Esther Johnson’s Liberation Radio on air again in Hanoi
Esther Johnson, Professor in Film and Media Arts has collaborated with historian and BBC broadcaster Matthew Sweet, and Hanoi-based sound artist Nhung Nguyễn, to create a new audio-visual installation titled Liberation Radio. Johnson viewed and selected from 400+ public domain archive films to edit the video element of the installation.
Liberation Radio centres around the story of a group of American military deserters who in 1968 went to the North Vietnamese mission in Stockholm with one object in mind – to join the army they had been drafted to fight. Instead, they were recruited for the propaganda war – and use magnetic tape, pop music and political rhetoric to persuade other American servicemen to desert. Their recordings were transported from Sweden to Vietnam by diplomatic bag, and broadcast from transmitters on the rooftops of Hanoi, and revolutionary bases in the countryside. From 28 May, the work being displayed at Manzi Exhibition Space, Hanoi’s renowned home for contemporary art, will revive that circuit of communication.
Liberation Radio will connect exhibition visitors to this unexplored story from the Vietnamese past. With contributions from some of the surviving American deserters, Swedish anti-war activists and Vietnamese journalists of the period, visitors to Manzi will hear the voice of Liberation Radio speak once again.
The exhibition is supported by FAMLAB (Film, Archives and Music Lab) Fund, as part of the British Council’s Heritage of Future Past project in Viet Nam.