I was recently contacted by “The Projectionist” who has established a fascinating blog on derelict or converted movie theatres in Southeast Asia. He is compiling a wonderful photographic archive, supplemented with anecdotes and commentary. It is one of the most engaging blogs on Southeast Asia that I have seen. He describes his project like this:

There were 4 stand-alone movie theaters still operating in Chiang Mai when I moved here in 2006. Now there are none. I remember my curiosity about them, how on a number of occasions, when my escapist impulses beckoned a trip to the movies, I considered ditching the usual modern shopping mall theater venues for one of the older single screeners in town. Regretfully, I never satisfied that curiosity and nor will I ever have the chance to. They have all been demolished, save for the Sang Tawan Theater at the corner of Chang Klan and Sri Donchai Roads which sits vacant. With that in mind, I set out to document these old buildings, some of which are architecturally quite unique, while they’re still standing. This interest has evolved into the Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project, a photographic archive of derelict or converted movie theaters in this part of the world, complete with theater anecdotes and a little bit of commentary.

These old movie theaters, you see, regardless of their current use, are testament to bygone eras. They are good starting points for queries about the larger forces that shape societies, like economics, technological innovation and the social mores of the day. What’s more, within these buildings opinions were shaped, emotions stoked and daily routines given alternate perspectives — not to mention all the things that people do when the lights go down. Movie theaters reside in the memories of the spectators who visited them, which is why they themselves should be a sustained part of the collective memory.

Add the Southeast Asia Move Theatre Project to your list of favourites!