Project: KHONKAEN MANIFESTO: FLASHY FLASHES #1
Community art, Participatory perspective
KHONKAEN MANIFESTO: FLASHY FLASHES #1 aims to open up spaces through and for the arts in various mediums and branches engaging with marginalized sub cultures and communities. To give voice as well as platform to those exploited, forgotten and displaced by overwhelming main-stream developments whether that be cultural, social, political or economical. Craft, fashion, music, theatre and performances embodied by those at the periphery has long been a medium of their social fabric, weaved into their everyday life, an expression and representation of their livelihoods, their art. For example, Mor-lam: a sub-cultural performance which passes its wisdom and ideology of the practitioners to the communities through festive music and vivid movements. These contemporary practices are brought to the forefront in Khon Kaen manifesto in hopes that the communities can participate as collaborators and outspokenly express their cultural rights through artistic practices.
Historical background and Curatorial Statement:
Art and culture’s role as an ideological state apparatus has long since been crucial to the building and maintaining of nation states, employed to inculcate citizens with its charms for an orderly life, albeit a specific kind of order with a specific agenda. They are used not only to paint a harmonious image for the delight of the people but also animate them in national fervor. Inversely art and cul-ture which blooms from the commons is a mode of resistance against these hegemonic powers. As is so historically with the people in the northeastern region of Isaan, when the forces of Neo-Siam overwhelmed and threatened their ways of living.
Resistances rose against the central authority during the reign of Rama V in Isaan, manifested as the Phee Boon Rebellion (1901-1902) which spreads over 13 provinces such as Ubon Ratchathani, Sri-saket, Maha Sarakham, Kalasin, Surin, Roi Ed, and Khon Kaen due to indignation in politics, society, and economy that threatened to reshape their way of living. Led by 60 rebels, who proclaimed themselves miracle makers, messiahs and magicians, they expressed their ideologies and tell their tales through Mor-lam, a performance of their cultural heritage passed down through generations, which weaved rituals, beliefs, and entertainment together.
Although the Phee Boon Rebellion was subjugated shortly thereafter, the spirit of resistance continues. Such as that in 1940 during the reign of Rama VIII, dissatisfied with the imposition of the Neo-Siam grand cultural narrative coupled with exorbitant property taxes despite natural disasters as well as arbitrary laws, Mor-lam Sopa Poltri Rebellion once again employs the medium as a method of their resistance. Singing songs that tells of the injustices, he was later arrested that year.
The story of the Mor-lam Sopa Poltri Rebellion and his courage to resist through the art of Mor-lam against state mechanisms has never been told elsewhere, but for those in Khon Kaen, no matter how long time has passed it is still central to their ethos. The Dao Din activist group which formed against political injustices as well as other local communities as a response to potash mining were arrested. Despite that, today forms of resistance continues. Rapid development and modernization of the area sees increasing problems of exploitation in natural resources and establishments of unfair economic models all the whilst diminishing the rights of the citizens, yet still more and more rise up.
KHONKAEN MANIFESTO: FLASHY FLASHES #1 inherits the rebellious spirit of the More-lam as well as its potential, to carry on this spirit and aesthetics of resistance through artistic and cultural approaches, and to address issues pertinent to the public — The very issues which were eclipsed and suppressed by enforced developments and their allegiance to unbridled economic expansion. Whether it be from state authorities or foreign investments, the logic of endless modernization always comes at the cost of a marginalized community. That is the predicament of the Khon Kaen people, drowned under ceaseless waves of what one calls progress.
- Opening up spaces for community art and socially engaged practices.
- Opening up spaces for artists and communities to propose their artistic ideas, which connect to
social-, cultural-, and space issues.
- Encourage contemporary artistic practices which engage to the communities and society of all
layers and levels in society.
- Spread contemporary arts to the public.
- Art exhibitions
- Panel Discussions
- Musical performances / Mor-lam
- Artistic activities with the communities
Target group / Audience
The commons, the public
- Painting 2. Sculpture 3. Printmaking 4. Mixed Media 5. Installation Art
- Performance Art 7. New Media 8. Assemblage 9. Shot Film 10. Photography
- Poetry 12. Public Art 13. Graffiti/Street Art etc.
All venues are located in then Khon Kaen city utilizing spaces such as warehouses, abandoned buildings, community areas etc. (further information to be announced)
- Hauk society
- 3. art space
- Public areas in Khon Kaen city (further information to be announced)
6th – 26th October 2018
Opening: 6th October 2018
- Introducing and bridging people and communities with artistic practices, to be able to
acknowledge and understand the contexts from the artistic works.
- Creating an artistic movement, connecting with communities and social groups in the region as
well as in the ASEAN scales.
- Expanding groups of artists with shared interests, to create a contemporary art scene which con-
sciously engages with in various areas dynamically.
- by observation, interview and opinion of the public and participants in the art festival.
- evaluating by the information from the media about the project.
- by critics from the public over their acknowledgement about artistic practices.
- Artists from Isaan region
- Guest artists
- Independent artist groups
- Khon Kaen communities
Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum
The Jim Thompson Art Center
Bangkok Biennial 2018
Organized by: Art & Culture Khon Kaen Workers (ACKW).
Artistic Director & Curator: Thanom Chapakdee
Project Manager: Nibhon Khankaew
Co-Curator: Nibhon Khankaew, Ekkalak Napthuesuk, Tanomsuk Chaicom, Arthit Mulsarn, Ugrid
Jomyim, Weerayut Phosri
Space & Media Design Manager: Kittisak Pransiri, Manaporn Robroo
In collaboration with the James H.W. Thompson Foundation, Huak Society, YMD. Art Space, Art & Culture Khonkaen Workers (ACKW.), Esaan Nord Süd (ENS.)