Lost inside the “brain” of Ho Chi Minh

In 2015 I visited Hanoi and the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Because I had visited Beijing and the mausoleum of Mao, I had an idea of what to expect. The procedure in Ho Chi Minh mausoleum was indeed set in a very similar setting. This review, however, will not focus on the mausoleum, but instead on the enormous building located next to it. Namely, a museum dedicated to Ho Chi Minh in its entirety. The building in its grandiosity did not remind me of any museum I had visited before, and deviated from all conceptions I had of what a museum should look like. The spatial experience inside made me challenge my conception of “normal” and enter a socially controlled normalization of an “other” space I wasn’t accustomed to. Reflecting on Edward Soja’s and Michel Foucault’s take on museums as heterotopias (spaces that contain several different layers of spaces and slices of time), I also found that I had arrived at a “crossroads of space and time”. Continue reading “Lost inside the “brain” of Ho Chi Minh”