Asiatopia is an Asian Performance Art Festival, supported by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and organized by Concrete House in co-operation with 5 others independent artist groups, EMPOWER Foundation and the Office of Social Welfare Division of BMA.
Asiatopia emphasis in strengthening cooperation among Asian performance artists and related practices. It also aims to promote performance art practices, art activities in public places and political commitment in contemporary arts and cultural funds and supports from the Thai Government and governments in this region.
The first Asiatopia was in October 1998, with participation of 19 artists from Japan, Korea, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. This year, 1999 the second Asiatopia will be held in November 20-21, at Saranrom Park, in the old city of Bangkok. There will be 25 artists from Bangaldesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Australia and Thailand.
One of the special program of Asiatopia, is ‘NETOPIA’ a live broadcast and linkages via electronic mail sytem, organized and designed by a media artist Prapon Kumjim. Asiatopia is also seeking direct linkages with artists overseas and elsewhere in Bangkok and in Thailand to interact with ‘NETOPIA’. If you wish to join the program, please let us know and allow us to give your e-mail address to Khun Prapon who will be connecting with you and setting up linkage plan and schedule.

Describing performance;
In my recent performance, I use action of jumping rope, a long rope which use 2 persons to swing and others jump, a game which everyone experience during their childhood. The action is to encourage people / audience to take part and enjoy themselves again, remembering our childhood. I cut the rope in to shorter rope, and encourage people to keep on swinging the rope. At the end of the action there are many short ropes that are impossible to use as a jumping rope, but I ask people to keep on swing them, in pairs.
At this moment I would craw pass through each pair of rope swingers, under swinging short ropes. My both hands tied together with my own T-shirt I wore, and I am half naked. The action of crawling takes from military severance acts during the repression against masses. Such military action happen to public eyes in Thailand for at lease 2 times during the military force were used to crack down peaceful mass protest against the government, many civilian lives were killed and injured.
These 2 incidents marks an important changes to Thailand recent political history. The childhood enjoyment transform into repressive act.
The following action after the crawling, I asked people to stop rope swinging, then I turn myself into childhood funny act again by shooting water gun at uniformed mechanical dolls. Like a child I gave myself awarded decorations after successfully toppled down many uniformed dolls. My action became more aggressive and more confrontation with the
audience. However, at the end aggression turns funny and playful but with my own-self by shower myself with the water in the gun.
This performance is my reaction towards our elected politicians, who were once democratic fighter. But when they were elected and have government power, they do not have courage to keep their democratic principle. They became undemocratic, defending corrupted bureaucrats, use all means of power to keep themselves in power for their own benefit and opportunity to wealth. They even cooperate with military who openly represents fascist elements.
To describe these actions in detail sounds very descriptive, and makes my performance have lesser meaning. However, this is not a directive action, and I don’t have precise timing for each action neither a well plan for what would be next. I like to let my performance like a child plays among their friends.
How I see Performance Art? In New York City (where I use to live between 1976-82), I have seen many people dance with their silence music. The music in which created within their body inside that automatically manipulate their movement.
Watching these people was fascinating and very much live to me. These are individual live action of musical forms and movements.
When I was among my folks, back to my childhood days. I remember, when people engaged in their conversation - discussion, listeners always  responded by sounds of Uhmmm, Ohhhh, Tah Tah, Nan Nah, Eui...., etc.
These sound always accompanied with action of nodding their head, moving their body or make their face to express their engagement in such dialogues. While a person who talk stays calm as they try to keep their story together and try to make their communication clear to listeners. Sometime the whole group put their heads close to each other, this seems to be a very caution act for on lookers. These kind of engagement you hardly see today, as people sticking their head to TV screen and have no time for such non-television stories. These are images of the past, but they are clear and very natural and very much social engagement norm.
At my present work as community worker and trainer, which often use participatorial techniques to create mutual understanding among trainees. Each group action are not just fun or to break the ice, but they are also mean something for participants in the acts and on lookers can also discuss about it. Most of the time these action are following the lessons that instructor create in order to make the learning process an exchange of personal experiences. This is a very democratic way of teaching and learning together. This is very important process, many times they are more important than the achievement goal expected by instructor. However, the process help people-participants helping each other find some resolution together. The process is very inspiring.
These three element are basic theory, I may say for me to develop my action. They are responsive, inside out, and process of engagement.
Recently I wrote a statement to accompany above mentioned performance: “1999 - The year that make all of us feel like we have come to another chapter of our civilization. This is an imagination, it is a dream that once we wake up, we realize that our calendar is still hanging at the same place at the kitchen wall. However, most discussion of the past decades, guided us to the new hope for the next millenium. It seems like the future which is waiting for us has already been made. I look back, and try to find out where we are heading towards. Sorry, when I look back I cannot see what is in front of me. The future is not a visible things, we only wish that what we have done will continue and lay roads infront of us.
As a citizen of Thailand, I am with another 60 million Thai are living in the 25 Buddhist Era (B.E.) Century. Many bad things had happened. There were a few good times that remind me on peace and freedom. The liberation of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the end of the Shah in Iran. Then the fall of the Berlin wall and many national liberation in Eastern
Europe. But now, to really think about all these, does freedom really mean peace or does it just mean another war. Look around us now, Kosovo, Chenya, Middle east crisis, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), etc... Who causes these wars? Well, at least, I ask myself, should we really ask the question about, what will come next? Is it Ghost in front of me? “

