Memory, Market and Migratory Transition

A multimedia exhibition by Bundith Phunsombatlert
Curated by Maymanah Farhat

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is pleased to present Memory, Market, and Migratory Transition, a multimedia exhibition by Bundith Phunsombatlert.

Based on the mechanic system of View-Master stereoscopes and reels, in addition to the design features and function of baggage carousels, Memory, Market, and Migratory Transition explores the dominance of mediated experience in contemporary culture as seen through a journey into imagined and physical spaces. The moving images of the project, displayed in the form of a three-dimensional View-Master reel built of small television monitors, are recorded from the vantage points of three different topics: landmark scenery in memory; transportation of commodities in the market; and the transition of migration.

The installation is initially inspired by Phunsombatlert’s childhood memories of playing with a View-Master and the various reels that his family collected. Growing up in a middle class family in Bangkok, Thailand, the handheld machine was a way for Phunsombatlert to see the world, from the Seven Wonders of the World to the Tulip season in Holland. Although the slides of the binocular toy are limited in their potential to understand the complexities of each place, and perpetuate Western notions of consumerism, the View-Master’s rotating mechanics and 3-D small color photographs simulate a transition in themselves between still and moving images, and momentarily suspend our perception of imagined versus real or physical places. The implied journey from one slide to another is also meaningful for Phunsombatlert as a media artist who focuses on interactive site-specific projects that use the concept of imaginative space to disrupt various social contexts.

Drawing from the Essex Street Market, the artist will also explore how products are transported from their local sources to international marketplaces using the metaphoric representation of a baggage carousel’s circular movement, which is similar to that of the View Master’s system.

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Bundith Phunsombatlert is a media artist living and working in New York City and Bangkok. He received a MFA in Digital+Media from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010; and a BFA and MFA in Printmaking from Silpakorn University, Thailand, in 1996 and 2000. He has been awarded grants and residencies from the New York State Council on the Arts (2013); Harpo Foundation (2012); MacDowell Colony (2011); Skowhegan (2009); Asian Cultural Council (2007); Second Prize, UNESCO Digital Arts Award: ISEA (2004); and Pollock-Krasner Grant (2001). His work has been exhibited at Flushing Meadows Corona Park/Queens Museum (2014), NYC DOT’s Urban Art Program, New York (2013); Socrates Sculpture Park, New York (2012); Location One, New York (2011); The 4th Auckland Triennial, New Zealand (2010); and The Third Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008); The National Gallery, Thailand (2004); and The Third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Australia (1999).

Maymanah Farhat is a New York-based art historian and curator. Farhat is the artistic director and editor of publications of Ayyam Gallery (Damascus, Beirut, Dubai, London), co-editor of Jadaliyya Culture, and a curatorial advisor to the Arab American National Museum. She has organized exhibitions at international art spaces and institutions including the Virginia Commonwealth University Gallery, Qatar; the Arab American National Museum, USA; and the Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon. Her writings have appeared in Callaloo Journal, Art JournalJournal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Apollo magazine, and Art + Auction magazine, among other periodicals, in addition to artist monographs, exhibition catalogues, and edited volumes. In 2014, she was listed among Foreign Policy‘s 100 Leading Global Thinkers.

Cuchifritos is FREE to the public and handicap accessible. Located inside Essex Street Market at the south end nearest Delancey.

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is a program of Artists Alliance Inc., a 501c3 not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This program is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the following for their generous support: Marie and John Zimmerman Foundation, New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers, without whom this program would not be possible.