Reveal the Concept Behind SilentDREAM by Chitti Kasemkitvatana

Chitti Kasemkitvatana, an independent artist and curator, is one of 73 artists of BAB 2022. He composes ideas linking to occurrences in different ‘areas and different ‘time, and then conveys such ideas in the form of ‘Sound Wave’ as in the latest artwork of SilentDREAM at The Prelude One Bangkok.

Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) is an international contemporary art festival which has been organized continuously in various areas of Bangkok since 2018. In this 2022, the festival returns under the theme of “Chaos: Calm” to confirm the concept that artwork does not exist solely for satisfying human aesthetic needs, but it is also a channel to reflect environmental change and social occurrence as well as to convey intangible stories to be concrete.


Chitti Kasemkitvatana, an independent artist and curator, is one of 73 artists of BAB 2022. He composes ideas linking to occurrences in different ‘areas and different ‘time, and then conveys such ideas in the form of ‘Sound Wave’ as in the latest artwork of SilentDREAM at The Prelude One Bangkok.


SilentDREAM, an Untouchable Zone


“Where is the place we are? What is our time? How do we know or understand our place and time?” These are Chitti’s starting questions in creating the artwork of SilentDREAM, a name of a place near Mount Kailash at the north of India which he found from searching the internet. 


“I wonder what this place is and who named it. I don’t even know whether it really exists. However, someone has pinned it in Google Maps and I am interested in it because it is exactly what I was trying to understand. May be we know Bangkok from available datasets or from our memory, but what are other ways for us to understand Bangkok. Particularly at present, understanding a particular place is no longer solely limited by geographical boundaries, as we can study both tangible and intangible matters such as history, literature, or recorded photographs. Searching information through these ways is like leading us to a place where this is no past and no future. At the same time, the past can become our future. For example, we may slightly understand one place but after we have read history about this place, our understanding about it may be changed i.e., the past is our future. In my view, therefore, when talking about history and time, there may not be real past or future as a straight line but it is more like a zigzag journey.”


Storytelling through Sounds


One of the uniqueness in Chitti’s artwork is the focus on the process of creative work creation as much as on the outcome to always open chances for audience to expand ideas to get answers or other issues. Quit often we see audience spends much time on Chitti’s artworks.


“I would like to encourage or do something to make audience feel that my works are dimensional and intriguing. The function of art should not only for entertainment but it can encourage idea exchange. Therefore, I started this work piece from searching information, and find way to transfer the obtained information to audience. Some artists may explain it in texts and images, some may use datasets to create objects, and some may combine the two methods. Regarding my work, I do not focus only on visual objects but I would rather focus on invisible matters and then expand the outcome according to the target and the venue.


The ‘venue’ of Chitti here is “The Prelude One Bangkok” where the first radio telegraph station of Thailand was located. Chitti chooses to present “Sound Wave” for conveying the available datasets by working collaboratively with Pradit Saengkrai, a lecturer of Rangsit University Conservatory of Music, to convert 4 images into sound wave.


“I consult with Pradit about the way to convert images into sound wave because I want viewers to sense the images in another dimension. Thus, he converted all images into sound and transferred it to another program functioning as a filter to sequence 4 sound types to revolve in 4 loudspeakers. The sound heard in each round is different, depending on the calculated outcome. Accordingly, the process links with the quantum physics concept which I am interested in. Particles of each substance have their own ways to move, flow, and influence among one another with effects on the overall change.”


However, Chitti intends to make all sounds different because he has initially determined all the outcome to produce particular sound types to close the chance for other possibility to occur. “We are creating new things by referring to photos in the past and present, and then processing them to find out what forms will come out in the future. As we cannot see the pictures ahead, we use sound to describe the process. If we stand with closed eyes in the middle of the room even without concentrating on the photos, we will sense movement from non-existent matters leading us to another place. The heart of this performance is to present something intangible.”    


Overlapping images of past and present stories


The photos which Chitti uses for converting into sound wave are 2 photos of moral paintings of Khrua In Khong at Wat Borom Niwat Temple; a photo of 17.11.2563 by Viriya Chotpanyavisut; and a photo of Bangkok Dream which Chitti overlaps the photo of the spiky gene structure of the coronavirus 2019 on the ancient map of Nai Worn Nai Sorn B.E. 2439 (Bangkok Map 1896) made during the reign of King Rama V.


