(Treviso, Italy, 1975)
Gianpaolo Arena’s photobook ‘A Folktale From Vietnam: Speeding Motorcycles and Roasted Lemongrass’ is the result of the numerous visits to Vietnam over a period of eight years. Arena, a photographer, researcher and writer interested in anthropized spaces and their environmental and social relations, arranges his photographic fragments of the country – architectural observations, portraits, snapshots and photographic records of encounters – into a multi-faceted, poetic visual study. He is less interested in making a documentary dissection of Vietnam and its culture than in discovering and representing the country. His images seek to capture the voices, music and sounds of the landscape and life in Vietnam. The cacophony produced by the low hum of wheels on the roads, the irregular but incessant sputtering of mopeds, work on construction sites and such individual sources of noise as car horns, radio speakers, the voices of inhabitants and the singing of birds in cages hung from buildings.