Friday 18 March 2022 at Ambika P3, 19:00 GMT
Animistic Apparatus is a curatorial project exploring affinities between contemporary artists’ moving image and animistic practices, based on research by May Adadol Ingawanij who co-curates its various exhibitions with Julian Ross. The project grew from May’s experience of researching ritual uses of itinerant film projection around Thailand and neighbouring territories since the Cold War period.
We have presented Animistic Apparatus at Berwick Film and Media Art Festival (BFMAF) and other venues. At BFMAF we enacted a site-specific exhibition as a form of provocation: What if contemporary film screenings and installations were reimagined as if they were rituals offered and addressed to nonhuman beings? What if artists were precarious makers of offerings, rather than authors of work or producers of self-expression?
This screening programme, recently presented at Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions, features recent works by moving image artists who have graced Animistic Apparatus with their presence: Pathompon Mont Tesprateep, Riar Rizaldi, Juanita Onzaga, Shambhavi Kaul, Truong Minh Quý + Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine. Some have participated in an artistic research trip we organised in northeast Thailand, others have been part of the project’s itinerant exhibitions, and all of them are shaping our thinking about the potential of artists’ moving image practices as cosmological medium of communicating, relating and knowing.
This programme is co-presented with Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions
Pathompon Mont TESPRATEEP, LULLABY
2019 / 8min. / 16mm transferred to digital, b&w
Based on Pathompon Mont Tesprateep’s research in the deep south of Thailand, a Malay-Muslim majority border region historically annexed by the absolutist Thai regime during colonisation. Pathompon collaborates with a retired Buddhist-Thai teacher on four new renditions of lullaby tunes sung in Chehe, a dialect locally spoken in parts of this borderland connecting Thailand and Malaysia.
Riar RIZALDI, Tellurian Drama
2020 / 26 min. / digital, colour
May 5th, 1923, the Dutch East Indies government celebrated the opening of a new radio station in West Java called Radio Malabar. March 2020, the local Indonesian government announced plans to reactivate the station as a historical site and tourist attraction. Tellurian Drama imagines what would have happened in between those years: the vital role of mountain in history; colonial ruins as an apparatus for geoengineering technology; and the invisible power of indigenous ancestors. The narration is based on the forgotten text written by a prominent pseudo-anthropologist Drs. Munarwan.
Juanita ONZAGA, The Jungle Knows You Better than You Do
2017 / 20 min. / digital, colour
Colombia is a land of ghosts. Two siblings roam these mystical landscapes in search of their dead father’s spirit. Their journey takes them from Bogota to the Colombian jungle, through realms of thought and deep into their haunted dreams. Here they will find some answers and attract unexpected company.
Shambhavi KAUL, Mount Song
2013 / 8 min. / digital, colour
Shambhavi Kaul assembles fragments of old Hong Kong films that nostalgically evoke ancient times. “In my work, the effort is to pull back and make apparent whatever lies underneath that nostalgia, what appears to me to be more like anxiety. Removing the actors and focusing on the sets and backdrops is a way to subdue the dominating narratives of the source material to find out what was being unintentionally stated. What happens through this process is also the reconstruction of an imagined place.” Shambhavi Kaul interviewed by Nandita Raman, The International Centre of Photography.
TRUONG Minh Quý + Freddy Nadolny POUSTOCHKINE, Mars in the Well
2014 / 19 min. / digital, colour
Truong Minh Quý and Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine’s humorous fable is set in the year 2048. Vietnam is under water and Vietnamese people must travel to Mars. “It is clear that all of our futuristic musings have their roots in the reality of the past and the present. For example, the journeys to Mars in Mars in the Well were reactions against the New Economic Zones program of Vietnam’s government from the 70s to 90s, where parts of Central Highlands and other remote provinces in Vietnam came under more direct political control and were exploited for profits. The conquering of Mars here might be interpreted as a forced implementation of a delusional utopian politics, and the combination of these false politics ideal and the soon-to-be-flooded reality of Vietnam is as contradictory as it is ironic.” Truong Minh Quý interviewed by Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn, Antennae summer 2021.