Write a prompt and ask the others to continue the story based on the Thai superstitious belief of planting lemongrass to stop the rain.
A lot of lemongrass scattered on the ground...
(1.) Harry felt he had done everything he could to prevent his birthday party from becoming a disaster. He didn't want any rain to stop the party. So he made sure he met the requirements.
Asking his teenage neighbour girls to plant the lemongrass. Because Harry took a lot of preparation for this party. He rented a tent, a German folklore band, an air castle and a house.
But the whole neighbourhood that was invited. (2.) didn’t believe that the party would happen.
"Even if the lemongrass is planted, were they virgins?" asked the often grumpy old man Willis who lived at the end of the street. Old man Willis never had much nice to Say. Harry was the opposite. This always caused problems in the neighbourhood. Harry explained the tradition, something he had learned from a Thai friend. It's fun anyway, he thought to do something like this. Lemongrass has probably never been planted in Dutch grass ever before. (3.) HE DECIDED TO GRAB THE LEMONGRASS AND TRIED TO PLANT IT IN THE LAND OF DUTCH. BUT IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!! HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? THE DUTCH GROUND DOESN'T LET THE LEMONGRASS IN! IS IT BECAUSE HE IS A MAN? NOT A VIRGIN WOMAN? HE CAN'T BELIEVE IT AND TRY TO KNOCK ON A NEIGHBOUR'S DOOR TO….
Last night, I dreamt of a lemongrass...
(1.)IT’S VERY FRESH AND HUGE. IT DOESN’T SEEM LIKE NORMAL LEMONGRASS. IT LIES ON THE GROUND BEFORE GRADUALLY FLOATING INTO THE AIR. BY THE TIME IT GETTING HIGHER, I SAW HANDS AND LEGS GROWING OUT OF ITS BODY. SUDDENLY, THE RAIN IS FALLING DOWN, I THINK THE STORM IS COMING. BUT IT'S KINDA WEIRD BECAUSE THE SKY IS STILL BRIGHT. I DECIDED TO LEAVE MY BEDROM (2.) LOOKING OUT THIE WINDOW, THE STREET IS FILLED WITH LEMONGRASS WITH HANDS AND LEGS, RUNNING AWAY FROM THE SUNLIGHT TOWARDS THE STORM. HUNDREDS
MAYBE THOUSANDS, IN THE DISTANCE, I CAN SEE THEM BEING PICKED UP BY THE STORM
CARRIED INTO THE AlR, (3.) the same rain clouds it tries to defeat are now consuming the lemongrass, being chewed up and spit out. The leafy green limbs falling from the sky, one lands on the roof of a car, and the alarm goes off BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. Did My alarm just go off? It's still dark, but it feels like morning. I wipe my tired eyes and reach for the glass of water next to my bed, but I Knock it over, realizing my hands and arms are also lemongrass! Thunder sands, lightning flashes, the rain outside continues to fall…
You look up to the sky, and the massive lemongrass is falling down...
(1.)You’re experiencing a feeling of relief. But now the anxiety is kicking in…
“How am I going to make them believe that I am still a virgin?" you ask yourself.
“Why is this important anyway?…” “Why is my virginity connected to stopping the rain?”
(2.) “OR IS THERE ANYTHING TO DO WITH MY PERIOD? WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE THAT ONE DAY THE RAIN IS GOING TO BE BLOODY?... I LOST MY MIND WHEN THINKING ABOUT THAT. SUDDENLY, A LEMONGRASS HIT THE GROUND, AND IT SCARED ME THAT IT FEELS LIKE EARTHQUAKE. (3.) In my mind, there is rain pouring over me all the time. I plant a lemongrass to stop the water. Because I feel I have been fed too much lately. Water gives life, but too much of life makes you drown. I have been feeling even more shit ever since my period started. The world rumbles. My soul whispers: "Stop the rain” Still am a virgin. A virgin to happiness.
You look at the lemongrass and realize you are...
