Picture credit : The Ferry Gallery
Live performance on the ferry
Duration 50 mins.
The Ferry Gallery, Galleries Night festival, Bangkok
Violence on the water
It’s 8pm and the buildings along the banks of the Chao Phraya are brightly lit. The engine grumbles,the smell of petrol coats the air and The Ferry Gallery departs from Jam Factory Pier. A woman is sitting in front of us wearing a white dress. She is holding a large block of ice. She stares into the distance, cradles the block closely against her body and runs her fingers along the edges. As she performs, there are videos playing on opposite screens of the boat. Launched in 2014, The Ferry Gallery kills two birds with one stone. Based at Tha Tien, it operates as a public ferry and a gallery space, housing video art on the go. Its new show, “The Act Of Violence”, initially curated for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women last November, presents three diverging visual experiences. Behind that screen is a video featuring the same woman holding the ice on the boat -- in this video, Heart Melted, we see Alisa Chunchue’s half-turn towards us holding a block of ice in the middle of the ocean. Her live performance, a derivative of her video project, was exclusive to Galleries’ Night last Friday. The videos play on loop, and water drips down Alisa Chunchue’s knees -- the ice is melting onto the deck, becoming slightly translucent.An installation artist and sculptor, Alisa has been fascinated with capturing the intangibility of water in art. Pushing physical and mental limits for an hour during the performance, it seems incomprehensible how she was able to tolerate such raw coldness. For the artist, her concept stemmed from a question she encountered after her grandmother’s passing when she visited the morgue of a hospital.
“When I saw her body, her dead body, everything
looked the same, but when I touched her, I was
shocked, you cannot imagine how [it felt], like
pork -- hard. That moment questioned me. I
wanted to know what happens in my mind if my
body freezes like that. Today I saw nothing, I
heard nothing. My mind was separate from my
body. It was like meditation.
“I think performing on the ferry was easier than
performing in the middle of the sea. [For the video
project] when I began, the water was around my
legs, and when I finished, it was up to my neck. It
made me so nervous”
When ice reverts into water on the ferry, there is symmetry in the thought of it slipping into the river. It is precisely the context of where the videos and performance coexist that makes the experience intriguing.
Writer : Shon Ho