At Thailand's floating movie theater, the film is only part of the moviegoing experience. That's because this cinema is located right on top of a blue-green Thai lagoon.
The new take on drive-in -- or boat-in -- movies was designed by German architect Ole Scheeren for the inaugural edition of a new film festival, Film on the Rocks Yao Noi in Nai Pi Lae lagoon on Kudu Island. The festival aspires to become an alternative platform upon which different worlds converge in order to start a dialogue with not only each other, but also the environment, human and natural, with which it co-exists.
Archipelago Cinema, as it was known, was tucked away inside a bay surrounded by towering island rocks and a lush jungle tapestry March 9-13. It offered filmgoers, including the likes of Tilda Swinton, the opportunity for a more spiritual experience. Boats ushered event attendees to their floating seats at screenings under the starry skies at the lagoon center.
The paradisiacal hovering cinema may have been the most beautiful place on earth to catch a flick -- but the fleeting marvel is now just a memory.
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. Upon the festival's conclusion, the rafts were disassembled, reconfigured, and reused by the local fishermen.
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 everywhere / And as something that can appear, from time to time, to host a few people watching movies.