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The Architect ’19; Green Lifestyle the Key to Saving Planet Earth

The Architect ’19; Green Lifestyle the Key to Saving Planet Earth

Earth’s average surface temperature is rising. Climate change results in new weather patterns, while pollution in the city has far exceeded the acceptable level in many places. Not to mention polar ice caps that are melting rapidly and marine animals dying from entanglement in plastic on which we have become overly dependent. In so many ways, humans are negatively impacting the environment. The problem is coming back to haunt us. It begs the question; Are we destroying Earth, or not?

ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62

Organized by the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage (ASA), the 2019 edition of the architecture exhibition is about raising environmental awareness. Its main theme ‘Living Green’ is designed to inspire people to be more mindful of the natural environment and sustainable living choices. The event is rich in exhibits, ranging from the idea of smart cities to zero waste living to innovative green products.

ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62

Green exhibition structures provide a focus of attention. They are built of eco-friendly materials such as paper tubs and vetiver fiberboards. The exhibition pavilion showcases the best pieces of advice about a recycling process that begins and ends with paper. In a nutshell, it’s not about something being used once and then disposed of. Rather, it’s about reuse and recycles. Paper tubing that comes from plants can be used many times over and then converted into reusable materials again and again.

ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62

ZERO WASTE: Living without making trash

Is living without producing trash doable? Answers can be found at the Zero Waste exhibition zone. The show is organized in cooperation with the Thai Health Promotion Center. It encourages individuals to be conscious of trash they make and find ways of reducing it each day. The presentation is divided into four zones. “Check and Shock” reminds people to take stock of what they do in the day and assess the amounts of trash they make. “Waste Land” presents an updated look into the mounting waste problem. “Waste Wow” showcases innovative ways to cut down discard matter, while “Waste World” is about finding ways to reduce trash that has overwhelmed our environment.

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SMART CITIES: Energy saving isn’t just a dream.

The Smart Cities Zone presents the feasibility of an urban area that incorporates many kinds of technologies to improve the quality of life and reduce energy use. They include programs such as Smart Mobility, Smart Energy, Smart Infrastructure, and Smart Governance that relies on the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data/Open Data, and Plan Tech in resource management.

ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62 ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62

GREEN BUILDING SHOWCASES: Save Earth, conserve energy.

No longer is green building an imagined scenario in a case study. It’s happening for real, and the number is increasing. Green building is about creating energy-saving structures capable of reducing negative impacts on the environment. There are several of them in Thailand including some high-rise buildings that have become familiar sights, as well as a few lesser known places that have won recognition for being environmentally responsible. This show presents an updated look into green buildings from 21 countries across Asia, absolute go-to exhibits for visual inspiration.

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ASA INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION: Uncanny sustainability

The ASA International Design Competition 2019 is dedicated to exciting new ideas in environmental sustainability. The principle by which design will be judged is the quality of being radical, unexpected and capable of bringing about change, hence the term Uncanny Sustainability. Enter for a chance to win 4,000 USD plus a research trip to Japan for first prize, plus smaller amounts for second and third prizes, and three honorary mentions. Here’s the link for more information. www.asacompetition.com

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ASA FORUM 2019: World famous architects talk

Are you searching for design inspiration? Some of the architects who have great influence in green building will participate in this year’s ASA Forum. They include big names in the world of environmental sustainability, such as Kai Uwe Bergmann of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), who is the driving force behind several big projects and teaches Urban Resiliency at the University of Pennsylvania. He is joined by influential architects from Atelier Ten, New York, that’s expert in a high-rise building; as well as like-minded professionals from Foster and Partners; and Sanne van de Burgh of MVRDV, one of 25 high-profile architects to keep an eye out for this year. Homegrown personality will be there, too, including architects from Stu/d/o, and the design group Eco Architect. Together, they will make the Architect ‘19 a very interesting event.

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FEEL-GOOD SHOPPING

Here to make your life easier. More than 850 companies worldwide, will be selling goods, staging shows and providing information at the Architect ‘19. Among them, the SCG Cement-Building Materials Co., Ltd. will feature advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) for home automation. Its exhibit, titled “Smart Living Solution,” focuses on the opportunity to benefit from new ways of living.

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Jorakay Corporation Co., Ltd. will introduce GColor by Graphenstone, natural paint that will add unique colors to the home inside and out while being environmentally sustainable. The new product line is Cradle to Cradle Certified, which means it’s gone through the five steps in an on-going improvement process for quality assurance and ensure that it doesn’t contribute to global warming.

ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62

Thammasorn Co., Ltd. will exhibit water tanks with pumps and creative space saving ideas that are designed to be practical and eco-friendly.

ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62

TPI Polene Public Co., Ltd. will display paint made with nanotechnology. Its product has won the Official Label Number 5 for energy saving and not being environmentally harmful.

ASA 2019 งานสถาปนิก 62

Mogen (Thailand) Co., Ltd. will showcase new sanitary ware and bathroom furniture that combines natural elements with modern design.

Häfele (Thailand) Limited will display digital door locks, intelligent lighting systems, and window blinds that provide variable amounts of light to keep the interior cool.

The AICA Company of Japan will exhibit a new line of translucent sheeting and beach pool ideas for the home interior, while AGC presents Halio smart-tinting glass capable of blocking heat, reducing glare and saving energy. The intensity of light shining through can be controlled via the smartphone.

The most important thing is to enhance public awareness regarding global warming and to save the natural environment from further destruction. All things considered, the Architect ‘19 on the theme of “Living Green” will take place at from April 30 – May 5, 2019 at Challenger Hall 1-3, IMPACT Muang Thong Thani.

Register to attend the show at https://eventinsight.co/el/to/8kIdQ6 or download ‘ASA Application’ for free on Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS) for a chance to win prizes worth more than 500,000 Baht. For more information, please visit www.asa.or.th/architectexpo.

Facebook: ASA CREW

10 Best Places to Eat in Canggu, Bali

10 Best Places to Eat in Canggu, Bali

Located on the southern coast of Bali, Canggu is known for beautiful rolling rice fields and the roar of the surf. The fast growing village is roughly half-an-hour drive from the upscale resort area at Seminyak that lies further south. Looking for good food, good vibe? Here are ten best places to eat in Canggu, from trendy café to Balinese style restaurants to cool spots to post on Instagram.

 

/// Indonesia ///

Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham

Cafe Organic

One of the favorite hangouts in Canggu, Café Organic means exactly that. Good food comes from natural farming methods. Feel the atmosphere. The interior space in shades of white is adorned with lush tropical gardens. There are healthy desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth.


