Akeroyd Collection


Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Fireworks (Archives), 2014

Fireworks (Archives) is a short video work which serves as a companion to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s feature film Cemetery of Splendor, which was selected for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Fireworks (Archives) offers a contrasting and complementary perspective, where instead of the languid, sun-soaked melancholy of the larger work, a more deliberately disorienting, tangential experience is offered. Cemetery of Splendor follows the story of soldiers afflicted by a mysterious sleeping sickness, who are relocated to a former school-cum-makeshift clinic in Thailand's historically oppressed and politically marginalized northeast. At the clinic, one of the soldier’s notebooks is discovered filled with enigmatic writings and blueprint sketches, which reveals a potential connection between the soldiers' perplexing syndrome and an ancient mythical site hidden beneath the building. Fireworks (Archives) explores one of the film's pivotal locations, the Sala Keoku sculpture park. Weerasethakul presents the park's religiously inspired concrete sculptures of animals and gods in a way that heightens their symbolic and mythical status. By shooting at night, relying only on the strobing effects of spitting bangers, sparklers, and flare flashes to light the works, the usually static figures are eerily animated. In this hallucinatory setting, the central characters of Cemetery of Splendor materialize, interact, and vanish like ethereal apparitions amid the crackling noises and dazzling bursts of light. For Weerasethakul, the Sala Keoku sculpture park symbolizes the way in which an arid land with a history of political oppression has compelled its inhabitants to dream beyond the confines of mundane realities. The fantastical statues of Sala Keoku become a form of rebellion against the oppressive central government in Thailand, simultaneously commemorating the land's destruction and celebrating its liberation.

MediumSingle-channel video, 16:9, Dolby 5.1, colour
Duration6 minutes 42 seconds
Editionof 5 + 2 APs