Sunday, April 28, 2013

ASIATOPIA’S CHUMPON APISUK (Last part) (April 29, 2013)

VN: What is your role in the history of art in Thailand?
CA: I am a Thai artist working in Thailand. I am proud of my role in Asiatopia and in the performance art movement in Thailand.

VN: Is there a Thai trademark when it comes to performance art? Or art in general?
CA: Thai politics may be. But, I think, we do not have enough a variety school of practices in order to have a trademark. But, it is like noticing that Filipinos walk differently than Thais or Singaporean, etcs. There is something in our culture that makes us eat the way we eat, talk the way we talk, etc.

VN: For you, who are the most important performance artists in the world?
CA: Boris Nieslony, Esther Ferrer, Richard Martel, Randy Gledhill, Seiji Shimoda, Terrence Houle, Shannon Cochrane, Paul Coulliard, Jurgen Fritz, Sinead O’Donnell, Alastaire McLennon, Lee Wen, Arahmaiani, Iwan Wijono, Yuan Mor’O, Mideo Cruz, Hong O Bong, etc… But I am also inspired by works of Joseph Beuys, John Cage, Marina Abramović, etc. I found all these people are very important in performance art development in the world. Both East and West. They inspired young people. They invented their own form of performance art. They organized performance art gatherings.

VN: What can you say about the performance art festivals in other countries?
CA: I don’t feel that I have seen enough better performances to say the bad ones.

VN: Do you use art to change society?
CA: I think art is about freedom of movement, creativity. It is about human rights. It is something we need besides TV, music, movies, dinner, etc… Art is good to go with good wine or good whiskey. It makes us think about freedom.

VN: What is Empower Foundation all about?
CA: Empower Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization founded by my wife -- Noi Chantawipa Apisuk -- and it is for and by sex workers in Thailand. It views art in the context of freedom and humanity.

VN: How do your wife and daughter see you as an artist?
CA: My wife sees me as a husband, a lover, and a man who makes performances, I hope. My daughter used to say that she was surpised to know what I do was art. (Laughter.) But she gets used to it by now

VN: What about as a husband and as a father?
CA: I don’t feel much as a worried father now. My daughter is 34 years old. She is very much on her own. But I respect her for her works. She is a classical pianist.

As a husband, I am very proud of my wife. She is strong and independent. She is very strict with me many times. She is one of the most important woman activists in Thailand, and in the world, I think. She is a great thinker. She always has her new ideas about feminism. She is a great human rights fighter, on and off stage. And I think she is the best woman I’ve ever met.

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