Shatter your mind at this psychedelic Bangkok temple show (Video)

A hypnotic spectacular of light and sound at the gorgeous Wat Suthi Wararam, produced by Bodhi Theater. Screenshot: Bodhi Theater/ Youtube
A hypnotic spectacular of light and sound at the gorgeous Wat Suthi Wararam, produced by Bodhi Theater. Screenshot: Bodhi Theater/ Youtube

A hypnotic spectacular of light and sound promising to slake searching minds with answers to life – and dope visuals – will be projected for free on the walls of a Bangkok temple.

Step into the chapel of the gorgeous Wat Suthi Wararam for a sensory feast with heavy implications for the spirit – and what’s likely to be a balls-blazing audience – at a digital art experience set on sacred ground.

“In this day and age, young people don’t really go to the temple anymore. So our team got to thinking: is that due to the people or the temple?” project manager Thawatchai Saengthamchai said in an interview this morning.

He said it’s a high-tech gamble to get young people back into the temple.

Photo: Bodhi Theater

“Since we can’t really change a whole generation’s habits, we decided to find a way to modernize the temple experience to attract a changing society,” he said. “To make people actually want to come to the temple, not just feel obligated to.”

Projection mapping is used to turn objects and the interior of the temple into display surfaces for projected videos.

That translates into some gonzo visuals in which disembodied mouths float in a hypnotic, neon space; gorillas wander about; and angels descend from the heavens. Fodder for a heavy psychedelic trip? Yes, if that trip sticks to a Buddhist spiritual journey.

In trailers for the performance, a psychedelic interpretation of traditional Buddhist narratives unfold, ripe with cascading imagery that seems perfect after a blunt or three.

Neon lights and hypnotic illustrations dance across the chapel’s walls while techno undertones are sure to get necks bobbing rhythmically.

There is a spiritual conceit to all this mind-candy: The prayer at the heart of the show around is the Jaya Mangala Gatha, aka the Bahum chant, which tells the story of the Buddha’s triumphs over eight tribulations. Each of the verses describes how the Buddha defeats different opponents that stand in the way of achieving nirvana.

Feelin’ tha beat enough to go all in?

The chant is aimed to allow people to reflect on the Buddha’s life and teachings to free themselves from the obstacles and challenges that stand in the way.

Here is what the prayer sounds like, free of bass drops:

“Though this is an extremely famous prayer that most Thais will hear at least once in their lives, not a lot of people know the meaning and the story that it tells,” Thawatchai said.

The show will run every 35 minutes from 2pm to 6pm on weekends starting Saturday and running through June 9. Several additional performances are planned for Saturday’s opening day.

While the event is free, Thawatchai recommends reserving seats. Reservations can be made via Eventpop or the Bodhi Theater.

Photo: Bodhi Theater
Photo: Bodhi Theater
Photo: Bodhi Theater


Bodhi Theater at Wat Sutthi Wararam

223 Charoen Krung Road

Free entry with performances every weekend

2pm-6pm, May 18 – June 9

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