Sai Gon Taxi Girl Chess
I developed this project for my intermediate Diploma at the University of the Arts Berlin / Information Design under Prof. Erik Spiekermann. It translates biological swarm theories and Vietnamese road traffic. Prostitutes are an inherent part of Saigon street traffic and the heavy traffic naturally flows around them. We asked some of those prostitutes to perform a special choreography and therefore ‘creatively’ intervene within the urban space. Our idea was to manipulate the stream of traffic and create bulb- exposed images.
In his surprisingly fluent English the taxi driver told me the story of a heave haulage carrying a huge boat threw the city. Eventually the truck broke down in the middle of the road. Only two days later a family occupied the boat as their new home – right in the middle of a crossroads. The traffic stream carved it’s way right around the obstacle. I was fascinated by this swarming behavior of Saigon’s traffic and had to explore it through this project and this peculiar performance: Saigon Taxi Girl Chess.
At one point I mostly always traveled alone. This came form a belief that I could grasp more of the different cultures I experienced and meet new people. One of these people was Sam, he helped me sett up the performance and video taped the entire project: Our ideas and concerns about the concept, the problems of the invading sex tourism as well as the basic challenges organizing it helped me to understand this part of the world and this culture.
Behavior and Intelligence
„A single ant or bee may not seem so smart, but as a colony there is no denying their intelligence. The study of swarm intelligence has provided insights that can help humans manage complex systems from truck routes to military robots.” – National Geographic. The basic principle behind the system is to keep the slow and weak insulated in the centre, while fast and strong members of the swarm protect the whole from the outside.
We bought the prototypical Vietnamese motorcycle for our location scouting and casting. It was important for us to understand and explore the certain dynamics of the traffic system. The rules are fairly simple, everybody concentrates on the movements of the one driver in front. Or in other words: Never look behind you.