Warung Gouthe

A restaurant with beautiful rice field views, Warung Gouthe is well known for its home-style brochettes. The skewered meat or fish chunks grilled or roasted to perfection come in a tray with an excellent side dish of salad. You will love panini, a sandwich made with toasted Italian bread and the tantalizing aroma of a country style kitchen.


Cabina Bali

A favorite place serving breakfast and lunch, Cabina Bali is about good food, great company, and the opportunity to share the happiest moments in life. Here, food comes in a floating basket, so you don’t even have to get out of the pool. Girls in bikinis love it for the Gram.


 

Parachute

Calm down and relax at Parachute as you take in the view of surrounding rice fields and lush vegetable gardens. If you prefer to eat alfresco, there are parachute canopies for that. Inside, coffee smells like heaven, and the aroma of baked goods will simply overwhelm you.


 

My Warung Canggu

Nothing beats a steak grilled to perfection. My Warung Canggu is a place to give yourself a nice treat or the ultimate indulgence. It goes together well with artistic and definitely exciting interior design. There’s even a confession room in case you think you’ve eaten too much.


9 Temples to Visit at Least Once in Your Life

9 Temples to Visit at Least Once in Your Life

Founded on the Indian Subcontinent by the Buddha around 500 BC, Buddhism is a widely followed religion across Southeast Asia, especially the Mainland. Temples and the Sangha, communities of monks, nuns, novices and laity, play a critical role in preserving good practice and his teachings to the present day. Here are 9 sacred places around the Region to visit on your long journeys through life.

/// ASEAN ///

Photo: Sam Garza
Photo: Radu Micu
Photo: Anandajoti

ANGKOR WAT

Siem Reap, Cambodia

One of the largest and most resplendent religious monuments in the world, Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II who ruled the Khmer Empire in the 12th century. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple around the turn of the century. The temple complex sits on 1.6 million square meters (about 400 acres) of land in Siem Reap, a province on the northern shore of Tonle Sap in central Cambodia. The enduring pride of Khmer architecture was constructed of sandstone adorned with a breathtaking richness of sculptures in bas-relief. It was inscribed on the List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1992. The ASEAN Tourism Forum in 2012 made Angkor Wat and Borobudur (in Indonesia) sister sites as part of an effort at promoting cultural tourism in the Region.


 

Photo: Gunawan Kartapranata

Photo: Jorge Franganillo

BOROBUDUR

Magelang, Indonesia

Among the world’s largest religious sites, Borobudur in central Java is on a par with Bagan in Myanmar and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Built in the 9th Century, it was a center of Buddhism at the time the Srivijayan Empire became the first kingdom to dominate the islands of Sumatra and neighboring Java. Borobudur is representative of Javanese architecture that blends the concept of Nirvana, the final goal of Buddhism, with the native custom of venerating ancestors. Located on a highland 40 kilometers from Yogyakarta, the magnificent Borobudur temple overlooks rolling hills, lush forests and twin volcanoes. Its nine-tiered floor plan consists of six square platforms placed one above the other, three circular atriums at the top, and pagodas. They are decorated with beautiful reliefs and a total of 504 Buddha statues. Guinness World Records make in the world’s largest Buddhist temple, while UNESCO added it to the World Heritage Sites in 1991.


 

Photo: Charles Kimball
Photo: www.helpfulboytravels.com

THE ANANDA TEMPLE

Bagan, Myanmar

A sea of temples and pagodas in central Myanmar is a wonder to behold. The ancient city of Bagan was capital of the Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to 13th Centuries. During that time, thousands of Buddhist temples, dome-shaped shrines and monasteries were constructed. Among them, the Ananda Temple was built by King Kyanzittha in 1105 A.D. It’s very well preserved and accessible to visitors. Inside the most revered temple of Bagan, huge Buddha statues stand facing east, west, north and south in the corridors illuminated by natural light. The building is built of white sandstone that’s characteristic of ancient Mon architecture.


 

 

Photo: Trairat Songpao
Photo: Trairat Songpao

THE TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA (WAT PHRA KAEW)

Bangkok, Thailand

Located on the grounds of the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha was consecrated in 1784 during the reign of King Rama I, founding father of the Rattankosin Kingdom and the first monarch of the reigning Chakri Dynasty. Inside, the Emerald Buddha reposes on an elevated altar surrounded by gilded décor. The bright green stone statute of the Buddha is regarded as the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand. The royal temple stands embraced by dome-shaped shrines, pagodas, and religious halls. The corridors are adorned with mural paintings depicting episodes from Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic of ancient India. It’s now one of Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions.


 

Photo: www.bjornfree.com
Photo: Thomas Schoch

THE SHWEDAGON PAGODA

Yangon, Myanmar

The historic 99-meter-tall Shwedagon Pagoda stands surrounded by a sea of 68 smaller stupas. It’s also known as the Golden Pagoda for the gilded dome-shaped structure that dominates the Yangon skyline. Legend has it that the large religious monument was built some 2,500 years ago, but archeologists put its beginning between the 6th and 11th Centuries based on evidence of Mon temple architecture. Shwedagon is regarded as the most sacred pagoda for the people of Myanmar. As gestures of respect, visitors are required to remove their shoes on entering the temple compound. From past to present, people have donated gold and gemstones that go towards restoring the pagoda to its original splendor. “Shwe” is a local word for gold, while “Dagon” is the old name of Yangon.


 

Photo: www.baanlaesuan.com
Photo: www.baanlaesuan.com

THE TEMPLE OF DAWN (WAT ARUN)

Bangkok, Thailand

One of the most ancient temples in Thailand, the Temple of Dawn is located across the river from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. The Buddhist temple that existed on the site was originally called Wat Makok. As the Ayudhya Period ended and Thon Buri became a new capital, the temple was renamed Wat Chaeng. In the early Rattanakosin Period, the name was changed to Wat Arun as a symbol of the first light of a new day. The Buddhist temple is renowned for its colorfully decorated pyramidal structures. The tapering conical towers, known as Prangs, are adorned with a mosaic of ceramic tiles and glass that shimmers in the sunlight. The Prangs of Wat Arun are best viewed from across the river. They were on the logo of the Bangkok Art Biennale that just ended.


THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE

THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE

More than 19 years of event planning experience have prepared us at Baanlaesuan Magazine Group for the job of hosting the best home and garden fair in Thailand and the ASEAN region. “Real Life Galleria” is the theme of the 2019 Edition of Baanlaesuan Fair Select, which is now in its second year. The exhibition is brought to you by room Magazine. Look for room Showcase at the fair for imaginative designs and inspiration. Experience the excitement of modern design that comes with every showroom on display during the five-day event. Good design inspires the admiration of everyone, and it’s one that answers your specific lifestyle needs. For the 2019 Edition of Baalaesuan Fair Select, Room Magazine proudly presents a collection of masterpieces by some of Thailand’s distinguished designers.

