Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "CUJO" is called Primitive. It can be considered simultaneously a semi-secret source and a real visual and textual accompaniment of the homonymous and cyclopedic, multiplatform project of the Thai visual artist and filmmaker. Primitive project consists of an installation (Primitive); two short films (A Letter to Uncle Boonmee and Phantoms of Nabua); the feature film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and "CUJO". It is a project centered on the research, collaboration and works initiated and created by Apichatpong Weerasethakul in the village of Nabua, northeast Thailand.
According to the editorial spirit of the project, this "CUJO" is not a catalogue but a sort of guide. Primitive-Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a book of almost 500 pages that is at the beginning of a whole, and complex narrative project that travells through Thailand; Munich, at Haus der Kunst, where the project was presented for the first time in February 2009, taking the form of an installation; Liverpool, at FACT, Autumn 2009; Paris, at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, Autumn 2009; the best film festivals and the Festival of Cannes, Spring 2010.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen, northeast Thailand. He received a bachelor's degree in architecture at the Khon Kaen University and a Master's degree in Fine Arts in filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He started doing short films in 1994 and finished his first feature-length film in 2000. From 1998 onwards he took part in important group and solo exhibitions. His films (at this moment five feature films, twelve short films and a full-length film in production) and works deal with memory, remembrance and generally hide personal, political and social questions. Apichatpong Weerasethakul was awarded in some of the most important festivals (twice in Cannes, in which he was part of the international jury in 2009; Buenos Aires, Turin, Tokyo, amongst others) and built up a career halfway between art and cinema that allowed him to be quickly recognized as one of the most interesting and original figures of the international scene of the early 2000s. He works independently from the commercial Thai film industry, promoting and sustaining experimental and research films through Kick the Machine, the production company he founded in 1999. Some of his most relevant exhibitions include Art Unlimited, Art Basel 39; Life on Mars, 55th Carnegie International of Pittsburgh; Unknown Forces, Redcat, Los Angeles, 2007; The Anthem commission of the Frieze Art Fair, London; the first Turin Triennale and the Biennials of Taipei, Busan, Istanbul and Tirana.
In 2009 the cycle Primitive was presented at the Haus der Kunst of Munich, at the Musée d'Art Moderne De La Ville De Paris/ARC, and at FACT, Liverpool. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose films Syndromes and a Century (2006) and Tropical Malady (2004) were unanimously recognized as two of the most important films of the first decade of the new millennium, was one of the five nominees of the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize, in collaboration with the Guggenheim Foundation.
The installation and two short films were commissioned by Haus der Kunst, Munich; FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, and Animated Projects, London. They were produced by Illuminations Films Limited and Kick the Machine Films.