Bigmouth Strikes Again (Ketengus Typus)

As a part of the UNESCO back project, Manufacturing Creativity, that seeks to create a strategic continuum between two parts of society. It seeks to increase the cultural capability and opportunities for artists and designers in a wider field of environments, while at the same time demonstrating how industry can meet its social and environmental responsibility by enabling, supporting valuing of human and material resources.

Streitmatter-Tran was paired with the HCMC-based company, TRIAC Composites, a designer and manufacturer of composites that span marine and rail industries. After a couple of initial site visits, the artist reserved a section of a boat hull plug for the sculpture that would become Bigmouth Strikes Again. Having worked with marine vessels before, the artist has always been interested in the biomimicry (how objects are often inspired by forms found in the natural world). This contemporary design of the boat hull has three sides as opposed to the two often found in Vietnamese fishing vessels and reminded the artist of a large smile and his earlier research into the diverse masks in Indonesia.

Overlaying a simplified mask design inspired by those found in Bali, the mask was finally carved out of the boat hull. The title of the work comes directly from The Smiths song, Bigmouth Strikes Again from their album, The Queen is Dead. On one hand refers to the current era of where “speak softly while carrying a big stick” has been inverted, and the “big mouth” is the preferred mode of communication - from Trump to Duerte. It also refers to the local species of big mouth sea catfish (Ketengus Typus) found in Southeast Asia.

Credits: Thank you to Triac Composites for being our host and to Đỗ Hoàng Tuấn Anh and Chang Tran for being assistants on this project.


Bigmouth Strikes Again (Ketengus Typus) (2018)
Sculpture. Carved Boat Hull (MDF, fiberglass, composite materials), toilet seat molds, acrylic paint. Ho Chi Minh City Museum. HCMC, Vietnam)

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