Cite as: Arnika Fuhrmann, ‘Flirting with Death: Contingency, Fantasy, and the Performance of Impossible Intimacies in the Video Art of Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’, talk presented at the lectures Art, Death, and Gender, ICI Berlin, 28 January 2010, video recording, mp4, 25:05 <>
28 Jan 2010

Flirting with Death

Contingency, Fantasy, and the Performance of Impossible Intimacies in the Video Art of Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook
By Arnika Fuhrmann
For almost a decade contemporary Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook worked exclusively with corpses in a hospital morgue. In her video performances, she reads passages from Thai classical literature and from her own erotic writing, sings to, converses with, and dresses the corpses. Investigating Araya’s long artistic history of intimacy with the dead, the talk follows the question of how loss and desire are made to relate in the films. It discusses how the videos defamiliarize popular depictions of female death and Buddhist forms of engaging with the dead in Thailand to sketch out a feminist anatomy of desire. The reversals between the dead and the living that are the hallmark of Araya’s art further provide the basis for the artist’s critique of inequalities of gender, agency, and longing. Rather than focus on the artwork’s relation to mourning, the talk thus examines how Araya’s video installations use the domain of death to proffer critiques of women’s current erotic possibilities.

Arnika Fuhrmann, fellow at the ICI Berlin since 2009, is an interdisciplinary scholar of Southeast Asia working at the intersections of the region’s aesthetic and political modernities. She completed her Ph.D. in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her ICI project examines Thai queer and feminist art in relation to contemporary local and transnational logics of minoritization and understandings of injustice.

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:25:05
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin

Part of the Lectures

Art, Death, and Gender / Sigrid Schade, Arnika Fuhrmann

The ICI event ‘Art, Death and Gender’ confronts two different ways of approaching the nexus between death and gender with means of art. The lectures will be followed by a discussion between Schade and Fuhrmann.


ICI Berlin
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Sigrid Schade
Arnika Fuhrmann

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ICI Berlin