SGN (2019 - present)

This project is an investigation in Ho Chi Minh City on the current state of the steel lattice towers that were erected by the French colonists as utility poles during the early twentieth century to facilitate the economic development of the Indochinese Union.  Despite the passage of time and tumultuous history experienced in this region over the twentieth century, these lattice towers endured as a consistent presence in the built environment.  The major developments within Vietnamese society in recent decades have also led to the lattice towers becoming extraordinary visual sights. The amount of cables supported by the lattice towers increased to the point where it far exceeds the original capacity of their design and transformed each one into a unique, sculpture-like object. The overwhelming amount of cables that accumulated on each steel lattice tower was the product of the rapid socioeconomic transformation Vietnam has experienced since reforms were initiated in 1986 with Đổi Mới (Renovation).  This project examines these overlooked remnants of French colonialism in the contemporary landscape of Ho Chi Minh City as structures that witnessed the historical trajectory of the region as it evolved from one of the centers of the French colonial empire in Southeast Asia to the economic engine of an independent and developing nation attempting to merge socialism with market economy.  At this moment, these lattice towers and innumerable cables they support are also being removed as part of the modernization of the city’s landscape for the twenty-first century.   This recent tide of urban redevelopment and the decision to start removing from sight what is viewed as blight has only increased my sense of urgency to document these structures before they permanently disappear from the built environment.  With Vietnamese society in midst of major changes, the photographs reflect on the past accumulated on these lattice towers and considers the future that is about to arrive in the landscape after they disappear.

Using Format