Created by a collaborative team — Phunam, Matt Lucero, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen — based in both Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles, this piece envisions a contest between the AK-47 and the M16 that unpacks the historical era of the Cold War and the resulting ruinous violence of the Vietnam War in a sculptural freeze-frame of colliding bullets. The opposing weapons are iconic: the cheap, mass-produced, and often faulty AK-47 carried by Soviet troops and countless guerrilla insurgents worldwide versus the expensive and precise American M16. The ballistics gel that lodges the impact of the two bullets was originally designed to mimic the density of human and animal flesh in weapons testing, and to simulate the effects of bullet wounds. Accompanying the gel block is a slow-motion video recording the moment of impact, using a camera that captures 100,000 frames per second to reveal what is invisible to the human eye.
- Installation Views
The artists of the Propeller Group (Phunam, Matt Lucero, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen) joined forces in order to capitalize on the wider range of ideas and resources a collective has at its disposal. Working in both Los Angeles and Ho Chi Minh City, the group collaborates with a broad network of fellow artists in a diverse array of media. Its work is in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.