Of Naga and political dissidents

13 September 2021


Apichatpong Weerasethakul's video exhibition 'A Minor History' turns myth and drama into a gesture of resistance - Kong Rithdee | Bangkok Post

Story by Kong Rithdee

(Excerpt from the full article)

The Naga is real but the murder is not. Or is it vice versa? What history chooses to remember and relegate to oblivion, what it enshrines as story and what it buries as hearsay, is how the narrative of a nation is forged in a mould of clay or a furnace of fire. Or in this particular case, in disembowelled bodies stuffed with concrete blocks. The murder is real but the Naga is not. This sounds more like it.

Its title is as proud as it is sardonic. Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "A Minor History" fishes out a forgotten headline from the depths of the Mekong River and reminds us that history -- Thai history, world history? -- has the cynical habit of drowning out minor characters, of purging them from the official narrative. Sometimes through art, however, they live again, resurrected as phantoms that hover above and behind the screen. In this exhibition, it's the phantom of Surachai Sae Dan, the anti-establishment dissident and lese majeste suspect who fled to Laos and two years ago was found floating in the mighty Mekong, his body and that of another man washed up in Nakhon Phanom. Their stomachs had been split and taxidermied with concrete.


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SOURCE : Bangkok Post / www.bangkokpost.com

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