When the artist Korakrit Arunanondchai is prepping a new exhibition, he usually releases a tantalizing little video trailer—something to whet appetites before the big debut. A few days ago, he shared a new one, for “Ghost:2561,” the inaugural edition of a performance and video festival called Ghost that he’s starting in Bangkok that will run from October 11 through 28.
Arunanondchai, who splits his time between New York and Thailand’s capital city, has tapped longtime colleagues and collaborators for the festival, with Ian Cheng, Stephanie Comilang, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, Rachel Rose, and Hito Steyerl among about a dozen artists presenting video installations, and Boychild and Total Freedom among a handful doing performances. The action will take place at venues like the Bangkok CityCity Gallery, 100 Tonson Gallery, and Subhashok the Arts Centre. Aily Nash, Victor Wang, and DIS will curate additional screenings, and there will be an educational component, organized by Judha Su, that will involve participants explaining their work through storytelling rather than through wall text.
“The starting idea for ‘Ghost:2561’ came from my feeling of always wanted to start some kind of platform to do research, push dialogues, and organize exhibitions and performances in Thailand, where I’m from,” Arunanondchai told me. “I wanted to work with this idea of ghost-host and possession, a kind of animistic framework that is very present throughout different layers of social fabric there.”
The festival, a news release explains, “takes the idea of the ‘ghost’ and expands upon its connotations by looking at the contemporary condition shared by people across the globe. Although each culture has its own concept of ‘ghosts,’ common is the notion that ‘ghosts’ give form and presence to invisible systems. To experience a ‘ghost’ connects you to the infinite reverberations of human existence simultaneously as it brings you back to your own body.”
The plan is for Ghost—a partnership between the Bangkok-based nonprofit Open Field and the newly minted Ghost Foundation—to occur every three years. “I wanted it to be a project that continues and builds on itself,” Arunanondchai said, explaining that that pace would allow “a chance for it to grow, and there would also be periods in between for it to experiment and travel (perhaps outside of Bangkok).”