"Spirits of Maritime Crossing" is an experimental short film that links Venice and Bangkok through a journey of a wandering spirit played by internationally renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Written and directed by Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale, the film tells a story of a search for refuge and internal peace. On Abramovic’s ghostly voyage she encounters symbolic figures and visits sacred places. Through rituals, encounters, and teachings, she realises the departure of her soul from her body and finds relief. The film concludes with Abramovic’s contemplation in Venice, symbolising the end of her transformative quest.
The story unfolds as Abramovic emerges from San Michele, an intermediate realm full of graves that symbolises the intersection between life and death. At Piazza San Marco, she immerses herself in the crowd, draped in black. The choice of attire represents the profound anguish of humanity, encompassing the pains of war, violence and illness.
By the enchanting banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, Abramovic encounters a shadow puppeteer and his troupe, who perform politically satirical scenes, alluding to the ongoing global conflicts. Prompted by the puppeteer, Abramovic embarks on a quest to find the Monkey Master, guided by a little monkey. Navigating the canals of Bangkok Yai, the Venice of the East, Abramovic and her simian companion arrive at a Venetian Revival structure – the Monkey Master’s Den. Abramovic is blessed by the Master as he gives her a pure white robe, representing purity and rebirth. Continuing the spiritual odyssey, the duo embarks on a pilgrimage through Bangkok, visiting the sacred Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple, the captivating Mangkon Kamalawat Chinese temple, and a mystical tattoo den. The journey culminates at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, where a monk enlightens Abramovic about liberating her sorrowful soul. In a transformative moment, she realises her soul has transcended her physical form and experiences the sense of relief.
Returning to Venice beneath the iconic Bridge of Sighs, Abramovic, now dressed in white, sits alone in a gondola. Embracing solitude, she stands against the maritime breeze, gazing at the sacred Santa Maria della Salute, gradually fading into ethereal realms.