Limbic Release from Thailand and Taiwan: Short Film Screening Program+Talk

“Limbic Release from Thailand and Taiwan” curated by curator and physician Kridpuj Dhansandors is a short film screening program in conjunction with “Shadow Dancing: Where Can We Find a Silver Lining in Challenging Times” on view between April 2 to May 15, 2022 at Honggah Museum. In medical terms, the limbic system includes structures such as the hippocampus and amygdala in the human brain, which govern our emotions, behaviors, and long-term memory; whereas, limbic release is an alternative therapy that helps release past emotions and traumas by removing blocks and thought patterns which prevent us from moving forward. It is also a process of self-discovery.
Taiwan has long been a strategic territory for power struggle and negotiation all throughout history. Before it was named “Formosa” by the Portuguese, the Austronesian peoples have lived on the island for more than 6,000 years. However, after the age of discovery, the clashing between modern medicine, science, cultures and bounded individuals began to spread incessantly. These alien civilizations have gradually replaced the Austronesian tribal matrilineal collectives and the close relationality between humans and the more-than-human in traditional folk and animistic beliefs.
These four short films from Taiwan and Thailand happen to be at the conjunction of transdisciplinary approaches, while the images become a medium, like shamans, for the neglected primitive stories and is itself connected with immanent power, traversing between Formosa and Thailand. With the theme of “limbic release”, this screening event aims to release the marginal memories and ghosts of Taiwan and Thailand, and also serves as an expansion of artistic practice, challenging the hegemonic power of modern medicine, science, capitalism, and monotheistic beliefs.
Event rundown
14:00-15:50 Short Film Screening
16:00-16:30 Post-screening Talk (Speakers: Kridpuj Dhansandors, Liang Ting-Yu)
About the speakers
Kridpuj Dhansandors
Kridpuj grew up in Prakhonchai district, Buriram province. He used to work in a small hospital in southern Isan, and is currently studying Family Medicine in Khon Kaen, with interests in human rights, arts and cinema. He wrote articles for The Isaan Record, The Isaander, art4d, Film Club, Prachatai, and Way magazine.
Read his article:
Liang Ting-Yu
Born in 1994 in Taiwan, Liang’s practice focuses on integrating regional investigations and studies with project-based art actions and mixed media art. He examines issues related to historical archives and ethnic relations, and has expanded into exploring archives and local myths and legends. Using motion images, local ghost stories, image production, and writing, he creates art that looks into relationships between ghosts and topography.
Film synopsis
Water without a Source / Liang Ting-Yu, 2018, 30′
Water without a Source is one of three videos from the installation, “The Beheaded Stream” which consists of the following three videos: the Cartography of Land God, the Choreography of Mountain God, and Water Without a Source. These three videos focus on conflicting indigenous and Hakka tribal cultures and collective memories. Topographical remnants of “beheaded stream” are located in the mountains near Taoyuan, close to Guanxi Township in Hsinchu, and in the southeast region of Longtan District. In the early Qing dynasty, it was an area where indigenous Atayal people hunted and lived in, and the area is now mostly inhabited by people of Hakka descent. Starting with an intertribal conflict between the indigenous and the Hakka communities and along with myths and legends about the God of Soil and other mountain deities, the artist referenced temple chronicles and visited Hakka elders, where he inquired and communicated with the God of Soil, mountain deities, and beheaded spirits through means that included the crows of a rooster, mediums, and divination blocks, with responses received that continue to echo and linger.
32Km – 60 Years / Laha Mebow, 2018, 25′
“After being abandoned for nearly seven decades, the old tribal village is difficult to reach with almost no roads leading to it. The only guide on our journey in search of our roots is Wilang, who drags his octogenarian body up the mountain. As we follow Wilang’s footsteps, we travel a tunnel back in time…”
Another Dimension / Kritsada Nakagate, 2018, 25′
Memories of Nan in childhood instilled in the understanding of communism through school plays. Decades later, her perception has completely changed, once she met someone who used to live in a communist camp.
Sea Gypsy’s Life Insurance / Nil Paksanavin, 2009, 30′
The documentary follows Rawai villagers during their stay at the sacred Bon Island in Phuket, to fulfill their vows to the ancestor spirit for curing their children’s illness. Albeit hundreds of miles in distance, eerie voices and soundscapes have been captured in the documentary, coincidentally just before the 2010 Thai military crackdown, giving the impression that a supernatural phenomenon was caught on tape, whereby the remote island spirits were somehow negotiating with people in the chaotic capital.
Organizers: Hong-Gah Museum, Jim Thompson Art Center
Sponsors: Ministry of Culture, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand
Partners: The James H.W. Thompson Foundation, Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, Taiwan Public Television Service, Nusantara Archives
Cover image from Another Dimension (2018) by Kritsada Nakagate.
Event rundown
14:00-15:50 Short Film Screening
16:00-16:30 Post-screening Talk (Speakers: Kridpuj Dhansandors, Liang Ting-Yu)