05 October 2023

คนอุบลใน 6 ตุลา
(‘Ubon people and 6th Oct.’)


Tomorrow marks the forty-seventh anniversary of the massacre that took place at Thammasat University on 6th October 1976, the most notorious date in modern Thai history. The anniversary will be commemorated at Thammasat tomorrow, but only for a single day. There will be a one-day exhibition—112 มรดก 6 ตุลา— (‘112: the legacy of 6th Oct.’) and screenings of the documentary Different Views, Death Sentence (ต่างความคิด ผิดถึงตาย ๖ ตุลาคม ๒๕๑๙) and the short film Pirab (พิราบ). There will also be a discussion titled เอายังไงดีกับกองเซ็นเซอร์: บทบาทของคณะกรรมการพิจารณาภาพยนตร์และวิดิทัศน์ภายใต้รัฐบาลซอฟต์พาวเวอร์ (‘what to do with the censors: the role of the National Film and Video Committee and soft power’), arguing that Thailand’s film industry can only contribute to the country’s soft power if the censors’ role is restricted purely to classification rather than cutting or banning films.

คนอุบลใน 6 ตุลา (‘Ubon people and 6th Oct.’), an exhibition at the Songsarn café in Ubon Ratchathani, runs from 22nd September to 6th October and includes photographs of the massacre. Outside the cafe is an enlargement of the Neal Ulevich photograph that has come to symbolise the tragedy, with the hanging man’s body cut out, leaving a physical void in the image to symbolise the whitewashing of the event. A folding chair—a reference to Neal Ulevich’s famous photograph of the massacre—is also hanging outside the venue, and will be used in a performance by artist Narasith Vongprasert tomorrow.

Both the Thammasat and Songsarn exhibitions feature reproductions of the infamous Dao Siam (ดาวสยาม) newspaper front page that precipitated the massacre. The Thammasat exhibition also includes a copy of a speech read by Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul at a 12th December 2021 protest calling for the abolition of article 112 of the criminal code (the lèse-majesté law). The paper is stained with Panusaya’s blood, as she carved “112” into her arm at the demonstration.

Pirab will also be shown on 8th October at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. It was previously shown at Future Fest earlier this year, and at the Thai Film Archive in 2017. Folding chairs have also been shown suspended from ropes at the Status in Statu, Uncensored, and Khonkaen Manifesto (ขอนแก่น แมนิเฟสโต้) exhibitions.