Apichatpong Weerasethakul, ‘Photophobia’, DCA Bangkok

Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work investigates the shadowy workings of governance and political turmoil in his country. For Photophobia, Weerasethakul went on the Internet to collect photographs documenting scenes of violence taken during the Takbai Incident in Narathiwat province in 2004. Around 1,500 demonstrators had gathered before the local police station to protest the detention of six men. Takbai resulted in 85 deaths. The photographs revealed the grievous violence with which the Thai government handled protesters during the South Thailand insurgency.

About Apichatpong Weerasethakul

An auteur best known for his Palme d’Or prize-winning film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), Apichatpong Weerasethakul produces feature films and fine art video works that focus on the people of his native Thailand. Weerasethakul’s videos, which are developed in an improvised manner, often feature ordinary people rather than actors and occupy a space between documentary and fiction inspired by the lives of his subjects. His four-channel video installation, Unknown Forces (2007), follows a pickup truck carrying day laborers that work at the lowest level of Thai society; depicting events in and around the back of the pickup truck as it transports passengers from construction site to construction site, the videos suggest the absolute powerlessness of these workers, who are sometimes drafted into demonstrations and marches regardless of their political beliefs. Of his poetic, sometimes dreamlike style, Weerasethakul has said, “Sometimes you don't need to understand everything to appreciate a certain beauty.”

Thai, b. 1970, Bangkok, Thailand