Looking back, the furniture section’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere at the 2018 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Looking back, the furniture section’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere at the 2018 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Looking back, the furniture section’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere at the 2018 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Looking back, the furniture section’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere at the 2018 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Looking back, the furniture section’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere at the 2018 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Looking back, the furniture section’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere at the 2018 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.

If you are handicraft lovers, there’s a special zone for that. Look for My Craft Zone at the fair for new ideas and inspiration for your next project. Whilst there, drop into The Book House to browse and shop new books and other bestsellers on the topics of home and garden. For those who are enthusiastic about small garden ideas, Baanlaesuan Pocket Garden offers a wonderful richness of small garden ideas. Just a reminder, the home and garden fair is happening from 20 to 24 February 2019 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

The floor plan, 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select (Click here)

Entrance to the Galleria

THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCETHE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE

To create an inviting atmosphere, the entryway to the Galleria is decorated showroom style. Simple, clean designs paired with perforate metal patterns give handy hints about furniture, home goods and decorating ideas. The paint color, the furniture, the lighting combines to make the area awesome. Drop by for a photo opportunity. There’s something good in every show.

room Magazine Showcase
Real Life Galleria: The Secret of Showroom Making

Real Life Galleria by room Magazine at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select

Real Life Galleria is a show about design masterpieces by some of the country’s top-notch designers. Organized on theme of “The Secret of Showroom Making”, the exhibition provides a conducive atmosphere for learning and exploring design possibilities. It’s the product of a collaboration between the Baanlaesuan Magazine Group and the Design and Objects Association. The 2019 Edition of Baanlaesuan Fair Select proudly presents five masterpieces by five leading homegrown designers. They include Suwan Kongkunthien, M. L. Pavinee Santisiri, Amornthep Kachanont, Jirapan Tokhiri, and Rangsan Narathasajan. Together, they let us in on their secrets in “giving a home the look and feel of a living art gallery”. Over time, our curators have worked jointly with diligent care and effort to choose five designs that answer different lifestyle needs. Not only are the showpieces fully functioning as expected, but they are awesome in ways that bespeak their unique style.

Real Life Galleria by room Magazine at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select Real Life Galleria by room Magazine at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select Real Life Galleria by room Magazine at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair SelectReal Life Galleria by room Magazine at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair SelectReal Life Galleria by room Magazine at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select

The Book House at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select

The Book House at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select

Real Life Galleria is also the theme of this exhibition booth. The relationship between color and texture in the room is defined by a gridiron design that sits atop a series of archways painted contrasting shades of red and green. Where appropriate, small green plants thrive from hanging containers creating a welcoming atmosphere. It’s designed to be an ideal place to browse, read and shop books specially screened and chosen by a team of editors at Baanlaesuan Printing.

The Book House at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select

            Special Promotions! Buy books from Baanlaesuan Printing on this occasion only and get:

* 15% discounts when you buy 1 to 3 books.
* 20% discounts when you buy 4 books.

The Book House and Chang Green Oasis

 THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCETHE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCETHE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE

Relax Zone for Garden Lovers

The Relax Zone is a stress free area for garden lovers. It’s pleasing to the mind to be able to sit down and do some reading after a long walk. And if you think it’s time to grab a bite to eat, there’s a very nice café for that. Plenty of food and drinks to enjoy in a relaxing environment! It’s also a center for home decorating demonstrations and workshops for those who are interested. Decorated urban café style in a garden setting, the Relax Zone makes a visit enjoyable thanks to live music courtesy of Chang brands.

THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE

Besides good food and a cup of coffee to replenish your energy and recharge your spirit, the Relax Zone will put a smile on your face. There are plenty of design ideas to take home to liven up your favorite family hangout.

Urban Pocket Garden Ideas

Explore new ways of planting your own small gardens at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Explore new ways of planting your own small gardens at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.

Urban Pocket Garden Ideas are the theme of a show for people living in small spaces. They come in handy to brighten the home with living plants, whether it be a backyard patio, small terrace or indoor space. Healthy green foliage provides unexpected pops of color and texture that can soften the harsh appearance of the built environment. The show garden offers clever tips for choosing plants and decorative containers suitable for small spaces. There are plenty of cool designs to transform a niche of space into a stunning garden that bespeaks your unique style. They include living green walls or vertical gardens, potted gardens, and urban green space ideas. Drop by for a good photo opportunity.

Explore new ways of planting your own small gardens at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Explore new ways of planting your own small gardens at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Explore new ways of planting your own small gardens at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.
Explore new ways of planting your own small gardens at 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select.

Art and Craft Zone

Looking for decorating ideas to create a personal oasis? Art and Craft is a zone for home goods, décor accents, even small ornaments for every room in the house. Save on home accessories from across the country, among them unique screen prints from “The Archivist”, cool items of clothing and nice looking hats for summer from “PALINI”, and more. There are plenty of handmade ceramics and imaginative décor materials to make your home awesome.

THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE THE 2019 BAANLAESUAN FAIR SELECT AT A GLANCE

Just a reminder: The 2019 Baanlaesuan Fair Select is happening from 20 to 24 February at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. It’s open from 9.30 to 21.00 hrs. See you there.

 

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The Chairmen of Thai Design, A Room Magazine Showcase at The BaanLaeSuan Select Fair
Looking back, the Chairmen of Thai Design, a Room Magazine showcase at the 2018 Baanlaesuan Select Fair

Behind the Works at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018: Historic Images of an Important Time for the Art World

Behind the Works at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018: Historic Images of an Important Time for the Art World

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 has now finished up. Here we’ll look back at some historic images illustrating what was behind the scenes of this important page of Thailand’s contemporary art world, which brought many world-class artists – Marina Abramović,  Yayoi Kusama, Choi Jeong Hwa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and many others – to exhibit at 20 landmark locations in Bangkok.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

This is Tape Bangkok 2018, or “Adhesive Tape Tunnel,” by Numen/For Use Collective Design. The artists had a foreign team work closely with the Thai team to teach installation methodology during setup on the 7 th floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.


Zero, an 8.2-meter-tall installation art sculpture by Elmgreen & Dragset, required skilled Thai workmen using a crane to lift it into position in front of the East Asiatic Building.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
Our team found that three pieces especially grabbed the public eye at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The “mother goddess of polka dots,” Artist Yayoi Kusama, sent a foreign work team to closely supervise the highly complex installation of her pieces after their arrival from Japan. The FAVForward/Lifestyle website in the Amarin Group, which monitored the installation, said, “The 14 Pumpkin balloons took a lot of days to set up, with meticulous attention to every detail by the Japanese team. Setting up “Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons” wasn’t simple: it required stringing electric lines and constructing beams and internal
supports to get the pumpkins to float high above.

