Project: KHONKAEN MANIFESTO: FLASHY FLASHES #1
Community art, Participatory perspective
Project Description
                 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.
Objective
  1. Opening up spaces for community art and socially engaged practices.
  2. Opening up spaces for artists and communities to propose their artistic ideas, which connect to
social-, cultural-, and space issues.
  1. Encourage contemporary artistic practices which engage to the communities and society of all
layers and levels in society.
  1. Spread contemporary arts to the public.
Activity   
  1. Art exhibitions
  2. Panel Discussions
  3. Musical performances / Mor-lam
  4. Artistic activities with the communities
Target group / Audience
               The commons, the public
Artistic forms
  1. Painting 2. Sculpture 3. Printmaking     4. Mixed Media     5. Installation Art
  2. Performance Art 7. New Media 8. Assemblage     9. Shot Film     10. Photography
  3. Poetry 12. Public Art 13. Graffiti/Street Art etc.
Location
               All venues are located in then Khon Kaen city utilizing spaces such as warehouses, abandoned buildings, community areas etc. (further information to be announced)
Exhibition space
  1. Building
  2. Hauk society
  3. 3. art space
  4. Public areas in Khon Kaen city (further information to be announced)
Festival duration
           6th – 26th October 2018
           Opening: 6th October 2018
Expected result 
  1. Introducing and bridging people and communities with artistic practices, to be able to
acknowledge and understand the contexts from the artistic works.
  1. Creating an artistic movement, connecting with communities and social groups in the region as
well as in the ASEAN scales.
  1. Expanding groups of artists with shared interests, to create a contemporary art scene which con-
sciously engages with in various areas dynamically.
Evaluation
  1. by observation, interview and opinion of the public and participants in the art festival.
  2. evaluating by the information from the media about the project.
  3. by critics from the public over their acknowledgement about artistic practices.
Participants
  1. Artists from Isaan region
  2. Guest artists
  3. Independent artist groups
  4. Khon Kaen communities
Supporters
             Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum
             The Jim Thompson Art Center
            Gallery VER
            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.)