I seek refuge in the Perfect Words...(2020)
I Seek Refuge in the Perfect Words begins as an exploration regarding a Muslim community living beside the Chao Praya River for many generations, and how they have attempted to retain many of their traditionally held beliefs and customs despite the constant metamorphosis of their surrounding environments as it relates to the sprawling modernization of Bangkok. Most recently, a super complex multifunction shopping mall, apartment complex, and convention center which has recently completed construction adjacent to the community. Perhaps an apt metaphor depicting the contrast between modernity in relation to the Suwannabhumi Mosque within the village community. Supasuthivech utilizes the moving image for the purposes of documenting certain aesthetic facets of the neighborhood: the architecture of the simple shelters they have built, the natural landscape and banana trees that the community preserves, as well as the constant flow of water that is the Chao Praya River, which has provided a lifeline for many generations past. At a certain point throughout the video, Supasuthivech shifts the concentration of his image upon an expanse of water from the Chao Praya, that devoid of other visual reference cues seems to transform into a certain abstract entity. This is interpolated at several points of the work with images and sounds of crackling fire.
The narrative delicately then shifts its gaze upon the birth of a mythical entity relevant to the community, a Jinn, as it enters its existence through the embers of conflagration. At this point the moving image itself blurs, fades, burns and changes speed more abruptly, and a voice, taken from Google A.I., begins to recite verses from an Islamic Prayer. The footage then metamorphosizes into an enigmatic pixelated, threedimensional environment that revolves around a floating, fiery rectangular form. It is in this shift that Supasuthivech captures a sensibility, or perception, of a spiritual energy. It may be worth noting that he utilizes the language of rendering, a visual language based in more recent computer programming, to convey the aura of the transcendent. The video accelerates in speed at a certain point, reverting back to images anchored in his own found footage and it becomes unclear whether it is moving backwards or forwards, until the image is again replaced by another colored digital rendering of the vicinity, taken from a bird’s eye view, as if the Jinn that initially arrived through fire in the beginning of the video appears to be floating away from the land.
I Seek Refuge in the Perfect Words connects a dual narrative, one involving a community living alongside the Chao Praya River adjusting, perhaps resisting, the forces of change that inevitably will encroach upon their future existence, with the birth of a spiritual entity as its own presence eventually transmutes into another dimension of existence. The work is a lyrical microcosm reflecting the constant negotiation between progress in relation to the current state of things. How perhaps there may be perhaps indeed be a place of refuge, where the energies of the spirit world and world of man may coexist. Perhaps it may be postulated, then, that these two w orlds may not be so different, after all?
HD digital video color and audio, Photo wall
Duration 08:57 min