I Carry On Living With The Pumpkins (Silver Pumpkin and Red Pumpkin), two large and heavy works composed of inflexible pieces with lots of angles, had a hard time making it through the door. It took the staff a big chunk of time, and they told us that putting it all together was no easy thing.

Your Dog, the work of Yoshitomo Nara, another Japanese artist, at BAB Box @One Bangkok, was in a single piece and didn’t involve difficult transportation or setup. The installation team simply lifted the 4.5-meter puppy, and in the clip below you can see the setup procedure.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
Turkish female artist Canan’s Animal Kingdom involved installation of dozens of animals, large and small, at BAB Box @ One Bangkok. This animal kingdom took up nearly 10 square meters and was as tall as the 2-storey building itself. Installation required a work team to build scaffolding to fit.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018The work 2562++, by Tay (Patipat Chaiwitesh), was exhibited at the East Asiatic Building. It’s full of fun, but that is blended with biting satire. The backstory here, Patipat tells us, is that the animals displayed here were all stuffed. He himself found them all in the market (not alive at that point, of course), and worked with lab experts at the Veterinary Department of Chiang Mai University to stuff them, preserving shapes and eliminating decay. After that procedure, Patipat left the lab and continued working on them in ways you can see in the video below.

Pictures that Tell Stories: Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 (Photo Essay)

Pictures that Tell Stories: Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 (Photo Essay)

On its very first day, Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 became an important part of world-class contemporary art history, with many stories of its own to tell. Today Living ASEAN will show you what this means, telling stories through pictures. Sometimes many written words can’t express the spirit of a thing as well as a single picture.

/// THAILAND ///
Story : Singhanart Nakpongphun 

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
19 September 2018 – Minister of Tourism and Sport Weerasak Kovasurat gives opening remarks for Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 at BAB Box @ One Bangkok. The glass walls in back reflects the shadow of Happy Happy Project: Please Love Me 1, a work of synthetic fabric in the shape of a flying pig, 3.5 x 5 meters, by Choi Jeong Hwa | Photo: Soopakorn Srisakul

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
23 October 2018 – Marina Abramović, one of the most influential artists in the world of contemporary art, conducts her first full-length symposium in Thailand at Siam Pavalai Royal Grand Theater in Siam Paragon before more than 2,000 Thai and foreign audience members | Photo: Phukarin Phuangthong

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

8 November 2018 – A tour group from Korea and their translator, visiting The State of Suffering (Mental Therapy), an installation art piece by Ajarn Sunanta Phasomwong at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, serving as a case study showing how Thailand can use a contemporary art festival in a concrete way to promote tourism. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

Bangkok Art Biennale 20188 September 2018 – Ajarn Lakhana Khunawichayanon, former director of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, speaking informally with participants in the 16th BAB Talk seminar at Warehouse 30 on the topic “Beyond Bliss: Can Art Really Build Happiness?” | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
13 November 2018 –   Inflatable sculpture Happy Happy Project: About being irritated, by Choi Jeong Hwa, an 8-meter-tall robot lying down between buildings in the heart of the city. Normally this can only be seen in a Japanese superhero film, but here visitors see the real thing close up, in a plaza connecting Siam Center and Siam Discovery. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
17 October 2018 – Diluvium by Lee Bul, an installation art piece of silver light-reflecting tape set up in the 2nd floor of the East Asiatic Building. The picture was taken using double exposure to overlay three separate corners of this work. | Photo:  Singhanart Nakpongphun

24 November 2018 – Two Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 artists meeting without an appointment: Michael Elmgreen, creator of Zero – at the East Asiatic Building –came as a visitor only to become a special guest participant in Pichet Klunchun’s Bogus Séance Version Bangkok 4.0, which deals with a mix of cultures and communication without words, national borders, or languages, through something known as “art.” | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

19 November 2018 – The venue of Geometry of Lamentation by performance artist Jihyun Youn, one of 8 artists from the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) who did continuous live performances eight hours a day for 3 weeks running from October 19th – November 11th, 2018 on the 8th floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. At first the room is white, as Jihyun Youn communicates sadness and the emotional complexity of a woman unable to use the spoken word. But then red colors are splashed all over the room throughout the performance. Even after the performance is long over, the venue itself speaks to visitors. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

10 November 2018 – Phaptawan Suwannakudt and Jitsing Somboon during a special lecture (a TV program with Tiwaporn Thetsatit) outdoors in nature at the Crocodile Pond, Wat Pho, near where Phaptawan’s work is displayed. Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 has created happiness throughout Bangkok with about 200 art pieces in various locations – department stores, old buildings, or important Thai temples. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
18 November 2018 – The grand old East Asiatic Building

In eventide, bathed in joy and light at the 20th BAB Talk half seminar, half very- special-pool-party with the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, who have a lot of world-class works behind them. | Methee Samantong, Post Process, Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

20 November 2018 – Taweesak Molsawat, in a live performance of Mis/placed: The Existing of Non-Existence on the architectural piece Moving System Pavilion by Vira Inpuntung and Pich Poshyananda, assembled by Bangkok Art Biennale and the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage. Here we see how beautifully architectural design and live performance can support each other. Taweesak has done other architecture-based performances as well, with installation art by Bea Vithayathawornwong of Beautbureau and Savinee Buranasilapin and Tom Dannecker of Thingsmatter. November  20-25, 2018 at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

26 October 2018 – BAB Workshop #2: Teaching printmaking at Baan Lae Suan Fair “Massclusive 2018,” with Ajarn Chakri Kongkaew, whose prints of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej were distributed the previous year at Baan Lae Suan Fair 2017. Here you see him sharing his knowledge at “BAB Workshop #1” in the most recent Midyear Fair. We must express our thanks for all the support for such great activities from Thai Beverage, Pcl. and companies in the Amarin network, as well as the Ardel Gallery Of Modern Art and the Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation, who have jointly organized such wonderful, creative artistic activities as we see here, without any participant fees charged! | Photo: Sitthisak Namkham

A Day Trip Through Yaowarat / Chinatown Bangkok

A Day Trip Through Yaowarat / Chinatown Bangkok

The historic business hub of Bangkok is on CNN’s List of “Best Districts for Street Food” and “Top Ten Chinatowns in the World”. Whether it be fine dining or quick one-dish dinners, you can find some of the best meals in Yaowarat. Combine your favorite pastimes into one-day adventure. Living ASEAN recommends stopping by these places.

