Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Night with Apichatpong Weerasethakul

According to Apichatpong Weerasethakul's 2009 essay The Memory of Nabua: A Note on the Primitive Project, “ghosts will appear under certain conditions, when it is not quite dark and not quite light (at the break of dawn and twilight).” That twilight zone – where dreams and reality become indistinguishable, and ghosts walk among the living – is where Weerasethakul’s cinema exists. His work seems designed to lull us into a hypnagogic state, inviting us to readjust the rhythm of our bodies and completely surrender ourselves to the film; in fact, when he introduced his last feature, 2015's Cemetery of Splendour, at the London Film Festival he told the audience, “It's okay to fall asleep.”

With that in mind it makes sense that Weerasethakul favours nocturnal outings for his work, and an environment that encourages viewers to relax into his films and loosen their grip on consciousness. In 2016 he presented a 16-hour retrospective of his body of work at Tate Modern, beginning at 10pm on a Saturday night and ending just before 2pm the following day. Last month in Rotterdam, he curated SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL, an immersive experience in which guests checked into a fully-functional pop-up hotel and spent the night in beds that were surrounded by images he had filmed, none of which would be repeated over the course of the five-day installation.

Read the rest of my article at The Skinny