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Thai(wan) Basil


Olfactory bulb, a structure locates at the front of the brain, manages our sense of smell. It sends information to the body’s central command for further processing. Through this route, aromas go to the limbic system, the parts that process emotion and memory.

I use basil in my cooking. However, the food hasn’t smelled the same since I moved to Chicago. I’m thinking about the licorice- and anise-like smell of the Asian Basil that ought to be extracted by high-heat stir-frying. It has been a while that I ask the sweet, peppery, fragrant Western Sweet Basil to do the job in my basil omelet. I know it tried, but the food hasn’t smelled the same.

The residual Proust effects, generated by the lack of original material, lead me to explore memory-scapes in urban spaces that accommodate international lost souls who came to find new lives, where every cubicle in a building is a battlefield of the idea of leaving and searching for home. The hybridity of pasts and futures in urban spaces creates a mix and match in culinary rules. While we are all on the quest of finding the flavors we remember and the aromas that are so dear to us, the absence of authenticity has become our common ground. I find comfort in a hypothesis, maybe we find home in those fragile moments of peace shared in coexistence, in common loss, in common gain.

Our Review

Director Chang-Ching Su movie Thai(wan) Basil is a script so beautiful like a poetry. The emotions of someone who is too far away from home is brought out so well. Family, climate, festivals, language, food and so many aspects of our own country is unique and that is what define us. The Protagonist is home sick and feels like a lost person in the crowd in a new World. A World which doesn't identify you, that doesn't know the difference between your country Taiwan and Thailand.

Director Biography - Chang-Ching Su

Chang-Ching Su (b. 1995; Taipei, Taiwan) is a political research-based artist. He creates contradictions to draw out the overlooked power dynamics that underlie contemporary life and are rooted in politics. Born from the photographer's contemplation and curiosity: chasing nuances, light and shadow, values and gradations, and the world's skin feel and depth, he works with photography, video, sound, languages, and found objects. Su underlines the context and raises social, political, and individual questions in his research, manifesting them as time-based media in conceptually layered installations. Instead of harsh criticism and cynicism, Chang-Ching favors paradoxical playfulness with humor in his work to draw attention to the failings of the system while offering some relief for our frustrations. He holds a BA in Political Science from National Taiwan University and is pursuing his MFA degree at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Director Statement

I believe our experiences are based on overlooked dynamics. Almost all our contemporary life now is rooted in politics, which is why I often contemplate the mechanisms and relationships of power embedded in the socio-political system. The invisible hand of power is only evoked when conflicts arise in our everyday life. As a research-based artist, I insert myself and occupy different roles with my subject. I search for interstitial spaces between different structures of authority, on the stage or behind the backdoor, before a parenthesis, after a quotation, within vicissitudes, and beyond infinity. Stressful and dark political realities are beyond the reach of average citizens, but I believe harsh criticism and cynicism are ineffective in addressing the system's shortcomings. The humorous touch with playfulness, however, is the key that brings attention to the issues and relieves some frustrations felt towards the system's failings.


  • Nate Lovett Director

  • Nate Lovett Writer

  • Nate Lovett Producer

  • James Reiser Key Cast

  • Caitlin Pritchett Key Cast


  • Project Type: Short

  • Genres: Drama, suspense

  • Runtime: 8 minutes 27 seconds

  • Completion Date: December 23, 2022

  • Production Budget: 0 AUD

  • Country of Origin: Australia

  • Country of Filming: Australia

  • Language: English

  • Shooting Format: Red

  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3

  • Film Color: Color

  • First-time Filmmaker: No

  • Student Project: No

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