I always wanted to play with this idea of long exposure photography along the a tuk tuk ride but did not get a chance to do it in until the Thailand trip last year.
On the way to dinner in Khao Sarn Road area, I decided to get a tuk tuk from Pratunam. It was not the best decision to commute around Bangkok at the time when everyone was stuck on the road but it was quite perfect for the shooting, I found. To get a tuk tuk in that scenario was a tricky task. Some drivers simply said no to the destination or called incredibly high fair price
When I hopped on the first tuk tuk in at least six year, my camera was ready to shoot. Few test shots were taken as we slowly crawled in the traffic. I found the best shutter speed setting was 6 second at f14. The variation of 192 images were shot throughout the ride until the last shot when I was getting off the vehicle.
The idea was to stay with the sequence of the shots so there was no hard work of editing these image. Digging the right sound was more important at this phase. Initially, a world techno track from Rama IV was laid as the background and quickly arrange the images as Sticky Tuk Tuk. I left that work for a while until I decided to create the original track for it to avoid copyright issue and enter the local art exhibition. In Mac-ready audio editing software, GarageBand, I found some good royalty free samples to loop and put them together.
This work is awarded as Commended in Marrickville Contemparary Art Prize (MCAP’08) for CALD category (artists from Indigenous of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background). And I will be at the Artist Talks on Sunday 21 September (last day) at At The Vanishing Point Contemporary Art, 3-5 pm and the following Sunday at Chrissy Cotter Gallery, 2-3.30 pm.
When Thailand has recovered from economic and political crisis, Bangkok is woken up by excavators and cranes again. Some sites are revived from the meltdown ten years ago. But some places such as, green areas and unregistered heritages are flattened down for the sake of city growth. It is simply a fact of life.
There was an old house on Petchburi Road I always admired. It was one of the best examples of colonial architecture in the heart of Bangkok. In my memory, it was a backdrop in some films and commercials representing the era. It was an evidence to show how modernised the kingdom was.
However, the city is moving on and the area is being transformed. Unfortunately, a new development does not spare a room for this old mansion and it has to go. There are some buildings that have been compromised the city growth, such as the old Russian Embassy and Thai-Chiness Chamber of Commerce on South Sathorn Road but not this one.
I always wanted to have a look beyond the closed gate. Sadly, when the gate was open, there was almost nothing left to see except the structure of memory that would not last long.
When I was in Thailand, 2007 was the tenth anniversary of Asian economic crisis. The Thai Baht currency had been weakened by several attacks from international funds. Finally, the Thai Government at that time was forced to float the currency. The result of this bubble burst, aka Tom Yum Goong Disease, triggered the financial collapses throughout Asia.
Hopewell, Invisible Railtrack
Although Thailand have recovered from the crisis and paid off IMF’s bialout, there are still monumental traces of the melt down, especially, big projects stopped their constructions ten years ago. These are some of the unfinished enterprises in Bangkok: Hopewell Project, upper level train link from the old Bangkok Airport to the city, a building that has never been erected from the ground, a luxury apartment that has been painted only half way through, and a site that is converted into a street vendor park.
What did we learn from this expensive lesson?
There are always rooms for gods no matter how crowded Bangkok is. Habitats of gods and spirits can be anywhere in any forms: elaborate shrines, old spirits houses, or even temporary set ups. They show how people spiritually relate to the lands and the offerings reflect the strong bonds between the both worlds, convenient ways to comfort their souls.