(1.) a hopeless, troubled human. It has been raining for days, maybe weeks. Has it already been a year?. You start to wonder if it ever has rained at all, or if those water drops were just tears.
Either way, they have washed away memories, and maybe also hope for a brighter, sunnier day. Why do we associate emotion with the weather? You think to yourself about this for a moment. Silly traditions, Surely the people living in the darkness of Iceland or the never ending rainfall of the Netherlands, surely there must be hopeful, happy people there. Surely, they can do it without lemongrass. Can I? You? (2.) As I am walking through the kitchen, I can’t figure out why I feel so heavy all of a sudden. Again I look at the clouds that are hanging above our house.
It feels that cloud has been here hanging for as long as I can remember.
Why did she leave our house? What were her thoughts and why didn’t I know? Will she come back? And will this could ever go away? (3.) I look at the lemongrass and wonder what to do with it. Could it really make the rain stop? And would that make any difference? I put on the kettle to boil water. I'll make some tea from the lemongrass, It won’t get better, but also not worse.
You see a woman planting lemongrasses upside down in the ground…
(1.) She moves slowly and meticulously, seemingly unaware of her environment. The soil is wet, and with each footstep, her bare feet sink into the mud.
A young boy walks past on a nearby path, on his way to school carrying a heavy bag. He halts for a moment standing in the rain, watching the woman, then decides to run off,
(2.) He knew it the moment he saw her. She was the girl on TV. The one that was missing for weeks. They said she was abducted. The woman was believed to have special powers which could bring happiness and fortune. Now she was walking around through this plain field.
She must have been kidnapped by one of the local farmers because she can stop the endless amount of rain and save the harvest. So the boy ran and ran. He kept running.
(3.) When he comes home, he turns on his computer screen. He opens the news websites and stares in the eyes of Lilly Waterford, the girl who went missing. Was she happy? Was she so in danger? Was it her own choice to be in the field? Why was she alone and what seemed to be at peace if she happened to be kidnapped? Should call the police? or should I go back to ask her myself?
Choose the sentences/terms and construct new story
I can’t figure out why I feel so heavy.
Was it her own choice to be in the field?
Even if the lemongrass is planted, were they virgins?
surely there must be hopeful, happy people there?
The soil is wet, and with each footstep, her bare feet sink into the mud.
It feels like morning.
THE STREET IS FILLED WITH LEMONGRASS.
It won’t get better, but also not worse.
being chewed up and spit out.
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE THAT ONE DAY THE RAIN IS GOING TO BE BLOODY?
You start to wonder if it ever has rained at all, or if those water drops were just tears.
It won’t get better, but also not worse.
THE DUTCH GROUND DOESN'T LET THE LEMONGRASS IN
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
He kept running.
a hopeless, troubled human.
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
He didn't want any rain to stop the party.
slowly and meticulously
IT LIES ON THE GROUND BEFORE GRADUALLY FLOATING INTO THE AIR.
Even if the lemongrass is planted, were they virgins?
hope for a brighter, sunnier day.
too much of life makes you drown.
I plant a lemongrass to stop the water.
THE DUTCH GROUND DOESN'T LET THE LEMONGRASS IN!
She was the girl on TV. The one that was missing for weeks.
Should call the police?
21 Sept 2023
1 What do you want to make?
A short film called ‘To My Motherland‘ (working title) explores the issues hidden behind Thailand’s deep-rooted superstitions and rituals—the profound impact of these rituals on societal problems such as inequality, capitalism, and sexism. The film will be narrated through an ironic and thought-provoking voice.
2 How do you plan to make it?
I am fully committed to overseeing every aspect of this project, from pre-production to post-production.
Research: My first step will be immersing myself in the rich superstitions and cultural rituals deeply ingrained in Thailand's heritage. I will comprehensively research contemporary(?) media (songs, music videos, films, news, and books) and collective experiences. I will select beliefs that resonate with pressing social issues: inequality, capitalism, and sexism. These beliefs will be the foundation for my fictional script, shaping a narrative that explores a subversive and fantastical world where marginalized groups gain power.
