What's happening in Thailand concerning the savage attack of the young activist (ref: https://www.nst.com.my/…/thai-democracy-activist-attacked-u…) drives me to make a statement about our preparation towards BIPAM this year.
The theme "Eyes Open" is my intention to talk about the issue of violence, an intention I've had for almost 5 years. As I accepted the invitation to work for BIPAM, I've integrated this intention into the BIPAM framework and we're ready to present it this year in October.
We are not highlighting the word violence itself because I feel the word is overused, although quite fittingly so because violence is still frustratingly relevant and current. But somehow the way that violence is addressed or portrayed, especially in daily conversations or the media, is repetitious and buttoned-down. So much so that it's tedious to have to talk about or listen to it even though such a discussion is significant. All this is only worse within a society that's in love with sweeping things under the carpet and acting like nothing ever has happened. This is how we came to the phrase "Eyes Open" which was proposed by James Laver.
The two performances that lead BIPAM2019 program are Damage Joy by Nana Dakin/ B-floor Theatre and Violent Event by Billinger & Schulz. They address violence directly, however from the points of view that are fresh and jarring. To me, they made me question myself and society about the whole system of violence all over again. And I passionately want to recommend that the audience sees both shows, one after another. This should generate a kind of bouncing effects for the questions and dialogue on violence that I hope will rise within yourself and with other fellow audience members.
Other showcase performances and all talk sessions of BIPAM 2019 are programmed around this idea. How do we open our eyes and take a good look at things and each other? How do we listen to really hear each other? Seeing and hearing things as they really are, and not assuming how things are without actually looking and listening?
Eyes Open in order to get out of discourse-level discussion, and come down to earth - to see eye to eye with the issue and, if you will, allow them to involve a piece of you when you think and talk about it.
With this, I invite you to join BIPAM: Eyes Open on 16-20 October, 2019 in Bangkok.
Sasapin Siriwanij, Artistic Director of BIPAM