/// THAILAND ///

9:00 Coffee at Ama Hostel

Start your day at Ama Hostel Bangkok, a recently renovated Chinese style building located at 191 Soi Sapanhan off Chakkrawat Road in Samphanthawong area. The café in the forward section of the hostel offers coffee that smells so good. There’s nothing like the warm aroma of a steaming cup of coffee to wake you up to a beautiful day in old Chinatown. Nearby, push cart vendors serve delicious Kuichai meals and Kuay Jub noodes.

 

10:00 Shop at Sampeng Market and Yaowarat

A stone’s throw away from Ama Hostel stands Sampeng Market, a shopper’s paradise for goods at bargain prices, both retail and wholesale. The area is well known for many gift shops and stores selling fabrics, clothing and accessories, toys and seasonal decorating materials. Follow Chakkrawat Road and you come to Yaowarat Road.

 

12:00 Lunch at the Canton House

Enjoy the pleasure of authentic Chinese food at the Canton House. Established in 1908, the restaurant has since been renovated to give it unique appeal characterized by raw construction materials. The Canton House is located at 530 Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong area. You will love the bite-sized Dim Sum in steamer baskets, steamed pork rib with black bean sauce, and fried Mantou (buns) with condensed milk. Thai and Western meals are also on the menu.

 

13:00 Wat Leng Noei Yi

The historic Wat Leng Noei Yi is rooted deeply in this community of Thai citizens of Chinese descent. Founded in 1871, the temple has been involved in every facet of life of the followers of Buddhism. It sees the busiest time during the period leading to Chinese New Year celebrations. Slowly burning joss sticks are used in paying tribute to the Lord Buddha. It’s good idea to avoid getting smoke in your eyes.

 

14:00 Jay Noi’s Kuichai Meal

About 250 meters to the right of Wat Leng Noei Yi stands a famous push-cart business selling fried Kuichai meals. Jay Noi’s Kuichai is renowned for being one of the most delicious vegetable meals in Yaowarat. Located on Charoen Krung Road, the humble push cart vendor sells Kuichai at 10 Baht apiece. The menu also includes fried Taro and Jicama (a globe shaped root vegetable). They are equally delightful.

 

15:00 Cakes at Wallflowers Café

Beat the heat in the afternoon with yummy mouthwatering cakes served with frothy Thai tea with cheese. Located at 31-33 Soi Nana, Pom Prab area, Wallflowers Café sits on the upper floor of a florist’s shop, which provides inspiration for many beautiful items on its menu. The café is owned and operated by an architect who has great interest in the art of coffee making.

Kawita Vatanajyankur, Great Performance Brings Afternoon Tea to Life

Kawita Vatanajyankur, Great Performance Brings Afternoon Tea to Life

 A cup of tea in the afternoon is an excuse to share great thoughts with like-minded friends. Even better if the elixir of life is served fresh while live performance art is happening in real time. And right before your eyes, you fall in love with the show. It just goes to show the close-knit relationship between two artistic disciplines – visual arts and culinary talents.

/// THAILAND ///
Story and video: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul, Singhanart Nakpongphun and PR material 

“Knit” 2018, a performance art show visualizing hardships women face in society
“Knit” 2018, a performance art show visualizing hardships women face in society

Kawita Vatanajyankur, one of six must-see artists in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, is renowned for using video art to raise concerns about major issues in society and the exploitation of women, more specifically women’s rights abuse. The young homegrown artist calls attention to the problems by putting her body through various situations in the workplace that involve real pain and suffering.

Through painstaking attention to detail, Kawita sends a strong message that women deserve respect for doing backbreaking jobs in society. Her works characterized by vivid colors portray a woman as part of weaving machines, dyeing processes in the textile industry, and unending house work that includes cooking, cleaning and laundry. Over time, the power of enduring unpleasant situations crystalizes into a style that’s her signature as we know it.

Like a shuttle on the loom, the artist puts her body in an imaginary knitting machine to portray real pain and suffering that women face in society.
Like a shuttle on the loom, the artist puts her body in an imaginary knitting machine to portray real pain and suffering that women face in society.

Kawita Vatanajyankur, a rising star on Thailand’s thriving art scene, gave a live performance at an afternoon tea event hosted by the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok on January 11, 2019. Aptly named “Knit”, the show turned out to be quite a departure from her previous performances both in form and content. Only this time it focused on the power of visual storytelling as a means of highlighting hardship, solitude and experience that played a role in shaping people’s lives.

The artist likened human life experience to interlocking loops of wool or yarn knitted together to form an item of clothing. The stage on which she performed was bordered by 11 poles depicting an imaginary machine used in making knitted garments. Spun thread in bright red color twisted and wound around her evoked memories of a shuttle being thrown back and forth in the course of textile weaving. Only this time the shuttle was a human being – the artist herself.

Reports had it that the artist had gone through countless rehearsals to bring the show to perfection. The practice involved strenuous work, physical and mental fatigue, and many long hours. In the end, the audience responded with a big round of applause for the artistic talent, energy and strength that she displayed in the show that went on 60minutes.

Kawita makes art while afternoon tea is served at the Peninsula Bangkok.
Kawita makes art while afternoon tea is served at the Peninsula Bangkok.
The Knit Afternoon Tea menu is made exclusively for the show at the Peninsula Bangkok
The Knit Afternoon Tea menu is made exclusively for the show at the Peninsula Bangkok

Nothing compares to an hour reserved for afternoon tea. With a cup of tea in their hands, audience members enjoy the best of both worlds – a tea culture that looks aesthetically pleasing, and an art show that’s impressive, powerful and thought provoking.

Pastry chef Nicolas Pelloie has every reason to be very pleased. | Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Bangkok
Pastry chef Nicolas Pelloie has every reason to be very pleased. | Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Bangkok
Executive Chef Stefan Leitner, the face of leadership at the Peninsula Bangkok. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun
Executive Chef Stefan Leitner, the face of leadership at the Peninsula Bangkok. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

Sharing his experience, the Peninsula’s Executive Chef Stefan Leitner said, “To get the inspiration that we needed in the course of designing the menu for the show, our team of chefs spent some of their time each day looking at rolls of yarn and stage props for weeks. It just goes to show that well thought-out themed menus can go hand in hand with visual arts shows, which include the live performance that’s happening today. The result is a perfect marriage of two artistic disciplines.”

Members of the audience are able to experience the performance up-close. The event is recorded on videotape and the guests who attend the Afternoon Tea all become actors and actresses for the day. Footage of the performance will be used in a video art production for future shows abroad. In the end, the show becomes a stage, and everyone plays a role, this writer included.

