FLY STORIES BLOG (pls take all fact based background info to ppl and films from the accompaning pages)
Chiang Mai, Feb 2005. Arriving at Deuleu's paradisic teak house compound, which hosts her family, GOLDEN TRIANGLE (left pic below), the Akha handicraft workshop and store, and MPCD, the first NGO to support mountain people in Thailand. 12 years ago, as a student at Chiang Mai University, I spent lots of time here, researching and making friends for life...
The following day, I join Navin on his way to Lamphun, where a scooter gang from around Thailand are looking at his exhibition at the Hariphunchai National Museum. Through media coverage of Navin's project, they discovered Inson as their hero for his trip in the 60ies, and it s fun to watch those kids relating to all the historic info about this trip in Navin's show, but totally ignoring all art intentions of the display (right pix).
Evening before departure of the FLY STORIES mobile cinema: checking equipment and getting hold of the Lambretta, which Inson turned into a symbol for a low-tech vehicle powered by will power. (full story >>)
15. Feb. Ong, Bo and I leave Chiang Mai at 6 am ... get lost in the mountains in Mae Salong area ... and arrive in Saen Jai Mai village 12 hours later, just in time to set up the cinema. The village hosts a Pirma (reciter) meeting, attended by around fifty elderly reciters from Northern Thailand. The program is introduced by Akha researcher Mr Lawgaw, and starts with recordings from Akha villages in Lao PDR, amongst other showing a lady putting on her headdress the 'old way'. The kids giggle their heads off, and when the woman in the film parts her hair by spitting onto her comb - they insist to rewind and see it again ;-)
Later on , FLY STORIES showsVirtual Borders, the protagonist of which is on site as participant of the Pirma meeting, and live commented by co-organiser of the Pirma-meeting, Mrs Deuleu; It is followed by Une Double Mort, which has been filmed in the neighbouring village several years ago. As it turns out, the local shop keeper played the role of the 'traditional young man' in this film - and he never has had a chance to see this film! Next day, he writes down his address (right pic below) to be sent to to the filmmaker in France, and we show the film once more on a TV set (live translated by Lawgaw / centre picture below) The evening ends with Akha karaoke video clips, Mario doing some fire joggling (left picture below) and plenty of rice whisky.
The following day, the symposium PUBLIC ART IN(TER)VENTION kicked off in Lamphun. I was still slightly exhausted from the long trip, which manifested itself when I fell asleep in Navin's exhibition. When I woke up, the museum was deserted. All 200 participants and buses had left back to Chiang Mai already! Luckily, after a while, I spotted Navin and Bo and so I got a ride back with them ;-) Below a picture of Inson and Navin, the migrant dolls of the No Border project at the symposium foyer, Pandit and Bo, Varsha and Alia, Navin and Mickey. A detailed program of the symposium is online here>>
18 Feb: Amidst the Buddhist celebrations and temple fair at the occasion of the anniversary of an ancient Buddhist image, FLY STORIES launched offically at Suan-dok Temple, Chiang Mai. After a well-attended screening of YONG IN TRANSITION (which you can see at the ICA in London this week), Navin and I introduced the project to the international sympoium audience as well as to the Thai fair visitors, who stoppped by. The DVD projector was placed on top of the Lambretta, next to an old-style cinema truck, which provided the sound - and, most importantly, hosted the live narrator, an entertainment genius as it should turn out during the screening of THE JOSEF TRILOGY. This rather dark, claustrophobic Austrian film about five woodcutters, who desperately want to emigrate from the Alps to Canada, seemed somewhat risky programming amongst all the other attractions (food stalls to live pop bands...). However, only minutes after the translator has started to live dub the film, the Thai-literate audience burst into laughter: not only did he imitate sounds and voices in the most funny way, he also improvised and added jokes and side stories, which turned this screening into a memorable event. (Inevitable, the non-Thai speakers ended up laughing about the laughter of the others ;-)
The program continued with the short films Brilliant City, Fast Film, Mecanomagie, Burning Man as seen by a mammoth, and Mong bor dai ya. Around midnight, we packed up and moved on to the resto-bar Drunken Flower. (no memories from here onwards)
The next screening was hosted by Noi and Manuel at EmptySpaceChiangmai (ESC), half an hour outside of the city and near artist project The Land, which the symposium crowd visited beforehand. At ESC, all were welcome by a local music group playing old, traditional Lanna instruments - all musicians were less than ten years old! The cinema was set up next to (needless to say, very delicious) buffet. Noi presented the results of a video workshop, which involved teenage students from Bangkok interviewing villagers in the neighbourhood of ESC about environmental issues. The band and the video on the neighbourhood had attracted many locals, who stayed on for STEALTH, a skilfully made three minute dance video, which provoked a storming applause afterwards. It created an interesting link to the hairrising documentary CEASE!FIRE!, which was filmed at the Burmese border. The filmmakers had come all the way from the border to be available for Q&A after the screening- an offer taken up by the audience for the following few hours. It was probably the most energizing and interesting Q&A session I ever experienced. I should mention here that you can get hold of the film only directly through the filmmakers (kawlahfilms[at]hotmail.com)
The last night of screenings threw us again into a totally different world - one of partying and dancing and excited good-bye chatter and food and a shadow theatre performance by WANDERING MOON. This all took place on a lawn behind the Chiang Mai Art Museum. We projected JUST A SECOND, AT THE BEGINNING WAS THE EYE, exyzt's compilation of architectural interaction videos, and, when the DJs turned the site into a dance floor, NAMASTE PROJECT.
Maybe a good place to thank all involved in making FLY STORIES happening... Navin for initiating, inviting and insisting, all the filmmakers for providing copies for this program, to Ong, the Unstoppable for his production assistance, to Jay, who takes the project further to yet unknown lands and to Thad for documenting, and the many more who input advise and energy!
A few days in Bangkok, where I stayed with Alfred (below in front of his gallery door made by noone less but artist Inson, who was the starting point of this whole trip :)...
...and here a censured insight into beach life with the FLY WITH ME team at Hua Hin.
[Fly With Me to Another World] [Introduction] [Context and Contacts] [Films+Screenings] [Launch Blog ]