Highlights of the 2nd Edition of the Unfolding Kafka Festival
Czech-born author Franz Kafka (1883-1924) combines, in a seemingly natural and rational way, obscure and surreal scenarios with the real world. To this day a fascination persists for this writer’s bleak world view, his mysterious characters, and his unique writing style, all of which provide modern day artists plenty of room for interpretation. The 2017 Unfolding Kafka Festival provides a platform for contemporary artists in Thailand, and this year’s festival performances and installations will be presented in Bangkok from November 3rd to the 22nd at various locations citywide, and in Chiang Mai from November 24th to 25th at the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum.
The participating artists are out to challenge Thai audiences to explore other interpretations of Kafka’s works through both abstract and conceptual art. It’s conceived with a multidisciplinary approach, in which the festival poses the question of how choreography, physical movements, installations, sculpture, and visual art interact to address animalism, gender and identity, and ultimately the folding and unfolding material or bodies.
In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Thailand, the festival also offers a wide variety of exhibitions and activities for those interested in visual art, graphic design and movies. Highlights include the immersive media and sound performance experience by the internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Hiroaki Umeda (pictured above), who will perform his Holistic Strata for two nights (the 20th and 21st) at the Sodsai Pantoomkomol Center for Dramatic Arts, Chulalongkorn University. On the same two nights—presented as a double bill—the young and talented Israeli solo artist Roni Chadash will present a piece entitled Goofy, in which audiences will be amazed by the brilliant way the artist uses her physicality without allowing the audience to see her head throughout the whole piece.
From the 3rd to the 12th, Bangkok CityCity Gallery will host Berlin-based Japanese visual artist Yoko Seyama, who will present—for the first time in Southeast Asia—her art installation Saiyah #2.3, where light folds and unfolds to continuously modify the surrounding space in various hues of colours. Meanwhile, on the 7th and 8th, at the Goethe Institut, Stefan Droessler, the Head of the Filmmuseum Muenchen, will give a lecture which will immerse attendees in Kafka’s world and reality through excerpts of rare selected reconditioned silent films, excerpts of his diaries, pictures from the places he lived in, and cinemas he visited. The Goethe Institut will also be staging an art exhibition entitled K: KafKa in KomiKs, which presents Kafka’s dark universe through graphic artworks.
Finally, there are several festival events being staged at The Rose Hotel, including Be Claude, in which a male street artist explores the themes of gender and identity by taking on a feminine persona in an absurd and funny, but nonetheless philosophical and relevant manner—a subject that will resonate with cosmopolitan Bangkokians.
A full festival pass is just B1,650. For more information, and a more detailed schedule of the festival events, visit: www.unfoldingkafkafestival.com.
By Benjamin Tardif and Bruce Scott