The artist said in a post-performance interview, “I want societies to appreciate the roles that women play especially in the textile industry, in which women account for between 80 and 85 percent of the sector’s workforce worldwide. When we buy an item of clothing, oftentimes we think of the brand name and machinery that goes into making it look good. We hardly ever think of the little people who work on the production line. The exploitation of women and girls must end. I want societies to turn their attention to the problem. My message is that everyone is worthy of being treated fairly, the little people included.”

The 2018 Bangkok Art Biennale’s CEO and Artistic Director Dr. Apinan Poshyananda addresses honor guests at the end of the “Knit” live performance by artist Kawita Vatanajyankur.

Speaking to honor guests at the end of the show, the Bangkok Art Biennale’s CEO and Artistic Director Dr. Apinan Poshyananda said: “I can feel for her. It’s hard work. And it just goes to prove the artist’s perseverance with, and commitment to, a purpose and everything she has stood for in a fight against gender inequality. It tires me out to watch Kawita try with everything she has, her hands, her feet, even her mouth. The artist puts her body through hardships and pain twisting and winding thread around the 11 poles that symbolize the machine used in making knitted garments. In a way, it reminds us of many challenges that we must overcome in our work life.”

“Knit” is the latest edition of Kawita’s live performance series known as “Performing Textiles”. The series also includes 4 video art productions, all of which are on show at the East Asiatic Building now until February 3, 2019. They are the following:

“Dye”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Dye”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“The Spinning Wheel”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“The Spinning Wheel”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Shuttle”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Shuttle”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Untangled”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Untangled”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist

“Knit” has been dubbed one of the must-see art exhibits as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The live performance by artist Kawita Vatanajyankur is held in the Lobby of the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok every Saturday in January from 1530 to 1630 hours. The show runs until Saturday February 2, 2019. Everyone is invited, and it’s free. But if you prefer to watch the show and enjoy the pleasure of Afternoon Tea service at the same time, the ticket is 1,400++ Baht for two persons. The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok’s Afternoon Tea service is in such high demands that reservations are required. To make a reservation, the number to call is 02 020 2888 or by email at diningpbk@peninsula.com.

Apart from the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok, amazing works of art by Kavita Vatanajyankur are also on show at the Central World Shopping Center, the Emquartier Mall, the Theatre of Indulgence, and the East Asiatic Building now until February 3, 2019

Picture Perfect Moments at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Picture Perfect Moments at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

 Visiting an art show sounds like a good idea. But taking selfies with beautiful works of art – Priceless!

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Yupawadee

Who would have thought the Kingdom’s inaugural art festival could produce so many precious moments that will remain ever vivid and emotionally uplifting! More than 200 masterpieces, ranging from aesthetically pleasing to awe-inspiring to thought-provoking, even provocative, are on display at 20 locations throughout the city.

75 renowned artists from across the globe are exhibiting as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale. It’s not too late to plan your visit. The festival that began last October 19 will run until February 3, 2019. Bring your smartphone if posting bloggable material is your idea of fun. The show spans many artistic disciplines, from paintings to striking installations that will transform your perception of a space. We don’t want you to miss any one of them.

Not sure where to start? The following is a list of some of the top-notch shows we recommend.

1. The East Asiatic Building plays host to “Zero” 2018, an outdoor architectural installation by Michael Elmgreen of Denmark and Ingar Dragset of Norway. The artist duo has worked together since the mid-1990’s. Whether you come in by boat or on foot via Soi Charoen Krung 40, Bang Rak District, you can’t miss it. The 8-meter-tall white structure resembling the circumference of a swimming pool is set up vertically at the water’ edge. Take a nice shot with the towering sculpture in the backdrop.The historic landmark building is also home to “Diluvium”, an architectural installation by world renowned contemporary artist Lee Bul of South Korea. The monochromatic exhibit turns the entire gallery space into a monster, depicting a barren landscape devastated by glacial drift. Another nice photograph to cherish!

2. The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) has the most shows going on right now, among them the “Basket Tower” that’s part of the Happy-Happy Project by Choi Jeong Hwa. The Seoul-born designer-cum-artist is renowned for turning found objects and day-to-day materials into stunning artworks. His artistic talents span a wide range of disciplines, from visual arts to graphic design to architecture. The Basket Tower that rises as tall as a five-story building will make a very nice shot.Dubbed one of Bangkok’s thriving art scenes, BACC also plays host to “Tape Bangkok”, an astonishing installation by the “Numen/For Use” design collective. The conceptual art installation is crafted of countless adhesive tapes that stick together to form a suspended tunnel that invites viewer participation. It’s an amazing work of art. Take off your shoes and climb on board. Plenty of nice shots inside the tunnel.

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#numen #bangkokartbiennale2018

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3. Siam Paragon. All eyes were on Siam Paragon, Thailand’s third largest shopping malls, even before the show began on 19 October 2018. Its main exhibition hall was thronged with a crowd of people eager to see amazing works of art by Yayoi Kusama being set up for the show. Dubbed “Queen of polka dots”, 89-year-old Kusama is passionate about pumpkins and hallucinatory repetitions of dots and loops that she uses to convey the idea of infinity. You will love “I Carry on Living with the Pumpkins’” 2016, and “Pumpkin” 2017, two collections that are on view for the first time in Thailand. So far, several famous persons, among them actress Kathaleeya McIntosh, have been there to take pictures with the polka dot pumpkins. The show won’t be there for long. So, don’t procrastinate.

4. BAB BOX @ One Bangkok. The headquarters of Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 play host to many interesting masterpieces on view indoors and out-of-doors now until 3 February 2019. They include “Your Dog”, a larger-than-life sculpture of a puppy by Japanese contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara, and “Fruit Tree”, a sculptural installation in vivacious color by Choi Jeong Hwa of South Korea. Whist there, drop by “Animal Kingdom” 2017, an artistic expression depicting a heavenly realm of strange creatures both real and imaginary, by Turkish woman artist Canan. A very nice shot to excite your imagination!

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🎨☁️☁️ #bangkokartbiennale2018 #happyweekend

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5. Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan is one of three historical landmarks that play host to exhibits as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. So far many art lovers have come away impressed by “Sweet Boundary: In the Light Tube” 2018, a site specific installation by homegrown artist Kamol Phaosavasdi. Equally thought-provoking is “What will we leave behind?” installations comprising over 100,000 miniature ceramics depicting human skulls by Thailand’s woman artist Nino Suwannee Sarabutr. The best time to take pictures of the exhibits is the late afternoon, no later than 1900 hours, during which natural light around the Main Stupa is perfect for great photography.