Collaboration: While I will take on the role of director of photography, I am enthusiastic about collaborating closely with my fellow performers throughout the production process. Their insights and creativity will be invaluable in shaping the narrative and characters. There will be instances where I may require assistance, particularly during shoots in specific locations.
Post-production: I plan to take charge of editing and color grading for the film. However, I anticipate needing support in sound mixing to ensure the audio elements complement the visual experience seamlessly.
3 What is your timetable?
September - October 2023 — Gather the research on superstitious beliefs and Finalise the ideas reflecting social inequality, capitalism, and sexism. Try different storytelling approaches.
October - November 2023 — Continue experimenting with storytelling and writing the (fictional) script. Find performers to collaborate with/ a team to work with, and make a shooting plan.
November - December 2023 — Finalize storyboard/storytelling approach.
December - January 2024 — Shooting and Editing.
January - March 2024 — Editing and sound Design. (Shooting more if needed)
March - April 2024 —Color-grading. And fixing according to the feedback.
May - June 2024 — Thinking about installation.
4 Why do you want to make it?
I realize that the society I grew up in is problematic regarding gender inequality and the uneven distribution of wealth. I lost hope in living in a community where I would never get more wealthy no matter how hard I worked due to the broken society structure.
As the problematic notions are deep-rooted and society hasn’t changed for a hundred years, It scared me to admit I got used to them. It motivated me to scrutinize the mundane concepts or rituals that pressed me as a Thai middle-class woman. I try to shift the anger to be the motivation to create this work.
5 Who can help you and how?
I plan to invite Sunny, a Thai female actress, and Baoxin, a fellow performer based in Rotterdam, to perform in this film. Regarding shooting production, I plan to invite Earnie to be the producer or production assistant. Ask J. to do sound design.
But it also depends on the production scale.
6 Relation to previous practice
I plan to use humorous and ironic voices to tell a heavy story like I did in my previous mockumentary film titled "The Holy Sponge." As well as create a fictional world in which mundane objects/people have lots of power. Also, delve into superstitious beliefs that seem ridiculous and not real. Keep presenting a particular thing in a commercial aspect (?). I am still considering continuing the idea of presenting the film in a mockumentary format.
7 Relation to a larger context
- Fisher (2014, p.125) reminded us, "Home is where the haunt is."
- Go beyond superstitious beliefs from Thailand; research collective memory/experiences in superstitious beliefs from different countries.
- Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture (Book by Philip Cornwel-Smith)
I will research more on superstition/patriarchy/feminist/poverty-related books.
- Where are you going to be in this work? Positioning within/towards story.
- K-Punk, Fisher
- Can you give some examples of rituals and superstitions that you might involve in the project? Also how they relate to your experiences in how they impact everyday life (and relate to larger themes like patriarchy/capitalism/...) that helps make it more alive and concrete for the reader.
- How are you going to research it? Collaboration part could be very interesting, to bring more perspectives in and it could be a docu-fiction.
- What do you mean with performers performing the film? Reenactment of rituals, imitating them.
- Immersion: how would you do that? At first planned to perform each ritual that was researched.
- Process of script writing is interesting. Tries to create different scripts. There is a belief that if yo see a hue tree with a unusual shape, there is a spirit living there and yo can get a lucky number to win the lottery by touching bark. In fictional script I try to explain how I transcribe the visual into a number. I made an amulet that will show you the number.
- Sabine can help with script writing.
- Strong part of your practice is humorous approach to topic. Making characters that are funny but dark. Message is clear but not in a boring way.
- wonders if it will be clear if you don't make the connection between ritual and the desired effect.
- relation between critique and understanding the function of ritual and superstition in peoples lives.
- Like the idea of making your own ritual.
- How do you see this presented? One screen combined with one installation element.
14 Sep 2023
Develop from Project That May or May Not Be Made (Y1)
A short film called ‘To My Motherland‘ (working title) explores Thailand’s deep-rooted superstitions and rituals. Blending documentary and fiction, the narrative reveals ritual performances that shed light on issues of social inequality, capitalism, and sexism.
