Art as dissensus: Thai contemporary art against hyper-royalism phenomenon
This thesis discusses works by five Thai contemporary artists, Prapat Jiwarangsan, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Harit Srikhao, Tada Hengsapkul and Paphonsak La-Or. It explores how these artists use their artistic practices to question and criticise the most powerful political institution – the monarchy. Thinking through Ranciere’s notion of aesthetics and politics, this thesis will argue that artists armed with a creative weapon such as art do not need to directly criticise the monarchy as they are protected by the lese majeste law and cultural conditions such as taboo and religion. Still, they can use their artworks to create a unique experience that is strongly dissimilar from the audience’s everyday experience, which will invoke them to question the given experience dominated by the royalist sensibilities. Silence and absence can become effective tools to contrasting with the hypervisibility of the monarchy.