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No Gods, No Masters

19:30 min, HD video and 4-channel sound
Dimensions variable

The film begins with a slide of negative images set in Mo Cay, a rural district in the southern part of Vietnam.

Layered with footage of the landscape is the sound of the jungle and the echoes of Vietnamese funeral music. As the film goes on, one can hear the shrieks of a baby, and later, the cries and moans of a man, both sounds taken from the so called “Ghost Tape No. 10”, a haunting sound tape developed by PSYOP in 1969 as a psychological weapon. The film transits to images of a group of people sitting in a circle as they perform a private ritual in a private home.

The film then slips into colour, prayers of a woman can be heard as the footage switches back and forth between jungle and domestic scenes. The video was filmed in Mỏ Cày and on Núi Bà Đen (Black Virgin Mountain) where the ghost tape was broadcast during the Vietnamese-American war and Tieu’s own family home in Hai Duong.

By contrasting the deployment of spiritual ghosts as psychological warfare with domestic scenes of a family prayer, the work investigates the layered history of spiritual traditions and psychological manipulations and their usage as a means to convey contemporary desires today.

Camera: Sung Tieu
Edit: Hung Man & Sung Tieu
Sound: Alexis Chan & Sung Tieu