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Karmic I
Open Signal, Portland, OR
Karmic I, photos by Samuel Gehrke

May Cat opens up about a huge influence in her life: a 90’s Thai ghost soap opera TV show that her grandmother puts on in the morning to wake her up for school. The show’s storyline features a staple of Southeast Asian ghost folklore, phi Krasue, a vampiric cannibalistic floating head of a woman with hanging organs, terrifying a rural village. Too young to understand, yet affected anyway, the artist traces her steps to investigate what exactly creates “a monster,” and what psychological structures and social control they enforce.

In this installation, the artist projected time delay clips of contemporary Thai horror movies (i.e.: Shutter, The Promise, Nang Nak, Ghost Mother) and her own performances and reinterpretations of horror.

Read Press Release from Open Signal

Karmic I is a four-part multimedia project that materializes as texts, lesson plans for youth, community events and a series of videos about Thai ghosts in media.
Through the use of multiple video monitors, New Media Fellow and multidisciplinary artist May Cat illustrates the common themes of reincarnation and the supernatural with mashups of Thai horror movies and soap operas — also known as lakorn.

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Video works in the show

Constructing Horror: When Terror is Self Aware

Deconstructing Horror