Archipelago Cinema


Project Description

Floating Auditorium by Ole Scheeren
Film on the Rocks Yao Noi, 2012
Curated by Tilda Swinton and Apichatpong Weerasethakul

When we first arrived at the lagoon, the water was calm. Nothing like the choppy boat ride that took us here. There was a beach, and a backdrop of a huge wall of rocks. Two smaller rocks stood like teeth out of the water, forming a porous enclosure, inscribing an almost circular space.

The thought of watching films here seemed surprising: 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.

Local fishermen farm lobsters on rafts. Wooden frames are tied by rubber straps to foam blocks wrapped in mosquito nets. A simple construction. A local technique. Adopted to build the floating cinema. Recycled wood and materials. Reusable modularity of the raft. Assembled, disassembled. Reconfigured, reused. After the screening, it will go back to the local community. As a stage, a playground. As an event platform, an assembly space. As something that belongs to them, that was merely borrowed. As something, that is flexible, that can be towed anywhere. And as something that can appear, from time to time, to host a few people watching movies.

Ole Scheeren, 2012

Archipelago Cinema is a collaboration between Ole Scheeren and the Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Foundation which is presided by Nat Sarasas, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chomwan Weeraworawit.

Design: Ole Scheeren
Assistant: Leonard Wong
Photographs Slide Show: Piyatat Hemmatat, Sixtysix Visual, Doug Bruce, Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Foundation

What the Media Says:

Archipelago Cinema attracted widespread acclaim from international media. Here is a selection of quotes:

“I was unprepared for how ethereal and wondrous it would look…It was, without doubt, one of the best nights of my movie-going life.”
– Jason Solomons, The Observer

“German architect Ole Scheeren has created what must be the world’s most dramatically located cinema.”
– Tom Robbins, Financial Times

“It was a strange, overwhelming, and incredibly distinctive experience.”
– Bangkok Post

“Floating on a raft in Thailand is an experience that dreams are made of, but add Ole Scheeren’s cinema to the equation and you’ll basically feel like you died and went to heaven.”
– Inhabitat

“Scheeren’s Archipelago Cinema consisted of a floating screen, cradled between two towering rocks, and a separate raft-like auditorium, together offering a spiritual and vaguely primordial cinematic experience.”
– Architizer