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Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Dream and Memory
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Dream and Memory
Video Transcript

APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL: ‘Primitive’ is a very special memory of mine. It was in 2007 or even before that when I was really curious about home, and it linked with the movie ‘A Letter to Uncle Boonmee’. That’s when I was doing research about this guy, so I travel around the northeast of Thailand. And then I stumble into this small village, where there’s like a pretty brutal history.

I’m personally also quite curious about dreaming, so I was thinking maybe my work is really influenced from dreaming, my logic or illogic way of dreams which is so common. I mean in the dream itself, it’s just simple things. What I’m presenting here, it’s just tiny part of the memory. I’m so amazed and happy that it’s ongoing.

For the presentation at M+, it’s [an] ongoing journey. Here, the space offers some kind of vertical space. We play with a kind of floating lights. And you enter, you navigate through these dots of memories, and always with this giant teen with the ghost mask, welcoming you or becom[ing] like something really big, larger than life. And also there is flickering light that is reflected on the walls, also on the floor itself, and some movies are projected onto the glass where the image is. You can play [it] on your body. And so all this flickering is the ending of the show, it’s this music video. The title is ‘I’m Still Breathing’, so I think this pulse of light is like the show itself, It’s [saying], ‘Okay, I’m still alive’, my heart is beating here, in Hong Kong.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s multi-channel video installation Primitive invites viewers into memories from previous times.

In 2008, Apichatpong Weerasethakul travelled around his homeland in northeastern Thailand to research his feature film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010). He came across a village called Nabua and discovered its brutal history. During the Cold War era of the mid-20th century, Nabua was occupied by the Thai military for two decades. While under military control, villagers were brutally suppressed, raped, and even killed. They suffered both physically and mentally, seeking survival by fleeing into the surrounding forests. Weerasethakul spent two months in Nabua with a group of teenagers, observing their conversations, songs, and dreams, and captured the community’s buried memories and stories.

In this interview, Weerasethakul takes us into the gallery and discusses the origin and inspiration behind Primitive, and sharing the creative ideas behind the exhibition installation.

Video Credits

Produced by



Boundless Bound Production Limited


Anson Wong


Anson Wong, Eric Man


Anson Wong

M+ Producer

Mimi Cheung

M+ Curatorial Research

Silke Schmickl, Chanel Kong

M+ Text and Subtitle Editing

Amy Leung, LW Lam

Special Thanks

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Russell Storer

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