Unfolding Kafka Festival is a biennial platform for outstanding international artistic exchanges that enrich contemporary arts in Thailand. The grotesque universe of Franz Kafka blurs the line between human and non-human by allowing us to reflect on the otherness through humanized creatures. The 4th edition of the festival brought together international artists from multifaceted backgrounds to share their diverse approaches to conceptual creation.
Alexandre Fandard (FR)
Hiroaki Umeda (JP)
James Batchelor (AU)
Jonas Lopes (PT)
Katze und krieg (DE)
Lander Patrick (PT)
Michaël Cousteau (FR)
Morgan Hickinbotham (AU)
Pakhamon Hemachandra (TH)
Roni Chadash (IL)
Viktor Černický (CZ)
Franz Kafka died in Kierling, Austria in 1924 (aged 40).
"I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more."
—THE CASTLE (1926)
Michaël Cousteau & Jitti Chompee
In Collaboration With
Princess Galyani Vadhana
Institute of Music Baroque Ensemble
(2022, Bangkok / Music & Dance)
On the occasion of the 335th Anniversary of
the Siamese envoy to France, The Ambassade de France en Thaïlande proudly presents this special collaboration between French conductor, Michaël Cousteau, and Thai Choreographer, Jitti Chompee, to share the stage with 18 Monkeys Dance Theatre and the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music Baroque Ensemble.
Michaël Cousteau has established himself internationally as a musician of unusual versatility, conducting repertoire ranging from the Baroque period on instruments to contemporary works. His artistic approach leads him to call on artists from the worlds of theater, dance and musical theater. Likewise, the attention to musicality has always played a vital role in guiding the artistic direction for many of Jitti Chompee’s choreographies. With his fascination for sculptural bodies, Chompee also admits that he has been inspired and impressed by the sculptures of Louise Bourgeois, whose feminist subversiveness does leave a stamp on his “Pink Animals” for this special performance.
“PLI” Viktor Černický
(2018, Czech Republic / Dance)
PLI brings together 22 conference chairs, obsessive rhythm and one devoted man. On a small platform, Viktor Černický dives resolutely into the effort for indefinite construction, reconstruction and deconstruction of the Universe. The outcome is an intelligent and playful solo—a physical metaphor for endless human dynamics, patience and striving that turns even the most ordinary objects into incredible pieces of architecture.
Following the baroque philosophy of Gottfried Willhelm Leibniz, PLI is an unpredictable and humorous performance where baroque robustness is replaced with spatial modesty and material minimalism.
“Comme un Symbole”
(2022, France / Dance)
Alexandre Fandard takes on the image of a young man from
the urban margins; his postures and the fear he arouses. In turn barbaric, riffraff, potential terrorist and eternal stranger, the “youth from the suburbs” is often a masculine figure, despised, adulated, sacrificed or eroticised.
Alexandre Fandard’s creations as a visual artist and choreographer never remain fixated in one form and bring to the stage all these rock-solid archetypes. In this new research in solo, he rehabilitates the youth from the suburbs as a symbol. The dancer wears the French flat on his jacket and uses this symbol as an attempt to redeem this figure, while transforming himself into a national product in its own right.
“Quelques-uns le demeurent”
(2018, France / Dance)
In Some Remains So, Alexandre Fandard explores the radical otherness that lives in each of us. Inspired by the quote from Samuel Beckett, “We are all born crazy. Some remains so”, this poetic piece is an exploration of the physical body through psychological madness.
The choreographer reveals a single man engaged in a bizarre fight. What does it tell us? Is it perhaps under the grip of a force that kills the words and torments them? Or is he simply crazy?
Awarded by 3 international prices, Quelques-uns le demeurent is the first choreographic work by Alexandre Fandard who here investigates a radical alterity, inherent in each of us. Paradox inscribed in a body that uproots itself from nothing before being sucked into it.
In the depth of darkness, on the border between reason and madness, while the body struggles, creation is born.
(2012, Portugal / Dance)
Cascas d'OvO was born from the need to explore a telepathic, superhuman communication as the maximum exponent of a couple's relational connection.
Cascas d'OvO offers the experience of a new dimension of dialogue, where social relationships and their forms of expression are reconsidered: the theater as a microcosm of society that submerges the audience in silence and in the music of bodies communicating.
The show was distinguished as Priority Company 2014 by the European network Aerowaves.
"Shortcuts to Familiar Places"
James Batchelor and Collaborators
(2022, Australia / Dance)
In Shortcuts to Familiar Places, James Batchelor creates a personal performance about the body as a site of historical and choreographic inscription.
Like a map that is constantly being redrawn and rewritten, the body here goes through endless cycles of transmission and reception. What are the gestures, forms and patterns that persist over time? James Batchelor's dance teacher Ruth Osborne was trained in the methods of modern dance pioneer Gertrud Bodenwieser, who developed visionary approaches to dance education and choreography in the early-20th century. Bodenwieser's repertory and training were rarely documented in video and hence now
mostly survive in the body memories of her students. James Batchelor explores the fragments of movement that still linger from this time in body memory, existing in tension with a seemingly oppositional pull towards the obsessively detailed anatomical deconstruction.
