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Korakrit Arunanondchai

Songs for dying

Korakrit Arunanondchai

Songs for dying

Video

Year: 2021

Duration: 30 min

Co-commissioned by the Han Nefkens Foundation,  the 13th Gwangju Biennale, and Kunsthall Trondheim

BIOGRAPHY

Born 1986, Thailand

Works in Brooklyn and Bangkok.

Korakrit Arunanondchai, Songs for dying, 2021, HD film, 30 minutes. 
Co-commissioned by the Han Nefkens Foundation,  the 13th Gwangju Biennale, and Kunsthall Trondheim

Songs for Dying (2021) interweaves histories of death and protest through what anthropologist Seong Nae Kim describes as "the work of mourning," the memorial activities honoring the forgotten dead that allow for communal healing. It is the narrating voice of a sea turtle—a revered spirit and descendant of a mythical dragon—that tells this story of loss, resistance, and familial love through which Arunanondchai's memories of the last moments spent with his grandfather flow into the life of the forest, Jeju Island's mythological origins, the legacy of haenyo's sea farming culture, and their tribute to oceanic living systems. The footage of crowds that marched in protest of the Thai monarchy in 2020 to demand democratic reforms channels distant spirits—invoked in the shamanic rituals commemorating the Jeju uprising of 1948—with the promise of returning life to the anarchic forces of cosmic waters and ancestral currents. While acts of remembrance unite political struggles that are haunted by the militaristic erasure of restless bodies, throughout the film the songs of ghosts form lineages of unrest and sacred unions that dissolve the contours of life and death through loops of awareness, arriving from decomposition to shores of security.
(text by Michelangelo Corsaro)