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💀 #bangkokartbiennale2018

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The above are five out of a total of 20 locations city-wide that play host to art exhibits as part of the Kingdom’s inaugural art festival. They translate into plenty of photograph opportunities for both locals and tourists who happen to be visiting Bangkok from now until 3 February 2019. We think you had better hurry.

Living ASEAN also recommends the following art destinations for your photo shoots.

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เง เลย์ ศิลปินชาวพม่า ใช้ผ้า8 ชาติพันธุ์ในเมียนมา ตัดเย็บเป็นช่องคลอด ให้เห็นว่าไม่ว่าใครก็แล้วแต่ ก็ต้องผ่านช่องคลอดออกมา ช่องคลอดไม่ใช่สิ่ง สกปรกหรือทำให้คนที่ผ่านช่องนี้ตกต่ำ แต่คือคุณค่า ที่เกิดมาพร้อมกับความเป็นแม่ ธรรมชาติ และผืน แผ่นดิน #bangkokartbiennale2018 ดูYouTube https://youtu.be/5LWkMChjoAU ลึกซึ้งรู้เรื่องราวของงานอาร์ต #กรุบกริบกรุบกริบกับแหนนะจ๊ะ #บ้านพระรามสี่

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Title: The Check Point 2018
Artist: Nge Lay
Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC)

ในภาพอาจจะมี 1 คน, สถานที่กลางแจ้งhttps://www.facebook.com/tgifspace/photos/a.241172956645582/345237022905841/?type=3

Title: Lost Dog
Artist: Aurele Richard
Venue: The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok

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📸 @cookpavadee #bangkokartbiennale2018

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Title: Happy-Happy Project: Breathing Flower (808 Chinese Characters)
Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa
Venue: BAB Box @ One Bangkok

Title: The State of Suffering
Artist: Sunanta Phasomwong
Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC)

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Crystalised reality

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Title: Across the Universe and Beyond
Artist: Sunitas Pradittasanee
Venue: Wat Arun, also the Temple of Dawn

Title: Memory House 2018 by Alex Face House
Artists: Souled Out Studios (SOS)
Venue: The Bank of Thailand (BOT) Learning Center

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put my thinking cap on #bangkokartbiennale2018

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Title: Companion Hands 2nd Edition
Artist: Khata SaengKha
Venue: The East Asiatic Building

Title: Sweet Boundary
Artist: Kamol Phaosavasdi
Venue: Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan

Title: Monuments of the Memory, the Golden Room
Artist: Paolo Canevari
Venue: Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan

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#bangkokartbiennale2018 #เกลอ

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Title: Giant Twins
Artist: Komkrit Thepthien
Venuje: Wat Arun, also the Temple of Dawn

Title: Chat…Naa
Artist: Arnont Nongyao
Venue: Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan

Title: Zero 2018
Artists: Elmgreen and Dragset
Venue: The East Asiatic Building

Title: Zou You He Che
Artist: Huang Yong Ping
Venue: Wat Phra Chetupon, also Wat Pho

Title: Zodiac Houses
Artist: Monthien Boonma
Venue: Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan

Title: Standing Structures for Human Use
Artist: Marina Abramovic
Venue: BAB Box @ One Bangkok

Title: Turtle Religion
Artist: Krit Ngamsom
Venue: Wat Prayurawongsawa Worawihan

Here’s the map to help you get to your destinations.

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**To rightful owners of the photographs, we thank you for your kind permission.

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Are We Living Life, or Just Playing Parts? In Conversation with Marina Abramovic

Are We Living Life, or Just Playing Parts? In Conversation with Marina Abramovic

A large crowd of art lovers queued up to get into Siam Pavalai, the Royal Grand Theater at Siam Paragon. Like everyone else, I had my ticket to the event ready for inspection. I could sense the atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm and energy. People were excited about the prospect of a vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic, the icon of live performance art and living legend. Dubbed one of the most influential personalities to date, the 72-year-old Serbian artist and writer apparently was doing extremely well.

/// THAILAND ///
Story : Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photography: Anupong Chaisukkasem

Inside, the sound of Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy brought the Royal Grand Theater to life.  As the beautiful piano music played, a slide show evoked the images of museumgoers taking it in turns to sit across the table from Marina Abramovic and look her in the eye. The artist was still and silent for the duration of the marathon live performance. The show brought a series of flashbacks of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”, her solo exhibition hosted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York back in 2010.

Taking a quick look around, I saw people both local and foreign gradually being ushered to their seats while dimming lights signaled that something was about to happen. Clair de Lune, French for moonlight, seemed quieter now setting the scene for the show.

Lights were back on as Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chair and Artistic Director of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, appeared on stage to deliver a speech making the opening of the show. He said the event coincided with one of the most important public holidays on Thailand’s calendar.

October 23, known as King Chulalongkorn Day, is observed nationwide in loving memories of the fifth monarch of the House of Chakri, who passed in 1910. The day also remembers his first official visit to Europe that took place 121 years ago. It was with mixed emotions knowing the journey also took him to Venice, Italy back in the day. Nowadays the “City of Canals” is home to one of the most celebrated art destinations in the world. La Biennale di Venezia, or the Venice Biennale, was founded in 1895 and have since become the model for other shows worldwide.

Out in the streets, it was raining heavily, but inside the Royal Grand Theater was filled to capacity to the point extra seats had to be provided to accommodate larger-than-expected crowds of art lovers. The Kingdom’s inaugural art festival, known as the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, began on 19 October and would run until 3 February 2019. The period saw more than 200 masterpieces by 75 renowned artists both local and international being on display at 20 landmark destinations throughout the city.

No stranger to Thailand’s artists circle, Abramovic was a visiting lecturer at Chulalongkorn University back in 2000 and since then has become fascinated with Thai culture. She was among the first world famous artists to accept the invitation to partake in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Abramovic began her art career in the early 1970’s in Belgrade, in what was then Yugoslavia. Active for nearly 50 years, she won the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her video installation titled “Balkan Baroque”.

The 2018 art festival in Bangkok offered the opportunity of experiencing the amazing works of Marina Abramovic, which included “Standing Structures for Human Use”, a live installation exhibit that looked into the power of silent communication and invited viewer participation. The other show, known as “Method”, was an experimental piece about the state of being present in time and space. It was presented by a team of artists from the Marina Abramovic Institute (MIA), which focused on durational works.

“Standing Structures for Human Use” is a collection of five wood poles in the upright position and adorned with crystals, each one unique in its own special way. Intended for viewers to practice meditation, the live installation is happening daily at BAB Box @ One Bangkok on Rama V Road now until February 3, 2109.

