Drawing from oral histories and unwritten memories, the works of Saroot Supasuthivech unearth the multiplicity of narratives embedded in specific locations. His installations often combine moving image and sound to conjure the affective aura of a site and bring forth its intangible socio-historical stratifications. Using photogrammetry techniques, he turns 2D images into 3D models as a way of to blur the lines between the real and the mythical. His latest video installation, River Kwai: This Memorial Service Was Held in the Memory of the Deceased (2022), was featured in the Discoveries Section at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022.
For his residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Saroot Supasuthivech will research the encounters of cultures, faiths and rituals among immigrant communities and local inhabitants. He is especially interested in the spiritual beliefs and ceremonial traditions by which humans ritualise the moment of death. With a focus on the historical impact of immigration on funerary practices across different regional and religious contexts, the artist will survey specific burial sites and rituals in Germany and Thailand looking at how foreign communities enact their funerary traditions abroad.
Major sites of interest for his research are the Protestant Cemetery in Bangkok and the Kurpark (Spa Park) in Bad Homburg, the only town outside of Thailand that features two Sala Thai (open pavilions). The Sala were gifted to the city of Bad Homburg by King Chulalongkorn of Siam (1853 to 1910) as a token of gratitude after the monarch’s illness was healed in the spa town in 1907. From the materials gathered through field trips, interviews and archival research, the artist plans to develop a video installation that will convey the mystical structures of those sites as well as the spiritual intersections engendered by global migrations.