(Text from: Festival Der Geister, Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin, Germany 12 August - 26 September 1999)

I was asked by a curator and friend of mine, about political and social concern in many Thai contemporary art work
including in my performance. I told her, as followed: “I remember when I was 8-9 year old, Thailand calendar was entering B.E. 2500 (Buddhist Era). There were also many predictions about 25th century B.E., people believe that Buddhism will come to an end, the new Buddha would be born. During the time new Buddha was emerging, the world will be in chaos, and coming to an end. The end is also the beginning of the new Buddha Era.
We are living in the 25 B.E  century. And many bad things have happened, and also a few good things. Thailand went into a civil war for about 10 years in the 70s and the war ended in the 1980s. In the 90s many democratic fighters became elected MPs, as we have entered into parliamentary system, with a vote buying democratic election. Politically we are entering the new Thailand with a reformed constitution. This does not mean we have accomplished out freedom. Thailand’s democratic system has been and still is manipulated and directed by those who are in power and have money, we are a country with minority rules.
The Second World War ended just a year before I was born, and the People Republic of China declared its independence in the same year I was born. The Korean War started in 1950 when I was a little over one year. My country then was in the stage of fear, that communists would march down from China. As a country boy, I had owned a few colourful posters made by American USIS, of anti-communism. USIS came to my home town with a van and show us moving pictures. We were introduced to John Wayne and Walt Disney, later on came ‘Ben Hur’, and the ‘Ten Commandments’, etc.
There were times in which I believed that peace was real, and we were bombing of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia were a few hundred kilometres away on the east, Burma was just a few steps across a waist deep river, and a thousand freedom fighter have been out there.
We are lucky to have democracy! But we are not very lucky when our country was robbed by bankers and trusts with benefit paid to a few rich politicians pocket and a few tycoons. These bad guys were lucky, because we have democracy, which they make us believe. Today we are made to believe that our economy is improving and we ought to be happy. Because democracy save us again! Democracy that saves us this time brings in loans and businesses take over from America and Europe.
Western critics and investors tell us to learned the lessons, and be good student of International Monterey Funds (IMF), and the World Bank and Wall Street, and Euro Banks and Japanese and etc. Because we are entering the globalization economy of the G7.
Thanks to Democracy! “

(Text from: Festival Der Geister, Kunsthaus
Tacheles, Berlin, Germany 12 August - 26 September 1999)
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