Monday, November 16, 2009

Salad Is Not a Thing

Thasnai Sethaseree's latest exhibition
Salad Is Not a Thing สลัดไม่ใช่อะไรอื่น
November 28 - December 22, 2009
Angkrit Gallery, Nanglae, ChiangRai, Thailand

สลัด v. (ชื่อยำชนิดหนึ่งตามแบบชาวตะวันตก ซึ่งมีน้ำมันสลัดประสม) salad v. (ซัด ผละ หรือสะบัด โดยทำให้สั่นหรือกระพือให้แรงเพื่อให้สิ่งอื่นที่ติดอยู่หลุดไป) shake off, throw off, fling, toss away v. (โจรสลัด) pirate, buccaneer, corsair related. ดีด, สะบัด

“Salad” does not come out of one specific culture, but was a core food item dating back to ancient times. The contents of the salad would be dependent on what was available, seasonality, and trade routes of the day. What is all mixed together in a bowl of salad, a mixture of vegetable, fruits and some meats, signifies a concept of the integration of many different things and cultures.

“Salad” in Thai pronunciation has a couple of different phonemic meaning , 1) สะ-หลัด / salad {salad v.}; to shake off, throw off, fling, toss away, 2) โจรสลัด /jone-salad {pirate, buccaneer, bandit n.} To jumble “salad” in both English and Thai phoneme in one bowl without uniting their segmental units, it should imply ideas of flexibility, possibility, contingency, mixture, flux and flow, diversity, fusion, separation, juxtaposition, absurdity, absorbing, refusing, corrupting, outrage, illegal copying, scattering, struggling, revenge, freedom, crime, negation etc.

Moreover, it happens that this bowl of mixed languages’ phoneme reveals also ideas of political structure and its power relations embedded deeply in the opposite site – stiffness, impossibility, certainty, singularity, stillness, uniformity, disassociation, validity, reason, distracting, accepting, happiness, trustworthy, originality, monopoly, surrendering, sympathy, suppression, good deed, institution, etc.

If “salad” making can be considered as a culture of practices in some sort, these practices do not merge together into a single homogeneous culture. Rather, it connotes multiple juxtaposed layers of articles, and somehow of an idea of cultural pluralism. Within this space of practices, the physical entity of power over resources control becomes loose, and it allows the flow of heterogeneous sources of diversity of experiences in a new environment; as yet it consents to conflicts politically. Then choices of anything can be conceived of endless alternative. In this sense, “salad” is not a thing, but a simple survival tactic, serving cold people who are driven away from the center of power.

When objective properties of what so ever we call “a thing” do not really exist, it has no sense for a question to be asked about the “what” – it is better to seek for the “why” and “how”……of course you can go on asking what this show is all about.

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