The artist said that a lot of work had gone into the making of the exhibit. There was a time she traveled as far away as Brazil to search out crystals that would be the most suitable for a show, in which she wanted viewers to participate. She could still recall many long hours sleeping on a bench inside a remote Brazilian mine. She searched among the rocks looking for clear minerals believed to have healing powers. The rest of the time was spent searching out new ideas for future art making. In retrospect, the long, arduous travel into the woods has had far-reaching effects on her art. It was a spiritual journey that went beyond traveling to work.

The fun started here. The moment Marina Abramovic entered the stage, she asked people in the audience to close their eyes and breathe in and out normally in sync with the rhythm she was giving. After 12 times, she told everyone to slowly open their eyes. Like a wow moment, it felt like the beginning of a new day, one that culminated in a rendezvous with a celebrity artist.

“Welcome to the present,” said the artist. A succinct opening remark directed the audience attention to something like we’ve got far better things to do than dwell in the past. Neither would we think about the future still to come. Marina Abramovic proceeded to outline three activities she wanted to talk about in that evening conversation. As she spoke, eight young performers who had undergone training with MAI appeared on stage. Like a scene of walking meditation, they lined up one after another behind her and began treading very slowly without making a sound. And it went on for the duration of her talk.

Abramovic speaks as young performers tread the stage slowly and quietly behind her.
Abramovic speaks as young performers tread the stage slowly and quietly behind her.

Abramovic said the eight performers had successfully completed training at an MAI workshop aimed at getting their minds ready for show. Like a long, arduous journey, they gave live performances eight hours daily and the exhibit continued for three weeks at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BAAC). It began on 19 October and ended on 11 November as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. From a wide field of hundreds of applicants, Abramovic handpicked only eight, among them Thai performance artist Thavisak Moolasawat.

The crux of the matter was a workshop on performance and material art, which the artist referred to as “Cleaning the House”. During training, participants went through different phases of intense activity. Some exercises involved the practice of walking very slowly that could go on for several hours. The focus was on breathing, motion, stillness and concentration of the mind, a method developed over several decades to prepare a select group of performers for long durational art exhibits.

Performance art is an exhibit presented to an audience within a fine art context. It can be performed live or shown via media. Abramovi said durational performances required a lot of physical and mental strengths and willpower to succeed. She said performance art, which could be art of any discipline, was different from acting or playing parts in stage or other productions, where actors and actresses assumed a different persona or put on a disguise. Quite the contrary, performance art was about living life and being who you were and what you stood for. A durational art performer was not performing a fictional role in any stage or screen production. The Cleaning the House workshop is about resetting the body, the fresh-and-blood living being, and preparing the mind to face the challenges in life.

Abramovic explains the idea behind the Cleaning the House Workshop.
Abramovic explains the idea behind the Cleaning the House Workshop.

The slow walking exercise soon changed to stillness where performers paired up and looked each other in the face. It was soundless, motionless and without response of any kind. They tried not to blink, because any shutting and opening of the eyes could result in losing a focus on the matter at hand. The show was modelled on a previous performance by Abramovic titled “The Artist is Present”, which was hosted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York in 2010.

The work of a lifetime
The work of a lifetime

Then came the moment of Abramovic’s work of a lifetime. A public declaration of her life and works appeared on the screen behind her. The artist said the formal announcement and listing of works she has performed from the past to the present has meant a lot to her. The same applied to any career, whether it be singer, songwriter, or authors and whatnots. Her life manifesto just went to show who she was and what she believed in.

After asking the performers to change from looking each other in the face to standing still with their eyes closed, Abramovic began reading her life manifesto clearly and slowly one item at a time. Some items were repeated many times over, especially ones that said an artist shouldn’t behave like a star, and that depression had no benefit for anyone pursuing an art career.

There was a big round of applause when she said: “Never should an artist fall in love with another artist.” She was speaking from life experience, subtly alluding to a romantic relationship with Uwe Laysiepen, also known as Ulay, her German partner and artistic collaborator. It was one of the most meaningful aspects of life and sources of deep fulfilment and companionship that had strong influence on her art during the 1980’s.

Abramovic reading her life manifesto
Abramovic reading her life manifesto

The meeting concluded with a Q&A session, in which the artist invited people to ask about anything. Sure enough, there were a lot of questions from members of the audience, both local and international. One of them harked back to a witty remark Abramovic had made earlier in the show, which said: “Never should an artist fall in love with another artist?”

To which, she answered from experience that apparently artists tended to have a lot in common. Their spirits and natural instinctive states of mind tended to be too similar. It was especially good from the get-go. Two artists could be ideally suited to each other, but rarely did it translate into living life together happily ever after. Exceptions were few and far in between. This writer thought the same applied to relationships in other professions, too. Don’t you think? Click this link to share your thoughts with us.

Without a doubt, Abramovic has been held in high esteem the world over. The long spiritual journey to respect and admiration must have taught her something. This writer finally got around to asking her what was it that had the most influence on her art.

This writer stands up for vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic.
This writer stands up for vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic.

Abramovic answered: “It was Rhythm 0.” She was referring to a solo live performance she staged at age 23. She could still recall it was one of the most challenging performances in her lifetime as artist. It was a test of the limits of the relationship between performer and audience. Between the artist and members of the audience, there were 72 objects that she put on the table. People were allowed to use any one of them in any way they chose, among them a rose, a feather, honey, scissors, a knife, even a pistol loaded with one bullet. The performance last six hours, during which her body sustained several injuries that brought out the dark side of human nature. Needless to say she felt really violated. Since then, Abramovic has spent more than four decades researching and developing spiritual and material art as tools to promote the positive traits of humankind.

The inaugural art festival saw the icon of live performances work non-stop for more than three weeks in Thailand, the longest visit she has ever made to a country she has grown fondest of.

The Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 began on 19 October and runs until 3 February 2019. There are 20 locations city-wide that play host to more than 200 masterpieces from all disciplines. In all, 75 artists from 34 countries across the globe are taking part in a joint effort to turn Bangkok into one of the world’s most sought-after art destinations.

The moment this writer has been waiting for, the opportunity of meeting the artist up-close and picking up a book with her autograph on it. | Photo courtesy of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
This writer’s most treasured possession

This writer told Marina Abramovic that he wanted more than just an autograph. He would really appreciate an inspiration, especially to do something creative. And the artist scribbled something resembling two mathematical expressions being equal. This writer then asked her what she meant by it. With a smile, she answered in a clever and amusing way: “Infinity plus infinity, then on one knows the answer.” Aha! I’ve got it.

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