Mobile Library - Thư Viện Di Động AAA


Please see here for more info and images ....


Please see here for more info and images ....



Rip up Asia Art Archive mobile library collection in Vietnam

The Experiment [pdf format]


Asia Art Archive (AAA) is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to documenting the recent history of contemporary art in Asia within an international context. In an effort to offset the limitation of its physical location in Hong Kong, Open Edit brings a selection of material from AAA’s collection to different cities in Asia, inviting people to read and interact with it in unconventional ways.

Approximately 180 items — including monographs, exhibition catalogues, reference books, and magazines, most of which relate conceptually to mobility, travelling, exchange, interaction, participation, and communication — form the Mobile Library collection. In addition to reading the books, the public is encouraged to ‘edit’ them by writing, drawing, highlighting, adhering notes and pictures, and even tearing pages out of them. Through these actions, people are reinterpreting the material, as well as engaging in a dialogue amongst themselves. The material, as the platform for communication, will eventually become a document of the Open Edit process.

Open Edit creates an experimental sphere for public participation in the discourse of contemporary art in Asia. Its process of inclusion challenges the canon established by the traditional intent of the archive—material conservation—and invites multiple new perspectives and meanings.

The first stage of the Open Edit tour—a collaborative effort of AAA, Sàn Art, and Hong Kong artist Jaffa Lam—will be on view at Sàn Art between 24 February and 9 April 2011.


Open Edit is the first archive project of its kind to come to Vietnam. These books showcase some of the region’s most dynamic artistic talent today, revealing the vibrancy of established and emerging practitioners working in painting, installation, printmaking, performance, drawing, sculpture, video and much more. To broaden engagement with the material in Open Edit: Mobile Library beyond the audiences visiting our premises, Sàn Art has worked with local artists and educational organisations to create a series of programmes. We hope that in displaying the results of these programmes, Sàn Art will encourage general visitors to contribute to the ‘editing’ of the books in the collection. This project is a fantastic opportunity for the local artistic community to be inspired by the history of contemporary art, which is rarely found in libraries in Vietnam. Sàn Art is honored to be the host institution and co-organizer of this pilot project and we look forward to our contribution being seen in other cities across Asia.

Zoe Butt
Co-Director and Curator, Sàn Art


Little Earthquakes @ Sàn Art
24 Feb – 9 Apr
Artworks produced in-situ, inspired by the concept of ‘Open Edit’ by artists Lena Bùi and Trần Minh Đức.

Books set sail @ Sàn Art
24 Feb – 7 Apr (every Thursday 6.30pm)

Local artists who have ‘edited’ books from the ‘Open Edit’ collection with text, drawing, and commentary share their processes and the sources of their inspiration.
See here for more info and images...

24 February
@ 6:30 PM
3 March
@ 6:30PM
10 March
@ 6:30 PM
17 March
@ 6:30 PM
24 March
@ 6:30 PM
  • Books set sail with: Jason Picard
31 March
@ 6:30 PM
7 April
@ 6:30 PM

Closing party! @ Sàn Art
9 Apr at 6.00pm
Everyone is invited to come and celebrate the creative contributions by all participants!


Under/ cover
dia/projects investigates the turbulent relationship between libraries/archives and creative production with students from RMIT University Vietnam, facilitated by artists Richard Streitmatter-Tran (Vietnam) and Mervin Espina (The Philippines).

Taking painting for a walk
Educational programmes with students of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University, facilitated by Zoe Butt.


The Mobile Library containers were designed to treat the books they hold as seeds in a metaphorical plant. Made of recycled umbrella fabric and rice bags, the containers are flexible, light, waterproof, and easily modified to suit the needs of different venues. The containers also facilitate interactivity; people are invited to sit on some of the configurations and to insert paper messages into slots to be read by people at future Mobile Library venues.

The Mobile Library containers are the third piece in Jaffa’s ongoing project ‘Micro Economy’, begun in 2009, in which she employs sewers from the Hong Kong Women Workers' Association who lost their sewing jobs as Hong Kong’s economy shifted from that of a manufacturing to a service industry. Her hope is to call attention to the individuals affected by larger economic changes and to honour the human dignity inherent in every profession.

Presented by

AAA is a community effort that has grown from a single bookshelf to more than 32,000 items. It is now one of the most comprehensive collections of research materials in the field and it continues to grow through a systematic programme of research and information gathering. More than a static repository of material waiting to be discovered, AAA actively organises public and educational programmes for multiple audiences. The collection is accessible free of charge from AAA’s physical space and searchable from anywhere in the world via its online catalogue.


Sàn Art is Vietnam’s most active, independent, artist-initiated, contemporary art space and reading room, based in Ho Chi Minh City. Established in 2007, sponsored in part by the Vietnam Foundation for the Arts, Sàn Art (‘sàn’ meaning ‘platform’) is dedicated to the exchange and cultivation of contemporary art in Vietnam. Supporting the country’s thriving artist community, Sàn Art provides exhibition space and educational programs, facilitating a meeting place for local and international creative engagement and exchange.


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