Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s works are steeped in the social life, divergent culture, and tumultuous politics of his native Thailand, whilst the transient arenas of sleeping, dreaming, and memory recur as spaces for exploration, liberation and quiet subversion.
These subjects weave their way into the complex interplay of light, sound, and screen of Synchronicity (2018), made with Japanese artist Tsuyoshi Hisakado (1981, Japan) and showcased in the Arsenale, in whose environment Weerasethakul’s threshold spaces are given physical form.
A number of works relate to the artist’s encounters with the traumatic past of Nabua, a town in North Eastern Thailand, where rebel Communist farmers were brutally suppressed and killed by the Thai military in the 1960s. Two works in the Central Pavilion signal a significant shift for Weerasethakul, who has for the first time been working outside Thailand, in Colombia, for his current project Memoria. Colombia’s topography and its scars from decades of civil war hold a visceral affinity for Weerasethakul; the traumas of collective memory part of the fabric of everyday life, much as they are in Nabua.