In one solo and two duets, he finds new artistic ways to embrace the complexity of self-expression in contemporary times—while echoing the free spirit of the expressive dance (Ausdruckstanz) era.
This tour to Bangkok is a special occasion for a fruitful cultural exchange on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Thailand. James Batchelor will share his practice with Thai artists and audiences to foster a deeper connection between the arts of both nations.
“School of Ganesh”
(2021, Thailand / Dance Video Installation)
Length: 16 minutes
Peculiar beings are bred out of this extraordinary school. In viewing the body as a moving sculpture, Jitti experiments with bodily absurdities and the embodiment of characters from Ramakien including humans, animals, and demons. In his fascination with animalism, he fuses animal masks with the human body to create mythical cross-bred characters. His creatures are created by exploring the unique physiologies of different bodies. Human and mythology are interwoven into an eccentric world.
(2017, Israel / Dance Video Installation)
Length: 6 minutes
“NO-body” Dance Video was created in December 2015. In 2017, the piece was translated to stage, for the request of Jitti Chompee, director of Unfolding Kafka festival, Bangkok. The dance installation by Roni Chadash, who [un]folds her limbs, impresses Jitti by her peculiar physicality and reminds him of some odd animal in his Kafka’s zoo.
The Metamorphose Massage and Metamorphosis
Katze und Krieg
(2022, Germany / Performative Presentation)
THE METAMORPHAGE A fantastic massage practice as a performative intervention in the tourist life of Bangkok.
Right where Thai massage shops line up in Bangkok, the German artist duo katze und krieg opens up a pop-up store with an alternative offer of massage: THE METAMORPHAGE—A massage that is supposed to transform its clients! Passing tourists and locals are invited to experience this special kind of massage. Regarding THE METAMORPHAGE, katze und krieg adapt the business idea of the Thai massage, but not its form nor content. As artists they are interested in the transformative potential of massage. How can a massage fantastically change the person being massaged? How does a massage become a metamorphosis? What kind of corporal interventions are necessary for this? What kind of rituals and which magic is needed?
Director Nicolette Krebitz
Length: 97 min.
Starring: Lilith Stangenberg, Georg Friedrich, Nelson
(2016, Germany / Drama)
Anias‘ tedious lifestyle takes a turn in a way she had never imagined when she has an odd encounter with a wild wolf. She feels strongly attracted to the animal and can’t stop thinking about it. Gradually, she tries to get closer to the wolf and eventually manages to capture it and take it back to her apartment. Life with the wolf becomes increasingly intense and intimate, which is reflected in the emergence of an animalistic side to Anias’ behaviour. She begins to let her instincts and sexual desires run free and gradually loses all contact and compliancy to society. Her neglected but self-confident appearance seems to both attract and repel the people round about her.
(2022, Japan / Video Installation)
Hiroaki Umeda will develop a video installation in which he experimentally choreographs a digital object. In fact the approach he takes in the installation is not far apart from the one in his dance performance. He explores a digital version of his dance performance.
(2010, Japan / Video Installation)
When one shuts their eyes, the world usually turns pitch-black. However in this piece, when the audience is guided to a little dark room to watch a video installation with their eyes closed for two-and-a-half minutes, he or she will be clearly seeing monochrome or color lines behind their eyelids. Synchronizing with the violent electronic sounds heard from the headsets, the grid lines are physically perceived as a form of photic stimuli. Umeda, in fact, considers this work as a dance piece, since it provides the audience a physical experience of chromatic vision.
The roles of the spectator and the spectacle are brought up to question when other audience members are invited to watch the reactions of ones with their eyes closed. Different layers of sensory experience are simultaneously happening in the same space. As another gaze is placed upon the viewer, they become the object, just like how we observe animal behavior in a zoo.
Unfolding Kafka Festival has been made possible thanks to the generosity of our Cooperation Partners: the Goethe-Institut Thailand, the Japan Foundation, Bangkok, Ambassade de France en Thaïlande, Embassy of Portugal, Camões–Institute for Cooperation and Language, Arts ACT and the Australian Embassy Thailand, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Bangkok, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the City of Brno and the City of Prague, TCEB and 18 Monkeys Dance theatre.
Venue Partners: Lido Connect, Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, The Peninsula Bangkok, Jim Thompson Art Center, Hostbkk and Alliance Française Bangkok
Hotel Partner: The Peninsula Bangkok, Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam
Educational Program Partners:
Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Chulalongkorn University (FAA), Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts Multidisciplinary Art Innovation Program (FAAMAI), Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Khon Kaen University / Bachelor’s Degree of Fine and Applied Arts (Performance Practice)
Artistic Director: Jitti Chompee
Assistant to Artistic Director: Kanokporn Vorapharuek, Iyada Mooksadee Stage Manager: Thachaporn Jirasakkee
Technical Director: Jirach Eaimsa-ard
Project Coordinator: Pattarasuda Anuman Rajadhon, Iyada Mooksadee Press & PR Coordinator: Iyada Mooksadee
Programme Designer: Ta S. Kasitipradit
Web Designer: Chanatda Ruangrat
Web Editorial: Kanokporn Vorapharuek