For this iteration of the Society of Cinema, Museum of Impossible Forms has invited Kush Badhwar to curate a selection of films, for which he will be presenting Myth of Modernity and Yeh Freedom Life.
Myth of Modernity and Yeh Freedom Life are two films emerging from Bangkok and New Delhi respectively, dealing with different aspects of urban life in contemporary Asia, including religion, politics, love and family. Sewn in the making of these films are questions of how these aspects of life can be thought through, discussed and represented and where, when and how do these representations bend, break or transcend into realms outside of themselves.
In doing so both the works delicately control and release formal approaches such as art, experimental and documentary filmmaking to expose new shades in the representation of their respective subject matters — Siriphol leaning on the expectations of the traditional documentary format before shooting for the stars and Sen continuing a deep-dive into a complicated social fabric. They also negotiate with systems of making - placing new points on Hoskote’s Atlas of Lost Beliefs and revealing lives, makers and artwork “all trying to swim in contaminated circumstances, to stay afloat in the infinite waters of precarity, seeking footing despite their groundlessness”.
Kush Badhwar is a filmmaker interested in collaborative practice, improvised and informal political engagement and the ecology of sound and image across stretches of time and political change. More related to his work can be found at https://waydk.com/.
Myth of Modernity
2014 / Single-channel HD digital video / sound/color/16 min
More info: http://www.chulayarnnon.com/film18.html
Myth of Modernity focuses on Thai Buddhism, specifically the simplification over time of ornate architectural structures of worship. These structures that pervade Buddhist culture, such as pagodas, palaces and spirit houses, were symbolically built to represent the ‘three worlds’ of Buddhist cosmology. The influence of modern architecture and the West have resulted in the popular reduction of these forms into the geometric pyramid.
Siriphol draws a parallel between this simplification of structures of worship and the state of current Thai politics. By viewing the political realm as being similar to the religious realm of worship, he implies an idealistic reverie in politics, politicians and the mass experiences that occur during party rallies and demonstrations.
– text by Lauren Reid
Chulayarnnon Siriphol was born in 1986. He is interested in exploring new possibilities in creating moving images. He is thus working between the role of a filmmaker and an artist, using video as a medium. His works range from short film, experimental film, documentary to video installation which are in-between personal memory and social memory, documentary and fiction, reality and supernatural. Through these pieces, he questions the belief of virtue and ideal through sarcasm, illusions, and his own sense of humour. His work has screened at The 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands (2005), Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan (2011), The 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka, Japan (2014), 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo, Brazil (2015), the 2018 Cannes Film Festival as part of 10 YEARS THAILAND, a feature film by four Thai directors (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, Aditya Assarat and Chulayarnnon Siriphol) in the Special Screenings section. He currently lives and works in Bangkok.
Yeh Freedom Life
Priya Sen 2018 / Single-channel HD digital video / sound/color/70 min
Filmed over the course of a year in Ambedkar Nagar, a dense, largely working class area in South Delhi, Yeh Freedom Life tries to keep up with its protagonists, as they manoeuvre erratic and unpredictable love. One of them works at a local beauty parlour; the other runs the family’s small cigarette counter at a crowded intersection. They are surrounded by a cacophonous city; they are both in love with other women. The film accompanies them through their desire to live according to them, their ‘freedom lives’, outside of society and family’s constant scrutiny and sanction. But this ‘freedom life’ also leaves them vulnerable to the precariousness of love, when it refuses such constraints.
Priya Sen is a filmmaker and artist working across film, video, sound, and installation. Her work has largely centered around questions of form, urban ethnographies, music, and migration–mainly in New Delhi, a city in which she chooses to situate her practice. Her work has screened at festivals and venues including The Kitchen, NYC, BFI London Film Festival, Forum Expanded Berlinale and Experimenta: International Festival of Moving Image Art. She was one of the featured filmmakers at the 65th Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, 2019. ‘Yeh Freedom Life’ is her first feature documentary.
‘Society of Cinema’ is a platform and space for watching, making, and discusing Cinema.
Museum of Impossible Forms is a cultural space, located in Kontula, Helsinki. It is a contested Space and it represents a contact zone, a space of unlearning, formulating identity constructs, norm-critical consciousness and critical thinking. Impossible Forms are those that erase and facilitate the process of transgressing the boundaries/borders between art, politics, practice, theory, the artist and the spectator. For 2019-2020, Museum of Impossible Forms operates under the curatorial theme of ‘The Atlas of Lost Beliefs (For Insurgents, Citizens and Untitled Bodies)’
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