Guide to the Binh Danh photographs from the Pulau Bidong Series MS.SEA.040

Finding aid prepared by Joanna Lamb
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
The UCI Libraries
P.O. Box 19557
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California, 92623-9557
© 2010

Title: Binh Danh photographs from the Pulau Bidong series
Collection number: MS.SEA.040
Contributing Institution: University of California, Irvine. Libraries. Special Collections and Archives.
Irvine, California 92623-9557
Language of Material: English.
Physical Description: 0.8 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 2003-2009
Abstract: The collection comprises seventeen black and white photographs taken in 2002 by Binh Danh during a visit to Pulua Bidong, an abandoned island off the coast of Malaysia, where Dahn's family lived as refugees before immigrating to the United Sates.
Creator: Danh, Binh


The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Preferred Citation

Binh Danh photographs from the Pulau Bidong series. MS-SEA040. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Binh Danh, 2010.

Processing History

Processed by Joanna Lamb, 2010.

Historical Background

Binh Danh was born in Vietnam in 1977 and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was two years old. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from San Jose State University in 2002 before becoming one of the youngest artists ever invited to the Stanford University Master of Fine Arts program. Since completing his MFA at Stanford in 2004, Dahn's work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions and has been added to numerous permanent collections including those at the Corcoran Art Gallery, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the deYoung Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Harry Ransom Center.
Dahn pioneered the chlorophyll print process which produces photographic style prints on organic matter such as leaves and grass. He uses this process to explore history, memory, interconnectedness, and death and to emphasize his notions of permanence and transformation. Through his work, Danh attempts to understand the residual effects of war on human memory and environmental landscapes. Dahn's chlorophyll process is the tangible result of his personal belief in elemental transmigration - the decomposition and composition of matter into other forms - and the philosophy that there is no death, only transformation. He often uses haunting found images created during the Vietnam War to investigate and reconstruct memories of events that have occurred before his time, but have left profound imprints on his personal experience.
In 2002 Danh and his mother visited Pulua Bidong, a small abandoned Island off the coast of Malaysia, where Danh's family once lived in a Vietnamese refugee camp. Danh photographed the island during his visit and collected abandoned ephemera scattered throughout the remaining island's buildings. The Pulau Bidong Series includes chlorophyll prints of images from found ephemera and photographs taken on the island.

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The collection comprises seventeen 11"x14" black and white photographs taken in 2002 by Binh Danh, a Vietnamese American immigrant, during a visit to Pulau Bidong, an abandoned island off the coast of Malaysia where Danh's family lived as refugees before immigrating to the United States. The Pulau Bidong series includes images from the island that represent physical transformation through decay and environmental exposure in order to convey the metaphor that histories dissolve into their environments. In addition to the photographic prints included in this collection, the series incorporates chlorophyll prints of images from found ephemera on the island. This collection also includes three exhibition catalogs from other projects the artist has completed.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically by format.


The collection is open for research.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Danh, Binh
Pulua Bidong (Refugee camp : Malaysia).
Photographic prints -- 21st century.
Photographic prints -- Southeast Asia -- Exhibition catalogs
Refugee camps -- Southeast Asia -- Photographs.
Refugees -- Southeast Asia -- History -- Sources
Vietnamese American artists

Box 1, Folder 1

Exhibition catalogs, 2006-2009

Box 1, Folder 2-4

Photographs, 2003

General Physical Description note: 17 11'x14' silver gelatin prints