Charoen Pavilion

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What does it mean to be contemporary? How do we occupy the present, as agents, artists, and practitioners? As any descriptor of a categorization of time is inadequate to grasp fully itself and perhaps it is just that. Charoen contemporaries inhabits not only the present, not only the contemporary but contemporaries. We are the catalysts for the simultaneous re-layering of time, and a resistance against its homogenization. If the word “contemporary” is traceable to the Medieval Latin of “con” (“with”) and “temporarius” (“of/in time”), then we are with / in time(s), enacting spatiotemporal pluralities, of the many once back-thens and over-theres to right-now and right-heres.

Once we abandon the othering of time, of letting the dead rest then we are contemporaries occupying various modes of the present that has not past and yet to come. There is no mere one contemporary but rather contemporaries, multiplications of possibilities both in our assembly and in our projects. We are those that persists in different modes of time yet have found ourselves together, of being contemporaries.

Charoen contemporaries inhabits a model where the definition of Charoen, as complex as its etymology exists in dynamic clouds of possibilities. Defined as interchangeable with civilized or the Thai Siwilai , Charoen once the growth of the immaterial matters, merit and maturity in the Khmer language has been modernized to carry the mantle of western induced progress, of technological advancements and the modernity project. We form a porous assembly that which realizes through the cloud of tangled possibilities another mode of being within progress, ones that runs counter, sideways, and in loops to the one we have found ourselves in.


Abhijan Gupta, Nut Srisuwan, Napat Vatanakuljaras, Pongsakorn Yananissorn