolian, Korean spoken language
Subtitles: English and Korean subtitles (English subtitles can only be seen where non-English languages ​​are spoken)

Credits: Artist, director, watercolors, camera, editing, text, drumming, voice over, sound: Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) | Composing songs, singing: Yan Vandenbroucke | Korean percussion: Leslie Maes | Korean chanting: Jungrak Choi | Sound: Céline Gillain | Costumes: Lila John | Color grading: Paul Millot | Clinical psychologist: Miranda Ntirandekura Aerts | Special thanks to the Darghad shamans: Aminaa, Kyugagaa, Eden-Ochi, Umbaan, Saintsetseg and Korean mudang Jen Bosalnim | Supported by: The Mondriaan Foundation, GRIMONSTER residence, Korean Cultural Center of Brussels, Embassy of the Netherlands | Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, 11th Berlin Biennale

Alttext in German: A woman speaks and a text about inequality and women who should stand up for society appears. Alt text in English: A woman speaking with text about inequality and women being called to speak out for society overlaid.
Yukiko Nagakura

Plain Language:

In the film “I have a long journey before me” Yukiko Nagakura speaks to 7 women from Fukushima, Japan.

In 2011 there was a nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

Many people think that women can no longer have children because of the disaster.

They are therefore treated badly.

The women talk about their experiences of the disaster. 

Language: Japanese spoken language with English subtitles

Yukiko Nagakura, I have a long journey before me, 2016 

“I have a long journey before me” (2016; 21:18’) is a road movie which presents the fieldwork Yukiko Nagakura carried out in Fukushima, Japan, during April 2016. Accompanied by her spouse, she interviewed seven women who experienced the Fukushima disaster in 2011, inviting them to reflect on its implications and consequences. In the aftermath of the nuclear disaster, women have become a target of discrimination based on the rumor that they cannot bear healthy children anymore.

On the basis of these interviews and new observations, the artist and her spouse discuss their perspectives, expectations and their future, both as a family and as Japanese citizens.  

In addition to the final movie, more extensive individual interviews with Ms. Goto, Ms. Sahara, Mis. Ishida, and Karigome will be on view. There will be a diagram depicting different oppressive mechanisms intersecting with each other in the process of modernisation, created by the artist.

Language: Japanese spoken language with English subtitles

Trigger Warning: This content may contain material that could be distressing or triggering for some individuals. Topics discussed may include abortion, radiation exposure, the idea of eugenics, and domestic violence.