The xich lo (cyclo) is as ubiquitous in Vietnam as the tuk tuk is in Thailand, but completely man-powered: The driver peddles the vehicle behind the comfortably seated passenger. It is currently an important mode of transportation on Vietnam's streets, as well as a livelihood for countless drivers, and yet the Vietnamese government has begun an aggressive campaign to eliminate this pollutionless mode of transport. This will leave countless cyclo drivers without a means of making a living.

To focus on this issue and suggest an alternative future for the cyclo and its drivers, Vietnamese artist Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba has created a "Cyclo Showroom" installation titled "Xich Lo 2001 -- The Making of Alternative History" at Mizuma Art Gallery. A simulacra of a car showroom, Nguyen-Hatsushiba displays two new cyclo prototypes that he designed, complete with advertising copy and posters on the wall to promote the new "product," which, sadly, will never be manufactured as under the new restrictions the production of new cyclos has been prohibited.

As Vietnam's economy has developed car traffic has also increased, with the slower-moving cyclos being blamed for causing traffic jams. Some streets in the cities have signs banning the entry of cyclos, and once a cyclo's license has expired it cannot be renewed (no new licenses are being issued). Needless to say it is illegal to drive a cyclo without a license, so its days certainly appear to be numbered.