The Bridge: Dao Nguyen

Home  /  All  /  Current Page

Freedom Play

The Bridge
643 W. 31st St.
2/12 at 8pm: Elise Cowin and Dao Nguyen at The Bridge
2/13 at 8pm: Elise Cowin and Dao Nguyen at The Bridge

Suggested donation $10


Dao Nguyen is a Chicago-based artist. She choreographs thought experiments, play apparatuses, obstacle courses, and rituals for transformation. A score becomes a map is a situation where objects, actions, and bodies encounter philosophical questions concerning communication, connection, and ontology. Her name is a homophone for the Vietnamese word for knife. She is the compact, red Leatherman multi-tool your aunt gave you for Christmas ten years ago. On sale at Marshall’s. Versatility and hidden strength in a small package at a discount. Stealthy enough to pass through security checkpoints on three continents on four separate occasions. She can cut, screw, file, saw, and open your beer. Bonus applications include carving miniature graphite figurines, picking locks, and sculpting tofu.

She has exhibited and performed in backyards, bathrooms, stairwells, highways, and gallery spaces, including Sector 2337, Defibrillator, the MCA, Hyde Park Art Center, Sullivan Galleries, Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, Brea Art Gallery, The Foundry Arts Centre, and Irvine Fine Arts Center. She received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was an Artist-in-Residence at ACRE and Elsewhere: A Living Museum.


Freedom Play is a five act play on freedom. Conflicts and contradictions arise in struggles for freedom and self-definition. I consider my own history of displacement as a refugee and my search for freedom, both personal and political, to move through and beyond the restrictions of human-constructed borders—of nation states, identities, and ontologies. Freedom Play approaches philosophy through movement, song, and text.  Displacement becomes a method to subvert and invert understandings of body and being, agency and control.

Image credit:
Bibliologarrhythmia 2014
photos by Arjuna Capulong
Six Acts of Witness 2015
(in collaboration with Jane Jerardi)
photos by Slaveya Minkova and myself

  • Details
  • Gallery
  • Tags
  • More