amaurosis is a documentary video about Dat Duc Nguyen, a classical guitarist living in the community of Little Saigon in Orange County, California. Dat was a “triple outcast:” blind, Amerasian, and an impoverished orphan. His American father left Vietnam in 1973, and his mother died in 1975, leaving him with his half sister. Living on the streets of Saigon, they sold lottery tickets for food money. At the age of 12, Dat met a classical music teacher who was also blind and who supported Dat and his half sister while teaching him to read Braille. When he was 18, Dat heard Segovia played for the first time on his teacher’s radio and was hooked on classical guitar. Several years later, when he learned that Amerasian children could immigrate to the U.S. under a new program, Dat immigrated to the United States to begin a new life. Dat needed little accommodation for his blindness in learning classical guitar; he is able to play almost anything note for note after hearing it only once.
T. Kim-Trang Tran
Los Angeles, CA
Kim-Trang Tran was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. in 1975. She received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and has been producing experimental videos since the early 1990’s. Her work has been exhibited internationally. In 1999, Tran presented her Blindness Series in a solo screening at the Museum of Modern Art. Her videos were included in the Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art and were featured at the 46th Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Tran was nominated for a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, and has received a Rockefeller Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship, and a California Community Foundation Art Fellowship. Tran has also collaborated with Karl Mihail on a project known as Gene Genies Worldwide. Their conceptual and public artworks on genetic engineering have exhibited at the Ars Electronica Festival in Austria, Exit Art, and elsewhere in the U.S. She is an assistant professor in media studies at Scripps College and is an active independent curator of media and visual arts.