ART LIFE UNDER COVID-19
ART LIFE UNDER COVID-19
Since March 2020
Chumpon Apisuk Ban Namkrogmai Koh Sawan, Umpur Mueng, Nan 55000 Thailand
FB: Chumpon Apisuk Page: Asiatopia House
I am over 71 years old now, my first art exhibition was when I was 19, and I started to practice performance art when I was 38 (1986).
Today, I am a performance artist, but it does not mean that I don’t make other kinds of art. At least sometimes I sketch my ideas, in images or writing. Or an ideas of images, or using objects to imprecate images. Often I draws using Chinese ink or paint. These activities keep me awake and always prepared for the future works.
I write this to say that working at home in studio, for artists who perform in front of others or in public is not strange. We all work from home, most of the time.
Although, I am always missing spaces where people gathering to watch or to be with performance art action.
However, Covid-19 situation is long and seems has no end. I/you/we must be part of this disease protection/prevention process like everyone else – social distancing = being distance from each other. This idea of being distanced has psychological effects to performance artists and organizer like me. Hundreds of art events around the world has been canceled or re-adjusted to virtue spaces – internet. It has been astonishing to see so many moving images on line – however, no physical encounter. I feel missed. We have no other choice, but to accept the situation, at least we are still in connect and in appearance.
I live my life in the country side which has been the dream lives for many, and make me feel a special person. I feel that I have lived close to the earth, rivers, water, land, trees, animals, birds and many kinds of insects, etc. I am proud of my living life.
But Covid-19, after a while, turns my detached living style to living in solitude. Voluntary living in distance from society, I have chosen, has psychological changed to confinement. This is because travelling is forbidden. Seeing images of people meet and talking to each other with their mouth sealed with mask - this is unreal, and probably a play – master piece theatre – no it is not normal relationship. A physicist doctor in Thailand jokingly said, we can make love in 2 metres distant.
My happy life is questioned, my happiest living situation, is distance myself from the city, including friends whom live inside square rooms. While I enjoy outdoor living, with chicken, cats, dogs, cows, birds, insects – I have wide sky over my head and sounds of insects and birds and winds plays with trees as the sound of music… My friends in Bangkok envy me. I am living in luxury.
On the other hand, it’s never come in my mind that our poor lives in the village, suddenly become so rich. Covid-19 brings issue of food security. We can keep our village locked-in for years and we would never feel hungry. We grow vegetable on our ground, pick fruits on trees, get fish in the river, our local market is not big, but enough to cater food for this small village every morning.
My village was once part of the river, through floods and earth relocation for hundreds of years, Now we are ¾ surrounded by lake and the river is on one side. I usually walk around the village following the walk way on the lake side. So, this idea brought me to make this video walking together along a lake side. The video shown on Asiatopia House Nan
page, and a few people walked with me.
In June, Valencia, Spain, a performance art meeting organized by Bartolome Ferrando, has been postpone until unknow dates, I am invited to this festival along side 3 other Thais and 4 Spanish. Residency for 1 month in Shanghai, July 2020, has been called off, and the organizer told me possibly next year, with possible changes in program. As well as programs in Hong Kong and other places.
I also planned with several friends and organizations to organize conference in our village on the issue of “Water situation”. In which artists will hear local community wise men on issues of water, and work in exchange to the local context. Unfortunately, since this is not possible this year the contextual art conference is postponed to next year, if possible!?!.
But these don’t stop me from art, which I’d brought up to. I call this project: “Happy Living with everything”.
1: project 365 Days;aims to interact with FB public, as well as a record of time. During Dec. 2019, I’ve heard there might be a kind of plague, where million people die worldwide, like last Spanish-Flu 100 years ago. I began to imagine (without knowing that it is really happening 3 months after,) and started to take an image of my face each day since 1 Jan 2020 and expected to end on 31 Dec 2020 – 365 days. I plan to wear the same shirt and not shaving my beard and cut my hair throughout the year. I did not plan the result in terms of action, but I’d like to be able to see my face change each day. I’ve asked a friend to work with this concept, Jittima Pholsawake. She accepted the invitation and starts rubbing her face on paper with charcoal, paints, etc., each day, since 1 Jan 2020, the same day.
The project is already accepted to exhibit at Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC), next year January.
1 Jan 2020, 10:40 A.M 1 Apr 2020, 07:58 A.M 1 Jun 2020, 10:32 A.M
Though the project started before Covid-19, however, self-quarantine in Thailand started on 13 March, 2020, and it changes my original concept of this selfie to add the surrounding as witness, as well as diary of my Covid-19 quarantine, situation Even though, when we’re allowed to travel, I keep recording my selfie in which surrounding environment or sites has become important aspect.
2 Memorial of Trees;My house is Longan orchard, with other kinds of fruit trees, as well as vegetables and wild trees. When I build my studio, I have to cut down some trees. I felt sorry for the tree each time, it is unnecessary for the tree to be cut down, though I can grow another one. We are always find excuses to encroach other living.
I’d like to pay tribute to all trees I cut, as to express my thankful to them. When they stood tall, they are shade for us in the hot day. They gave us fruits when season comes, each year. They were house of birds and squirrels and bats and sometimes snakes, but they were kind and open to all.
Images of “Memories of trees, 2020” in progress, in my studio.
I hope you all enjoy reading my notes. Thank you.
27 June 2020, Nan, Thailand