Thursday, 23 May 2013


To avert any misunderstandings about what this project is really about, let me first state what it is NOT about (if the Buber quotations and my introduction fails to provide adequate clarifications), I shall cite the beginning of the essay I wrote for the TIME LINE project, Reading the City of Signs: Istanbul revealed or mystified? that I led in Istanbul and presented at AKSANAT in 2004:

'One of the responsibilities of the inter (or trans)-national artist, at a time when media aggressively compete for our attention, in a global 'battle of images', is not to consolidate the commodity status of our works nor our 'international' reputations as individuals, but to facilitate the transition from our condition as Local Spectators and Consumers — bound by narrow individual and local interests — to that of responsible 'Global' Citizens, bound by an Ethics of the Other and a defiance of borders: political, religious, ideological, aesthetic. 

This presupposes a shift from politics to ethics — an ethical engagement with the world —; a semiological sophistication in our use of signs (both as senders and as interpreters); a willingness to resist the invasive spread of commodified representations and a committment to recovering, and assuming, collective (trans-national) memories from divisive national histories.

This ethico-epistemological choice redefines artistic practice — alongside literature and the human sciences (anthropology, history, philosophy, semiotics, sociology, etc.) — as an activity concerned with the production and dissemination of knowledge about self, others, history and the world; knowledge to implicate us all, irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, religion and ideology'.

This is above all a PROJECT, not a conventional object-oriented 'ART' EXHIBITION.
The role of the exhibition — constructed as a MEMORIAL — is to act as a studio in which to develop the project and, in the process, through contact with visitors, to instigate a reflection about the activities of a man who lives in the margins of society; excluded by forces and circumstances that elude me, but that reading Pira Canning Sudham's book People of Esarn The Damned of Thailand + The KIngdom in Conflicts puts in a wider context.

The aim of ths project is not to produce KNOWLEDGE about this man, SONGKRAN, or his 'WORKS', but to enage with them in human ways, in a perspective which does not turn them into an 'IT', according to Buber's terminology.

During the exhibition,  I shall explore non-disruptive ways of interacting with Songkran, using a mirroring approach, suggested by a friend, relating to him through the use and gift of objects and material similar to those he uses to make his own assemblages.

I anticipate that these may ultimately be incorporated in his own works; creating some form of convivial collaboration, without any contrived art speak to mediate.

These gifts will be complemented by gifts of food and short play sessions; taking care not to impose and to leave when interaction will come to a natural end..

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