SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

The Guardian of Things: Archaeology of Curating in Thailand

IMG 20160517 Vipash Purichanont
Mr Vipash Purichanont (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Date: 17 May 2016Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 17 May 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar

Jointly organised by CSEAS and the Contemporary Arts Research Seminar


The paper excavates into the development of curatorial practice in Thailand from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. It argues that the history of curatorship is not linear but consists of fractures as well as moments of arising and passing away. The term Bandarak, translated here as “The Guardian of Things,” was coined at the beginning of the twentieth century to name the position of curators in national museums. Consequently, Bandarak established a set of practices that alienated it from the development of curatorial practice and art institutions in the West, especially from their liberal origin. Throughout the modern history of Thailand, the existence of Bandarak as governmental apparatus also underlined its function as a technology of domination, from disciplinary power to biopower.

The second part of the paper focuses on the emergence of curatorial practice in contemporary art in Thailand that provides different approaches than the existing museological one. It discusses the 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirits, an art project by artist Kamin Lertchaiprasert, as a proposition for a curatorial practice that attempts to transform the techniques of domination into techniques of the self and seeks alternative possibilities of subjectivization.


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The Guardian of Things: Archaeology of Curating in Thailand

Speaker Biography

Vipash Purichanont is a postgraduate research student in Curatorial/Knowledge at Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London. He also works as an independent curator. He was a researcher-in-residence at dia/projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2010). His curatorial projects included: Kamin Lertchaipraset’s “31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit Laboratory @ Chicago” in United States (2011), “Concept Context Contestation: Art and the collective in Southeast Asia” at Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (2014) and “Couldn’t Care Less : Cross Cultural Live Art Project” at Deptford Lounge in Southeast London (2015). He also occasionally writes for baccazine and Bangkok Post. 

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