Mali Bucha: Dance Offering

Mali Bucha: Dance Offering is a creation inspired by the ancient Thai ritual ‘Rum-Kea-Bon’ where dance is a negotiation tool between human and higher beings for making our wishes come true. The most charming dancer – hired as a messenger from the people to higher beings – is able to enhance the likelihood of one’s wish fulfilment.

‘Rum-Kea-Bon’, a 400-year-old vernacular folk form, is effectively a ‘people’s dance’ and a space of aspiration and spirituality. Taking place in shrines commonly found at street corners, ‘Rum-Kea-Bon’ (literally translated as ‘dance offering’) has constantly evolved and adapted itself as a social and cultural practice in Thailand.

Kornkarn Rungsawang’s Mali Bucha: Dance Offering is a hybrid constellation of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and dance. In this immersive iteration of ‘Rum- Kea-Bon’, audience-participants cross between physical and immaterial worlds as they are invited to make wishes before a digital shrine. As an interface, Kornkarn shifts between the real-time audience and the digital portal, communicating individual hopes and wishes via dance to higher beings. She also conveys dance as thanksgiving when someone’s wish is fulfilled.

Animals and flowers abound as digital currencies – they are offered by the audience as tokens of aspiration and appreciation. The collective investment of the audience community gradually builds up the vitality of the digital shrine. The belief system in Mali Bucha: Dance Offering is constituted by a current flowing through economics and ecology, image and sound, old and new, the mundane and the transcendent.