For the 2011 Feitelson Arts Fellowship, multi-disciplinary artist Nuttaphol Ma combines references to Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come with a 130 miles performance where Ma sets sail with a boat over his head on May Day from Badwater Basin to the trailhead of Mt. Whitney. The personal odyssey meditates on the ebbs and flows of our existence, the power and the abuse of power subjected upon the powerless, the dreams of leaving and the dreams of roots.
Ma’s site-specific installation distills the performance to a two channel video projected onto sewn fabric walls. Using the dimensions of two blocks from the columns of the gallery space as a unit of measurement, Ma inverts the length horizontally to construct the wall surface made from discarded fabric from his ‘day job’.
The performance captures Ma’s interpretation of his dream. In the dream, Ma’s body rested inside a boat that washed ashore. He stepped out from the boat yet his physical body remained in the boat. By the river, steps led up a mountain side. Naga figures accompanied both sides of the path. Ma ascended only to realize half way that his physical body was still in the boat by the riverbank. He retraced back to the river and asked passerby to help him carry the boat with his body up the steps. They reached the top to what appeared to be a courtyard.