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Apichatpong Primitive, 2009. Installation view at FACT.

Throughout the production of Primitive, which coincided with the anniversary of the first communist shoot-outs in the ricefields in 1965, Apichatpong lived in the village of Nabua where he recorded people’s memories and invited male descendents of the communist farmers to come together and build a spaceship. The result is a cathartic and liberating expression of past and real-time experience, played out in the form of a multiscreen video installation, two short films, a music video and an artist’s book.

The narrative of Primitive unfolds through the video installation across individually titled screens depicting the creation of the spaceship, explosions hitting the ground like lightening strikes, portraits of soldiers, ghosts and young men playing, sleeping and dreaming.

A central feature of the Primitive installation is a specially commissioned watchtower structure, designed by the artist and seen in our gallery for the very first time. The watchtower casts an eerie military feel in the gallery to echo the presence of the Thai army in Nabua. It also acts as a support for a public address speaker system though which the main channel of sound can be heard; an intense series of explosions that add a chaotic dimension to the work, while a synchronized lighting system casts an evocative red haze around the space at programmed intervals.

Apichatpong Primitive, 2009. Installation view at FACT.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Primitive, 2009. Installation view at FACT.