Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities Letterpress, woodblock, silkscreen, collage, pencil, ink, photocopies, coffee, paper, book-board, and silk
Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities
2015
Letterpress, woodblock, silkscreen, collage, pencil, ink, photocopies, coffee, paper, book-board, and silk
12" x 9" x 2"



Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities

Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities
by Tammy Nguyen
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


You are looking at a facsimile of a US military document interwoven with decorated vellum.

On a typically sweaty afternoon in 2010, a friend and I were driving around Ho Chi Minh City, when we stopped into a bookstore, since disappeared, called Bookazine, on Dong Khoi Street in District 1. The owner was an old fellow and his store sold only old things so it reeked of valuable history and hot dust. Among the piles of old maps, old stamps, and old black and white studio photographs, I found a copy of the 1969 US military document, a proposal to reconstruct the city of Danang on Vietnam’s central coast into a sister metropolis to Saigon. This exhaustively researched text, written under the assumption that the United States would win the war, emphasized the urgency to develop Danang because of Saigon’s status as a Primate City.

Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


Some pages in the original were missing.

This reproduction was printed on a Staples black and white photocopy machine, using 80 lbs. 11” x 17” Xerox Digital Elite Gloss paper, selected for its resemblance to the shiny coated paper used by the US military. The Xerox paper was then stained with Dunkin’ Donuts Dark Roast coffee to mimic the yellowing of the original.



Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


The original document was printed on 8.5” x 11” paper and was comb-bound. The reproduction also has comb-binding punches, but it was printed on 11” x 17” paper that was folded into folios, and then punched, so that it could be sewn together into a rounded-spine book.

Each folio of the reproduced document is separated by a folio of green vellum, silkscreened with blue-grey depictions of the red-shanked douc langur and plant cut-outs from comic books.


Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


The red-shanked douc langur is an endangered species of primate that lives on Son Tra Mountain in Danang City. There are only a few hundred of these primates left, but they have been in Vietnam forever through the thousand years of Chinese domination— through colonization by the French and Dutch, and through all the battles between America and the Vietnamese Communists.
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


Their arms and shins are orange-red, the hue of bricks. Their bodies are silvery grey, like slate chalkboards, with white streaks along their forearms and calves. Their beards are the same warm white. Their faces are blushed with the orange-red of an unripe persimmon. Their eyes are completely black, the blackest you have ever seen, the black of outer-space. Their eyes are glazed wet, like shiny tapioca pearls.
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


The collaged plants are cut in the shapes of local plants from Son Tra Mountain. They are cut from “The ‘Nam” comics— a Marvel series which ran from 1986-1993, in which each issue was a make-believe account from the Vietnam War told from the point of view of a fictional soldier. The stories are told through many dramatic shifts in perspective and through those shifts, you, the reader, become a participant in the war: soldier, journalist, spy, civilian. You fly in a helicopter over red swampy water and see how the jungle extends into infinity. You get up close with the wounded, and then an explosion splatters you onto the next page. Napalm drops from your plane into the unknown. There are eyes everywhere, looking up and down, in moments of rest and moments of fright.
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


This book, “Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities in Vietnam,” is sewn and bound with a rounded spine. The cover is wrapped with an Italian textile that was backed with Kozo paper. The end pages have been silkscreened and collaged in the same manner as the imagery on the green vellum, but on 60 lbs., text weight, Zerkall German Ingres Mint paper. The title page and this text is printed with polymer type using the fonts Bureau Grotesque, Pirate Incognito Italics, and SF Sports Night. The text on the cover was hot-stamped with holographic foil and uses the fonts Bureau Grotesque and SF Sports Night.
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


This book is an artist book and also a reference for the accompanying artist book entitled “Dana Ng in Danang City,” which takes the shape of a red-shanked douc langur. That book includes some excerpts from the 1969 US military document, but the stories were all written by me. The images were created through collage, watercolor, graphite, ink, colored pencil, and silkscreen. The text was printed on polymer type and the fonts used are Bureau Grotesque, SF Sports Night, and Pirate Incognito Italic. The text block paper is 60 lbs., text weight, Zerkall German Ingres Mint paper. The book is constructed by a drum-leaf structure and the book boards are laser-cut from 1/8” MDF. The fold-outs throughout the book are made from cardstock with other various papers. The whole book is wrapped in designer silks which have been backed with Kozo paper. The langur's eyes were hot-stamped with holographic foil.

These two artist books should always be viewed together.
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities


Two editions were made and all of the books were created at my studio in Westport, CT and the Center for Book Arts in New York City. I would not have been able to create them without Jesse van Buren and David Richter, who edited all of my text and listened to me develop this story from the beginning. I have also received so much generous support from the Center for Book Arts, The Pierrepont School, and Eleanor and Andrew Beer.

Today is February 9th, 2015. I am at home, writing in the New York.
Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities

Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities

Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities

Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities

Tammy Nguyen Research for the Prevention of Primate Cities