San Francisco

Apichatpong Weerasethakul / Matrix 247

As a part of our ongoing partnership with Art Practical, today we bring you a feature from writer Matt Sussman on Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2007 video installation Morakot (Emerald), currently on view at the UC Berkeley Art Museum (BAM/PFA) in Berkeley, California.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Morakot (Emerald), 2007 (still); single-channel video projection; color, sound, 10:50 min., looped; museum purchase: bequest of Phoebe Apperson Hearst, by exchange. Courtesy of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Named after the abandoned Bangkok hotel in which it was filmed, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2007 video installationMorakot (Emerald) transforms the UC Berkeley Art Museum’s (BAM/PFA) small Matrix gallery into a kind of temporary residence. While the video can be viewed as a documentary sketch of a particular place at a particular time, it becomes, in the context of the installation, part of a modest proposal to visualize a subjective experience of memory that feels very much out of time.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Morakot (Emerald), 2007, Installation View

The nearly 11-minute looped video opens with a static shot inside a nondescript bedroom, empty save for some weathered furniture and the dust particles and feathers swirling in the natural light that streams through discolored curtains. The mostly static shots that follow, also of similarly derelict rooms, reveal that the camera is lingering not in someone’s home but in the titular hotel. Each shot is framed to place the viewer in the center of each room. As Weerasethakul’s camera takes in other details of the rooms—the peeling paint and stained mattresses, the barren closets and tacky wallpaper—increasing numbers of digitized motes are superimposed until the air in the hotel appears thick with some shimmering, efflorescent life force.

Read full article here.