Jul 05, 2012|
What’s the story behind the Obscene series, and particularly “Goddess of Democracy”?
The idea for Obscene stems from when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra came to power. As every Thai knows, she came to power because of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who is still the real PM. The government and its key supporter group, the Red Shirts, have been putting out all sorts of propaganda trying to portray Yingluck as a champion of democracy. The PR machine particularly uses gender as a tool for gaining political popularity and avoiding lawful scrutiny by making her legitimate accusers appear like macho bullies. You might think that having a beautiful woman as Prime Minister would soften political conflict in the country, but for me her female beauty is a cynical disguise for violence. That’s why my “Goddess of Democracy” is armed, to protect her constitution.
Is there any relation between these works and Shakespeare Must Die?
I was director of photography for Shakespeare Must Die, but there’s no direct relation between the film and the exhibition, except both heavily incorporate the color red and use the lighting style of Italian Baroque master painter Caravaggio. I love dramatic expression and composition. Director Ing Kanjanavanit’s choice to use red in the movie is based on all the blood imagery in Macbeth, but my use of red in Obscene is a specific reference to the Yingluck government.
It holds so many meanings, depending on your background. Although the red in Obscene is derived from the Red Shirts, the color has broader universal connotations. It can symbolize desire, passion, obsession, vanity and so on.
The themes of sex, politics and heroes are so central to your work. Why?
They’re the three key components of our lives, wouldn’t you agree? I should also add “greed” to that list. Every morning when you read the newspaper, these are the themes that stand out. They drive the world forward, as well as cause untold problems.
Do you think exhibitions such as yours have any influence on politicians, or the general public’s perception of politicians?
Who knows? My intention is to question whether we have a real government that’s working for the poor and under-privileged, as the propaganda says, or if it’s just self-serving. In actuality, are we, rich and poor alike, being exploited by a corrupt billionaire?
Do you have any other projects in the works?
Right now I’m just focused on fighting against the banning of Shakespeare Must Die. We’re preparing our case for the Administrative Court. We’re also working with the Thai Directors’ Association and the iLaw NGO on a Film Law amendment campaign. If we can ban the banning of films then we’ll be much closer to true democracy.