Friday, April 6, 2012

Archipelago Cinema: Thailand’s Floating Movie Theater

German architect Ole Scheeren designed and installed a truly awe-inspiring floating movie theater for the inaugural edition of a new film festival, "Film on the Rocks Yao Noi" in Nai Pi Lae lagoon on Kudu Island. Archipelago Cinema, as it was known, consisted of a floating screen, cradled between two towering rocks and a lush jungle tapestry. Boats ushered event attendees to a separate floating auditorium offering a spiritual and unique cinematic experience.

Beijing-based Scheeren fashioned his design after local fishermens' lobster rafts. The wooden frames were tied up by rubber straps to foam blocks and floated in the lagoon "almost like driftwood." He wanted to create "a sense of temporality, of randomness" where the pieces playfully joined together. The modular rafts, loosely assembled, were meant to replicate a floating archipelago of islands within the lagoon. Alas, upon the festival's conclusion, the rafts were disassembled, reconfigured, and reused by the local fishermen.

Scheeren described the project:

A screen, nestled somewhere between the rocks. And the audience… floating. Hovering above the sea, somewhere in the middle of this incredible space of the lagoon, focused on the moving images across the water. A landscape of pieces playfully joined together. A sense of temporality, randomness. Almost like drift wood. Or maybe something more architectural. Modular pieces, loosely assembled, like a group of little islands. A congregation of rafts as an auditorium. Archipelago Cinema.

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