Time of the Last Persecution
Time of the Last Persecution
2012 / 7:30 minutes / experimental film / Thailand
Assembling moments of eruptive beauty from five films, all of which were made in the early 1980s, Time of the Last Persecution reanimates the force of metamorphosis in the rhythm of a soaring cadenza. The video is structured through the rapid montage and the close up, yet it observes the gliding pace of the circular slow motion.
In an inspired act of reassembling, Taiki strips away the theatricality of the dubbed dialogues and returns instead to the enigma of the silent film. Images of silently screaming faces, and of bodies and strange things crumbling spectacularly off the frame, are charged with a renewed intensity. At the heart of it all is an indeterminate gesture: the look offscreen of an old man who may be dying, the magnificently unreadable face of the long departed director and actor Sor Atsanachinda. The overall effect is less an homage to a low genre than a study in repetition, one which brings to life the anarchic energy and the intensity of yearning latent in that which has become obsolete.
“The force and the grace of repetition, the novelty it brings us, is the return as the possibility of what was,” Giorgio Agamber once wrote. Like memory, which can’t bring back the past yet can restore its sense of possibility, cinema as the anarchic art of montage implies the capacity to show the possibility of that which has been. Taiki’s montage of ecstatic intensity, his reassembling of wild images from a genre otherwise consigned to the harmless place of obsolescence, is an act of repetition in this sense. Unlike campy pastiche, or those current efforts to assert the value of popular genres of old Thai films by describing them as Thai cultural heritage, the strategy of repetition at work in this almost entirely silent video brings back the possibility of danger. While pastiche and the rhetoric of Thai heritage trap old Thai films in the prison-house of conservative nostalgia, Time of the Last Persecution reminds us what that yearning was all about. It shows, as a still present possibility, that the desire to change everything in the world so as to change one’s destiny was the source of emotional intensity of these obsolete films. The acknowledgement of the full magnitude and implication of this intensity was the unspoken bond between the films and the audiences of their time, and it is precisely this intensity that Taiki’s montage remembers. (Text: Dr. May Adadol Ingawanij, Cinematheque Quarterly, National Museum Cinematheque of Singapore)
Exhibitions / Screenings:
2018 Histoire du Cinema, FilmVirus, Bangkok Biennial
2018 “Wildtype Pandemic: The Sound of Silence,” HUAK Society, Khon Kaen, Thailand
2017 “Experiment Experimental Cinema” Chiang Mai University, 21 March
2015 CINEMALIBRE FILM CLUB SCREENING PROGRAM, UP Cine Adarna - Videotheque, UP DILIMAN, QUEZON CITY, May 30
2015 Time of the Last Persecution, FD-zone London Third Edition-Reuse, Retell; touring programme from the 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, University of Westminster, London UK, May 29
2014 "Symposium Comparing Experimental Cinemas" Experimenta India, Bangalore, Dec.
2014 “Scintillation or Disappearance” MMCA, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, Korea, Nov.–Jan.
2014 “Haunted Thresholds,” curated by Lauren Reid, Kunstverein Gottingen, Berlin, Germany, Nov. 2 – Dec. 21
2014 “Proximity” curated by Pichaya Aime Suphavanij & Bartlomiej Otocki, National Museum, Szczecein, Poland, June
2014 Media / Art Kitchen Reality Distortion Field ‘Yebizo’ Edition, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Feb. 11 & 20
2014 “Faith and Fairy Tales: New Media Art from Thailand’ curated by Loredana Paracciani, ADM Gallery NTU Singapore, March – Apirl
2014 Media / Art Kitchen Reality Distortion Field, BACC, 25 February
2013 Transient Visions: Festival of the Moving Image, October 18 – 19, Jason City, New York
2013 Media / Art Kitchen Reality Distortion Field Tour, Ayala Museum, 98B, Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila, The Philippines, Black Box, MAP KL, Art Row, Publika, KL, Malaysia, Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Kineforum, Jakarta, Indonesia
2013 SEA Arts Fest, 4749, London, UK, October 26 - 27
2013 BEFF 6, Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, New Zealand, August 30
2013 Gio Verona Video Festival, Verona, Italy, July 26
2012 Thai Short Film & Video Festival