THE RIVER CANNOT CONTAIN THE GRACES OF DANCE

A three room Audiovisual video installation with sound and scent, created on a residency at Community Lab in Nang Loeng, Bangkok in April 2023. Supported and funded by The British Council. The work was made with the participation of Chatri dancer Kanya Tipyosot. Many thanks to Kanya, Community Lab and the Nang Loeng community. The project highlights a diminishing traditional cultural art practice in Thailand of the Chatri, a mixture of dance, performance and music.

With my documentation and portrait of the Chatri culture and mixing this perspective with my own practice and creating a hybrid work I felt a connection was created between both our cultures which I hope was shared mutually as an enriching experience.

More details and images follow below. Some video clips are on instagram which you can access top right of this page. Video clips will be added to this page at a later date. Audio clips of the soundtrack will also be added.

The central room from "The River Cannot Contain the Graces of Dance" contained an 11 minute film loop which featured manipulated Chatri iconography and cultural Chatri artifacts such as the headress. The large screen suspended from the ceiling and could be walked around, fans blowing the screen to give it movement,  it was carefully restricted so that the fans did not blow the screen too far as it hung from the beam like a sail. The screen material was resting on traditional Thai Chatri fabric on the floor.

The first room from "The River Cannot Contain the Graces of Dance"  contained two hanging elements, one of which was the traditional containers for Chatri performers headwear with the names of the performer on the front, suspended from the ceiling and held together with wire, decorated with flowers. Projected on to these was a real-time visualisation of the soundtrack from the central room as an audio spectrum wave, moving like a river of sound. The motion gave the illusion that the metal containers were spinning.

The second hanging element being a long traditional Thai flower arrangement.

Thai flowers were distributed at the beginning of the installation opening and were gradually crushed underfoot as visitors viewed the work.

A view from the central room, the screen material could be seen from both sides and blew around from the large fans.

The film also featured Kanya in different stages of Chatri rituals and performance, from dressing to performing dance positions with added video feedback manipulations and a soundtrack created with granular synthesis by recording parts of the Chatri instruments as source material.

This room, previously a washroom, was layered with transparent materials, with projections of Chatri dress patterns and Chatri poses from Kanya which appear like hallucinations and dreams. Traditional Thai flowers decorating the room.