Where do we draw inspiration from? Following her interview with Palme d'Or winning Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethaul, Christine Jakobson traces the influences on the director and presents four short films by Marcel Duchamp, Bruce Baillie, Andy Warhol and Chris Marker, all of which can be seen as influences on Weerasethakul's own experimental work Ashes.
In order to contextualise the works of award-winning Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who talked in his interview with FOUR BY THREE MAGAZINE about time, Buddhism, death and reality, one has to turn towards the lineage of his inspiration. From a selection of avant-garde masters it is possible to paint a picture of identity politics from particular perspectives present in Apichatpong’s work and pertinent to any viewer.
Marcel Duchamp’s hypnotic optical experiments in Anemic Cinema (1926) form a series of animated disks, which challenge the identity of cinema as a new medium from its conception. Some forty years later, the non-narrative experimental film Castro Street (1966) by Bruce Baillie continues with a dazzling experience of an ever changing road. In the same year as Ballie, Andy Warhol’s first double-screen film Inner and Outer Space acts as an important transitional work for the artist, showing Edie Sedgwick’s self multilayered and multiplied - a portraiture as self-conscious as any performance, mirroring the complex structure of the film in the ramifications of its thematic. Chris Marker’s Junkopia (1981) continues with a visionary depiction of a dystopia of time and place, in which surreal objects are juxtaposed with our present. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s own Ashes (2012) foregrounds the destruction of personal memory, while simultaneously depicting the precarious political status of his native Thailand. Old, yet new, the LomoKino footage produces an effect as though time and space are sliced into fragments.
These films invite you, as occasions for meditative contemplation, to attend to an unfolding before the camera. Doubles, superimpositions and fragmentation raise questions concerning time, place and identity, allowing your own experiences to float free of spatio-temporal restrictions.
Christine is co-founder and editor at four by three magazine.