Canal Projects Presents Inaugural Exhibition Korakrit Arunanondchai: Songs For Dying And Songs For Living

Visual Arts




Songs for living, 2021, Korakrit Arunanonchai, 20:53 HD Video

New York, September 6, 2022Canal Projects, a new visual arts nonprofit located at 351 Canal Street in downtown Manhattan, will present two large scale video installations by Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai as its inaugural exhibition, in what will be the artist’s first New York show in over eight years. Songs for living (2021) — which was created in collaboration with artist and director Alex Gvojic — will be presented in an immersive installation on the building’s main floor while Songs for dying (2021) is projected in the building’s smaller, more intimate showspace downstairs. An opening reception will be held at Canal Projects on September 29th from 6-8pm, and is free and open to the public with limited entrance permitted.

A visual artist, filmmaker and storyteller, Arunanondchai employs his versatile practice to tell stories embedded in cultural hybridity and transplantation. His highly experimental works provide the public with immersive and participatory experiences of political and ritualistic nature. As a multidisciplinary artist, Arunanondchai creates high production videos, performances, and sound pieces in collaboration with artists, filmmakers, musicians, and writers.

On view at Canal Projects will be his two most recent videos: Songs for dying and Songs for living (both 2021). Each of the videos is narrated by multiple voices and have a cast of the shaman, the ghost, the King, spirits, monks, nâgas, soldiers, family members, animals, trees, deities, and mythical figures, all woven together and transforming into one another. On Canal Projects’ main floor, Songs for Living is presented in an elaborate manner; a projector will beam the film into a mirrored pool of water which reflects it onto the opposite wall. Featuring a booming soundtrack made in collaboration with Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt, a robotic hand installed on the pool will periodically manipulate the water timed to the soundtrack’s piano. The effect will further distort the projection and create different experiences in repeat viewing. Artist-made traditional Thai spirit homes and denim cushions will be arranged throughout the space to create a communal space for more immersive viewing.

Songs for dying, 2021, Korakrit Arunanonchai, 30:18 HD Video

Created in collaboration with artist and director Alex Gvojic, Songs for living features narration by singer Zsela reading text from Simon Weil’s Gravity and Grace and Eduard Glissant’s essays Soleil de la conscience (Sun of consciousness). Songs for living is presented in saturated blue and orange curtains of light. Spirits dance around a fire in a ritualistic fashion that is at times grotesque, at others mesmerizing. This is contrasted by clips of winged motorcyclists racing through New York City.

Installed as a traditional projection in Canal Project’s basement space – thematically tying into the idea of burial – Songs for dying (2021) is presented in three acts, depicting a process of dying that is not final in nature, but instead serves as a possibility for the creation of new forms of existence. Within the film are sporadic clips of political upheaval, rituals of mourning, and a shaman character painted in white. Scenes from the 1958 South Korean Jeju Massacre, where over 30,000 civilians were killed by its military dictatorship are shown in relation to the protests and grieving practices that were performed after speaking of the events was outlawed by the South Korean National Assembly.

About Korakrit Arunanondchai
A visual artist, filmmaker and storyteller, Korakrit Arunanondchai employs his versatile practice to tell stories embedded in cultural transplantation and hybridity. His body of work engages with a multitude of subjects primarily based around the forms in which people gather, seen through the political and ritualistic means. Surpassing a solitary artist, Arunanondchai is an avid collaborator who has worked on videos, performances and music together with an extensive list of people including his family and friends.

About Canal Projects
Canal Projects is a nonprofit contemporary art institution dedicated to supporting forward-thinking international artists at pivotal moments in their careers. Through production, exhibition, research and interpretation of the work, Canal Projects intends to foster artistic practices that challenge and reflect on the current moment. Visit for further details.

About YS Kim Foundation
Canal Projects is generously supported by the YS Kim Foundation, a New York-based 501(c)(3) organization that provides general support grants and implements innovative programs to help underrepresented and emerging artists and their communities thrive. YS Kim Foundation envisions a world where people and communities grow and flourish with culture, creativity, opportunities, and connection. Its mission is to support, mobilize, and open new pathways of success for artists, children, young leaders, communities, and organizations. It does this by starting new initiatives and providing grants and scholarships to organizations and students.


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