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Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, The Class, 2005, video, color, sound, 16 minutes 30 seconds.

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

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Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, The Class, 2005, video, color, sound, 16 minutes 30 seconds.

A centerpiece of the Thai Pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale, the video The Class, 2005, shows Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook in her element: staging impossible conversations with interlocutors unable to respond. Standing by a blackboard, the artist peers over a row of cadavers. “Death is today’s topic,” she says. “Tell me what you think. Oh, you need some more time to think.” An uncomfortable silence sets in. Her audience lies on the floor, unresponsive. Their shriveled heads and feet, rendered a sickly yellow by the garish fluorescent light, emerge from the white drapes that cover their bodies. The artist looks up toward the camera as if holding out for a reply, not just from her dead students, but also from us. After a long pause, she continues, “As the atmosphere is very quiet, it may help a little if I begin.”

The Class was among the nineteen works—videos, photographs, and

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