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Ren Nguyen
Honors, 3D4M

Keeping House (It is a long buzz).pdf

Like many, I have learned to like my variables isolated (or to assume that they already are). To isolate a variable requires some grooming, some taking-stock, some situating. These drag & drop gestures and I perform one another, folding layers of mediation into my Sunday load of laundry.

“Archival” memory exists as documents, maps, literary texts, letters, archaeological remains, bones, videos, films, CDs, all those items supposedly resistant to change […] Archival memory works across distance, over time and space…[1]

In one morning haze, I picture the notion of a fixed archive, perched on the tip of a needle, wagging like a finger.

The repertoire, on the other hand, enacts embodied memory: performances, gestures, orality, movement, dance, singing—in short, all those acts usually thought of as ephemeral, nonreproducible knowledge […] The repertoire both keeps and transforms choreographies of meaning.[2]

Lately, a heightened awareness of body, with its potential to saturate a space: I snip, shed, shield, collect. In some months’ time, my wrists have come to know each doorknob in this house intimately.

The archive and the repertoire have always been important sources of information, both exceeding the limitations of the other […] They usually work in tandem and they work alongside other systems of transmission—the digital and the visual, to name two.[3]

Throughout the day I operate along any given structure of desire, circling along the perimeter of the boundary and fingering the question. Every so often: a glitch, revealing an underlying structure.

You can scan documents, photos, and other paper types, and send them to a variety of destinations, such as a computer or an email recipient. When scanning documents with the HP printer software, you can scan to a format that can be searched and edited.[4]

At night, I wipe some hours away like a stray eyelash, keep the eyelash.

[1] Taylor, Diana. “Acts of Transfer.” The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas. Duke University Press, 2007, pp. 19-21.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Scan.” HP ENVY 5660 e-All-in-One series User Manual. pp 44.


Ren Nguyen was born in Orange, California, to Nguyễn Hùng and Nguyễn thị Tịnh-Trang. Hùng emigrated from Vietnam to England in 1978 and from England to the United States in 1980. Tịnh-Trang immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 1975. Ren is the youngest of four and is the only child in the family without a Vietnamese name on their birth certificate. Ren grew up in Tustin, California, before moving to Seattle in 2016.