Two Thai Tables

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

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Abstract

‘Two Thai Tables’ Performance Artwork, as part of Asiatopia15/2013, in the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre, Thailand. 2nd. November 2013.I arrived in Thailand to participate in the ‘Asiatopia International Festival of Performance Art 15/2013, with the ‘bones’ of an idea for creating a performance in the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre.On arrival in the Studio/Gallery 4 venue, I choose to perform in a work-space behind the main studio/gallery, usually out of public view. I choose this as this site/location suited my initial ideas of approach. I wanted to refer to the workings of an organisation and to that which lies behind the ‘scenes’ so to speak.I then went to the bowls of the BACC building and selected a white table which had been constructed in the venue for a previous project. This table became the main focus or symbolic aspect of my artwork.I asked Vassan Sickettit - (a participating Thai artist), to assist me in writing the names of the regions of Thailand underneath the table top. I also asked Vassan to write the names of specific Multi-National Companies that have, and do, exploit the resources of Thailand, onto various lengths of wooden baton, which I also sourced in the bowels of the BACC building.I drilled a hole in the centre of the white table and I then placed several objects, i.e. a silver bowl filled with water, a pile of rice, and a small book on Thai artefacts and traditions. A plumb-line was then slung through and below the table, used to emphasise the changing tilts of the table as the performance proceeded. A glass, filled with water, was placed under the table and at the end of the plumb line. The other end of this plumb line was connected to a bunch of white roses clamped between current news papers. The flowers and newspapers were positioned on the floor, between the white table and the pre-existing conference table at the back of the space.Other objects and materials were positioned nearby, including wooden batons, G-clamps, step-ladders, A4 prints depicting the Oil & Gas Industry in Thailand and resulting environmental effects, etc.During the performance by using G-clamps, I attached the wooden batons onto the table legs, one by one, and in increasing lengths. I stapled an image onto each new baton/table leg extension. Slowly and over time the table was raised higher and higher. As the table rose shorter lengths of wood were discarded and replaced by longer pieces of wood onto which new images were stapled. As I detached each piece of wood from the table legs, I pulled the conference table closer to the audience, bit by bit, it came closer from out of the background.Eventually the tall white table became more unstable and difficult to manoeuvre, the whole lifting process becoming risky and delicate. Eventually all the wooden batons were used up and I left the space, with the table standing around three meters tall. This ended the work.The themes, or my concerns, within the work were mainly ecological and socio-political. The raising of the table, which supported the base of life - water and rice, referred to, or symbolised, our dependence on nature and nature as an often overlooked support for human life. The detail within the work came to me while I visited Rice farmers in Nan Province who are trying to preserve indigenous strains of rice production in their area, against the increasing mono-cultural and polluting rice crops, preferred by the more lucrative global market. (This visit was supported by DASTA * in Nan Province and formed part of the broader Asiatopia project.)The new legs made from batons with the names of Multi-national companies involved in exploiting Thai resources, were a direct reference to the increasing destabilisation of the symbolic table. Older companies were written in ‘thai’ on the shorter leg extensions and the more contemporary companies for the more current activities in Thailand, were written on the longer leg extensions.During my visit in Bangkok their was a lot of political upheaval with local streets blocked and occupied by protesters fighting for democratic rights against a history of political corruption. I decided to make reference to this ongoing struggle and this I symbolised through the use of white flowers trapped within the newspapers, placed on the floor.The conference table, made from veneer and chrome, which was in the background of the space when I arrived, symbolised the contemporary emerging Thai reality. I saw this table as a counterpoint, somewhat false, but slowly encroaching into the visual space.* DASTA - Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism in Nan http://www.dasta.or.th/en/
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2013
EventAsiatopia International Performance Art Festival 15/2013 - Studio Gallery, 4th. Floor, The Bangkok art & Cultural Centre, Thailand.
Duration: 1 Nov 20133 Nov 2013
http://en.bacc.or.th/event/ASIATOPIA-International-Performance-Art-Festival-15.html

Keywords

  • Asiatopia15/2013
  • Brian Connolly Artist
  • Two Thai Tables Performance
  • Socio-political Performance Art.

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