Pink Man on tour # 4 - Amazing billboard 'Pepsi hilltribe culture conservation
From the Pink Man series, 1998 (2)
"Bankok is in
a crisis situation. The more we change, the more we destroy ourselves.
We have skyscrapers hovering in the haze of Bankok's smog but we don't
know our neighbours.
We are surrounded by things but we are losing our spirit and soul."
Sriwanichpoom is an artist/activist from Thailand, who uses photography
and video to make art of a social and political nature. As well as his
solo photographic pieces, he has worked in collaboration with other Thai
artists and community groups to make work which critiques government policy.
This Bloodless War
In the series
"This Bloodless War - greed, globalization and the end of independence"
(see below), Sriwanichpoom took six classic photo-reportage images from
the Vietnam War and the bombing of Nagasaki (historic moments from Asia's
twentieth century conflicts with the West) and recreated them in a critique
of Thailand's economic development plans in light of commercial imperialism
and global capitalism.
The black and white
photographs were mounted on large boards and exhibited along the roadside
in a central Bangkok street.
images subvert the notion of Asian people as powerless victims with ironic
humour, provoking us (as viewers and consumers) not only to recognise
the corporate powers which impact on developing economies but also to
question the way the histories of these countries have been framed by
Western news media.
- 1999 was "Amazing Thailand Year", a campaign by the Thai government
and private sector to promote international tourism. Sriwanichpoom called
it a "promotional drive to 'save' the country -- by selling it."
response he conceived and documented a piece performed by artist Sompong
Thawee, which occurred at various landmark locations throughout Thailand,
called 'The Pink Man on Tour'. (see above) The video was shown in 1998
at a group exhibition in Bankok called "Never My Land" and the
photos were made into postcards. These were sent to a site specific group
exhibition curated by Erika Tan and Neil McConnon in Bloomsbury, London,
whose theme and title was 'Souvenir".
recently Sriwanichpoom was involved in demonstrations against Hollywood
movie, "The Beach". This new film starring Leonardo di Caprio
- about the backpacker trail - was being shot on Phuket beach, an ecological
reserve in northern Thailand. Despite being a protected environmental
area, filmakers were allowed to import palm trees and resculpt the beach.
And now that the film has been made, how many more tourists will be rushing
to the island on the Leonardo trail?...
The graphic image
(below, right) is taken from Sriwanichpoom's Amazing Thailand postcard
WISH YOU WERE HERE?...
uses photography and video to deconstruct and re-version a vision of Thailand
from his own perspective.Photography
frames places or events or a moment, thereby determining our reading of
the image. Our memories of events and our readings of history can be greatly
influenced by the way photography has represented things or people, by
what has been included and what has been left out.
- What would you
make, inspired by this artist's work?
could look at a series of historical documentary, advertising and family
photographs, depicting holidays and tourism, to examine how these different
genres represent the same subject. Can you identify the main formal
elements (colour, composition, lens angle etc) in each case and compare
how they are used differently to convey meaning?
a postcard depicting a place you know well (a photograph or a painting)
and think about what is missing. Using photography and photomontage
or collage techniques or using a digital photo manipulation package
like 'Photoshop", you could recreate your version of the scene
(possibly even going there to re-photograph it), as you think it should
look or as you wish it could look.