Monday, 22 March 2010

Democracy Monument

Democracy Monument
Democracy Monument
UDD protesters in Bangkok have painted pro-democracy images and slogans in blood, and wrapped the paintings around the city's Democracy Monument. At a UDD rally last week, thousands of UDD supporters donated 10cc of blood each, which was then symbolically poured onto the ground outside Government House and other political sites in Bangkok. (Government House was illegally occupied by the PAD in 2008.)

The current UDD campaign was launched after last month's seizure of Thaksin Shinawatra's assets by the Supreme Court. The protesters are also opposed to the 2007 constitution (drafted by the military), the 2006 coup (allegedly organised by the Privy Council), and the governing coalition (formed by the military following the dissolution of TRT and the PPP). Unlike the riots last year, the current UDD demonstrations are peaceful, despite scaremongering by Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban.

[Thai artists Pornprasert Yamazaki (Suicide Mind), Kosit Juntaratip, and Manit Sriwanichpoom (Flashback '76) have also used blood in their work. Kristian von Hornsleth collected Thai blood donations for his Deep Storage Art Project.]

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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Cinema@MERZ

This Area Is Under Quarantine
Thunska Pansittivorakul's documentary This Area Is Under Quarantine, which was banned from last year's World Film Festival, will open the Cinema@MERZ film season at MERZ Art Space, Bangkok, on 27th March. The season will run until 24th April.

Another Side

Another Side
A group exhibition, Another Side: Contemporary Artists' Dreams, opened on 13th March. The show includes The Altar, a new video by Thunska Pansittivorakul (director of Reincarnate, This Area Is Under Quarantine, and many short films). (As of today, Thunska's video had not yet been installed.)

The show also features Chaisiri Jiwarangsan's video The Illuded Moon, a record of an eye operation which is not for the squeamish. The video was made in collaboration with Apichatpong Weerasethakul (director of Syndromes & A Century) and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (whose video works have previously been shown in From Message To Media and The Suspended Moment).

Most impressive are the ceramic works by Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch and Flora Cruells Benzal. Wasinburee has created a guardian angel with the body of a Transformer, and Benzal's Chimerical Six is a disturbing series of Gothic babies' heads. Another Side, at La Lanta in Bangkok, will close on 30th April.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland (3D)

Alice In Wonderland
Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland has also been released in a 3D version. Structurally, Alice is remarkably similar to The Wizard Of Oz, and, just as that film changed into Technicolor when Dorothy arrived in Oz, the 3D in Alice is used to maximum effect in emphasising the wonders of Wonderland. Curlicue tree branches in the foreground create the perception of depth in 3D, and various flying creatures appear to hover in front of our eyes.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Lars Vilks

Seven people have been arrested in Ireland in connection with an Al Qaeda plot to murder the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Vilks depicted Mohammed as a dog in a series of drawings which were removed from the Hunden I Konsten exhibition in 2007.

Today, three Swedish newspapers (Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, and Sydsvenska Dagbladet) printed some of the drawings, and they were also broadcast on television by SVT. The plot to murder Vilks comes after a man was arrested in January for the attempted murder of Kurt Westergaard, who created the most notorious of the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed caricatures.

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Monday, 8 March 2010

Chaotic Victory

Chaotic Victory
Chaotic Victory, an exhibition of new works by Vasan Sitthiket and Iwan Wijono, will open at Whitespace Gallery, Bangkok, from 12th March to 11th April. Vasan has a simultaneous exhibition at Number One Gallery, Ten Evil Scenes Of Thai Politic.

Vasan has produced a series of self-portraits, depicting himself as Buddha and a terrorist. Wijono's paintings comment on the hypocrisy of iconic figures such as Barack Obama and Andy Warhol. Like Santiago Sierra, he works with economically marginalised labourers, though his projects are genuinely collaborative and mutually advantageous in contrast to Sierra's exploitation.

Ten Evil Scenes Of Thai Politic

Ten Evil Scenes Of Thai Politic
A new exhibition by Vasan Sitthiket, titled Ten Evil Scenes Of Thai Politic [sic.], opens on 11th March at Number One Gallery, Bangkok. It will close on 3rd April.

Vasan is refreshingly direct in his treatment of politics, sex, and religion. His new paintings, for example, explicitly depict politicians such as Thaksin Shinawatra and Suthep Thaugsuban as thoroughly corrupt figures succumbing to the temptations of sex and money. Some of his video works, including the scatological There Must Be Something Happen, were shown at From Message To Media.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland

Alice In Wonderland
Tim Burton's new film, Alice In Wonderland, stars Mia Wassikowsa as a mature, feminist Alice, who returns to Wonderland (or, more correctly, Underland), in a loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll's novels Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass. Johnny Depp, who has taken the lead role in six previous Burton films, plays the Mad Hatter. Burton's partner, Helena Bonham Carter, plays the Red Queen.

Depp and Bonham Carter have previously appeared together in Burton's films Corpse Bride, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and Sweeney Todd. The eccentric Mad Hatter has the appearance and mannerisms of Willy Wonka from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, though Depp adds an occasional Glaswegian accent to signify anger. The shrill Red Queen resembles Queenie from Blackadder II.

Depp and Bonham Carter basically steal the show; Bonham Carter's performance is more consistent, though, and Depp's dance (like Grandpa's in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) is anticlimactic. There's an impressive British supporting cast led by Stephen Fry as the sly Cheshire Cat, though Anne Hathaway's White Queen is far too passive. The plot has been significantly altered, with much emphasis placed on Alice slaying the Jabberwocky in a final battle scene. The un-necessary action sequences, coupled with the extensive CGI, are untypical of Burton's films. (A 3D version, converted in post-production, has also been released.)