Untitled 1991/2008 (shall we dance)
November 17, 2023
For his exhibition A LOT OF PEOPLE, Rirkrit Tiravanija (Thai, b. 1961) stages five interactive artworks as a series of plays. In untitled 1991/2008 (shall we dance), an actor invites visitors to dance to the song “Shall We Dance” from the 1956 musical film The King and I. Based on a popular Broadway musical, the film tells the story of an English governess who travels to Thailand (then Siam) to tutor the children of the king. In the scene Tiravanija references, the governess teaches the king to dance in a Western style. By recasting and traversing the east/west, civilized/uncivilized binaries that the film perpetuates, the artist creates a platform for animated encounters between strangers.