The Things That Take Us Apart series is a photography exhibition resulted from combining the experimental approach to relationships, exemplified in Tada’s early works, with on-site investigation and research employed in his previous series. This series was created during the artist’s residency in Chiang Mai for one month. where he acquainted himself with the area through reading local newspapers as well as physically exploring different locations, simply guided by memories and narratives retold by the locals. According to such information, the artist discovered that there are many entertainment venues in Chiang Mai that have abandoned due to multiple reasons from 2014. Nevertheless, there remains certain sites that continues to facilitate people’s needs to express themselves through ballroom dancing.
A ballroom dancing teacher once said, “To dance is to look at your partner like a mirror that casts your own reflection.” Therefore, dancing is perhaps similar to relationships in the sense that both require the collaborative effort of one person or more, regardless of whether that relationship is between “person to person” or “person to place”. This photo- graphic series is a step beyond for Tada: openly inviting strangers through a newspaper advertisement to participate in an experimental process that tests the possibilities of human interaction on the dance floor.
Within the duration of two hours, eight complete strangers of different backgrounds, gen- der, and physical appearance will get to know each other under the condition that they must proceed without wearing any form of clothing. Willingness to interact or forms of interaction is entirely up to the participants: dancing, eating, talking, reading, imitating animal behaviours, pretending that oneself is a mirror, etc. All of the actions that occur within the experiment are entirely uncontrolled and unscripted; the artist will only observe and record this event through photography.
Such mundane activities would seem ordinary if the participants are fully clothed. Clothes, then, functions as the defence mechanism against such tumultuous encounter between strangers, as well as the signifier of class and identity. Moreover, clothes represent certain etiquette, appropriateness, intention and even control of the wearer’s emotions. Without clothes, we face our authentic selves. Whether these participants will step out of their comfort zones or liberate themselves from all social ties, this series will transport you to the realm where the distinction between normality and abnormality is blurred.
This exhibition displays photographs as well as the artist’s books for the curious minds that are interested to have the remnants of such tumultuous experience in possession.
Curated by Kittima Chareeprasit
This exhibition would not have been possible without the support from Patsri Bunnag Foundation, Awagami Factory, Mae-Ruay Snack Food Factory Co., Ltd., Captain Barrel Co., Ltd. and all of those who participated.