“I think that Khrua In Khong’s mural paintings at Wat Borom Niwat Ratchaworawihan is the master plan of modernity and civilization which Siam wanted to reach. King Rama IV ordered Khrua In Khong to insert western knowledge of astronomy into these moral paintings. The photo of 17.11.2563 shows the political movement of students. I don’t think about left-right politics, or right or wrong. I just perceive that everything supports and drives changes. My works present changes in politics, societies, and arts.”


“I entitle the last photo as Bangkok Dream because this photo involves with current events. This map is the early map illustrating Bangkok area with clarity and accuracy according to the international principle. It is a part of the national reform and nation-state building process, and at the same time the outbreak of the major epidemics i.e., cholera and plague. King Rama V introduced western medical methods to deal with the epidemics by allowing the government to use some areas for quarantining sick people and taking medicines for treatment at home. This is consistent to the measures for managing COVID in Thailand at present.”


According to all these photos, although the “time periods” are different, the events occurring in the past and present are very consistent.


From Replicas of Rama Yantra to A Tale of SilentDREAM


Another two workpieces presented by Chitti in this exhibition are Replicas of Rama Yantra made by Thakol Khaosa-ad, and A Tale of SilentDREAM written by Kamolwan Boonphokaew and Pattara Danutra (English Translation). Replicas of Rama Yantra is an observatory miniature of Indian people in the past whereas A Tale of SilentDREAM is in the form of a story for enabling viewers to easily understand the workpieces in front of them. 


For Chitti, his series of artworks links various points together in order to open chances for viewers with different interests to participate with the work and expand the ideas according to personal contexts. 


 “I use Replicas of Rama Yantra as a simulator because it has the space which may not be here but I don’t know where it is. If we connect Replicas of Rama Yantra with the sky and deities in the paintings of Khrua In Khong at Wat Borom Niwat, it can be read in another way. People interested in stargazing or cosmology may think in one way but people interested in history or murals may have other perspectives. People interested in sound frequency may pay attention at the monitor to watch the display of photo conversion etc. Therefore, each viewer used their personal interest in viewing the exhibition which many channels are available”.   


(Read A Tale of SilentDREAM at the website


One Bangkok supports and expresses intention to promote value of art and cultural heritage, to elevate value of creative economy for the sustainable city and community through the international contemporary art festival of Bangkok Art Biennale 2022 during October 22, 2022 – February 23, 2023. Anyone interested to view work of Chitti Kasemkitvatana can visit The Prelude One Bangkok.


(Click for a route map:


Artist Information: Chitti Kasemkitvatana


Born in 1869, Bangkok, Thailand


The artworks of Chitti Kasemkitvatana are based on the main concept of temporariness and emptiness of existence or non-existence/absence by focusing on nature of impermanence. After working in arts in Bangkok throughout 1990s, Chitti Kasemkitvatana spent 8 years in seclusion at Wat Pa (2002 – 2010). Since then, he has disseminated artistic concepts to principles in social practice, initiatives, encounters, networks, and freedom space for artwork, curating work, educational work, and publication all of which are equally important. At the turn of the millennium, he worked with an artist, Rirkrit Tiravanija, for publishing VER Magazine and organizing exhibition for About Art Foundation (AARA) at About Studio/About Café. Since 2011, he was a part of artists to produce a lot of projects including Messy Project Space, Messy Sky Magazine, encrypted/decrypted exhibitions as a curator, and the latest work of The Immeasurable and World's End (JWD Art Space, 2022).


For artwork creation, Chitti focuses on the period when the world and different boundaries become “porous”. Periods and different disciplines are interdependent in various perspectives. He is also interested in how different concepts of space and time have effects on social structures and individual daily life, and how these matters are expressed in conversation, even in a fighting form. He combined historical sources and contemporary cultures in his research including Thai modernity path, scientific suggestions, and poetic indicators of spacetime, leading to links between current and historical events in a wide area. His recent exhibition is The Tenebrous Spiral Staircase of the — (Gallery VER, 2021), and Stories We Tell To Scare Ourselves With (MOCA Taipei, 2019). He received funds from the project of DAAD Artist-in-Berlin in 2014. At present, Chitti lives and works in Bangkok. 

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