I will take full charge of all pre-production and post-production processes; meaning I will do research, write the fictional script, edit, and color-grading by myself. However, in the production process, I plan to collaborate with my fellow performers. Even though I plan to be the director of photography for the project, I will need some assistance in shooting in a site-specific location.
Firstly, gathering and researching Thailand’s deep-rooted superstitions and rituals. Then, I will select beliefs that reflect on social inequality, capitalism, and sexism issues. I plan to write a fictional script based on the selected beliefs. In the editing process, I will find the archive footage related to those beliefs and edit it with the footage I shot.
September - October 2023 — Research and Finalise the beliefs that reflect on social inequality, capitalism, and sexism issues. October 2023 — Writing the fictional script, finding performers to collaborate with, and shooting. November 2023 — December 2023 Shooting and Editing. January - March 2024 — Editing and sound mixing. (Shooting more if needed) March - April 2024 —Color-grading. And fixing according to the feedback. May - July 2024 — Feedback and Fixing.
‘To My Motherland‘ will be presented as a hybrid of documentary and fiction which is similar to my previous mockumentary film titled ‘The Holy Sponge’. Both films speak about the deep-rooted beliefs/cliché stories in Thailand. I will mainly focus on using a sarcastic voice narration as well as explore the spiritual connection to my motherland.
In this MA, I have chosen to create work based on political issues and focus on ironic and fictional narration. Simultaneously, I continue to find different ways/structures to create work.
Pick a (Thai) superstitious belief/ritual and make up a short fictional story based on that ritual. (could be free writing)
1. RUBBING TREE BARK FOR LUCKY NUMBER.
There is a vast flower tattoo on my right leg. It started as a fun idea in a strange place with buzzing machines. The person doing it was mysterious, and they asked what I wanted. I saw it: a unique flower, not like any other. It covers my leg with pink petals like two of 3 facing one another.
2. RUBBING TREE BARK FOR LUCKY NUMBER.
A woman in a white dress lay down on the grass next to a massive tree with colorful mesh wrapping around it. She is not conscious but seems comfortable in that position.
3. RUBBING TREE BARK FOR LUCKY NUMBER.
FAKE INTERVIEW SCRIPT.
I would like to speak from the Thai people’s perspective.
We are ambitious. Even if our country is a developing country, we never stop seeking ways to get rich.
We realize that our unique ability is to communicate with the spirits. So we take it seriously.
Moreover, we believe that the holy tree can give us lucky numbers for winning the lottery.
Different people have different rubbing techniques. The most common technique is applying powder on the bark before rubbing with your fingers until the lucky numbers appear.
Personally, the best technique for me is worshipping the colorful mesh and thumb amulets. (GET 2 FOR 99 EURO)
Every time I worshipped them, I always got lucky numbers. Do not get frustrated if you can’t decode the lucky numbers immediately. It is not uncommon for people to dream of these numbers after participating in this ritualistic worship act.
I once dreamt of two ducks, I interpreted them to be 27 (7 sounds like ‘duck’ in Thai).
Oh, I got lots of money.
Yes, Thai people have such a big imagination. We’re always craving for some excitement.
We do believe in the next life. Most of us know that no matter how hardworking we are,
we will never be rich in this life. Maybe we will be born rich in the next life.
Taking a risk in the lottery is the answer. If we win the lottery, we will be rich now.
4. PLANTING LEMONGRASS UPSIDE DOWN TO STOP THE RAIN.
I woke up in the middle of the night. It was still dark and cloudy outside, and through my big window, I saw a flock of birds, their shadows dancing in the moonlight. I lay in bed, shivering from a haunting nightmare.
In my dream, a female ghost appeared. Her sad eyes pierced my soul as her spooky voice whispered, "Can you show me the society I could take these lemongrasses to?" I nodded, and the ghost's face softened, gratitude in her eyes.