20th Aug. 2015 I arrived in Bangkok to continue work on self-organized & artist run spaces. With travel support from UKS, The Young Artists Society of Norway, I aim to map out the local art scene through visiting art galleries, cultural institutions and other cultural platforms. The plan is to try to speak to as many local cultural producers, artist, gallery holders, curators etc. My time is limited, but I hope to find out what is happening in the city, why it seems so hard to enter as an outsider, what the level and quality is of the exhibitions and the critical discourse. I will write about the spaces as I go, these writings and reflections will necessarily stay on the surface a bit, due to time restraints and limited pre-knowledge about the local scene. It’s not easy to find much information about the identity and characteristic of the Thai art scene, if there even is an overarching one.

On the first day, I visited the SIAM Society and BACC, two of the more prominent institutes in Bangkok, but they represent an entirely different part of cultural life in the city. The SIAM Society was founded under Royal patronage in 1904. Its holds a museum, a library, a bookshop, conference spaces for meetings and lectures. The library is free for all to visit, but you have to pay a fee for using computers. The collection focuses on the history, natural and cultural heritages of South-East Asia. Most lectures seems to be focused on anthropology, archaeology and history of sites, buildings as well as the botanical richness of the East.You can apply to become member, once accepted the membership fee is very high for normal Thai laborers. The Society also organizes study trips to historical sites in Thailand such as for example to Ayutaya, as well as international locations such as Iceland. The cost for such travels seems to me so high that only very few percentage Thai could consider joining. The library is a treasure in its own right, with much specialized literature and it’s a calm oasis to escape from hectic Bangkok to work or just sit and peruse through books. Unfortunately I doubts that locals would know about the place, let alone set foot, inside. There is a quite high threshold to cross, due to its exclusive and elite feel. As I heard from a local artist, ‘The Siam Society was never made for the Thai people, it was made for foreigners and it exoticizes South-East culture and history’. However I think it is great that there was/is an attempt at conserving local culture in such a way. Last time I was here, I found an incredibly interesting Anthropology book called Reflections on Thai Culture, written by William J. Klausner.

The BACC, represent the heart of the contemporary art scene. It’s a building, like many art buildings in Europe, which is quite recognizable in form, on the inside reminiscent of the circular twirling shape of the Guggenheim Museum in NY. Unlike European museum models, the building is inhabited by commercial book shops, cafe’s, smaller galleries, art stores. This time Photobangkok, an exhibition as part of a larger festival PhotoBangkokFestival has taken over most of the floor, while the conference/screening rooms were occupied by the 17th Thai Short Film and Video Festival. The selected young photographers shown here exhibited a range of humorous and political work, I especially liked the series by Pongsathorn Leelaprachakul called Authority and Sarawut Tae-o-sot called Reality Really? I still have to return to see Pause, an exhibition part of the festival on the top floor. More on this later.

21-22 aug. 2015, I attentended a artist talk about the exhibition Through the Place and Image, which is also part of PhotoBangkok, showing work by Chulayarnnon Siriphol and Latthapon Korkiatarkul, curated by Suebsang Sangwachirapiban at Chulalongkort Art Centre. The Chula-Art Center is part of Bangkok University, it finds itself on the 7th floor of the library building of the campus. You have to pass through security and leave your ID in order to enter, if you are not a student or staff here. The works in the show were not photographs but are chosen due to the use of and affinity to photography. Curator of the exhibition S. Sangwachirapiban introduced the talk with discussing the history and the role of the Chula-Art center, topics shortly mentioned are shared authorship, flexibility of space, the gallery as question mark and experimental laboratory. The two artists C. Siriphol and L. Korkiatarkul gave a short overview on their respective practices. The former was discussing ideas related to using information from the actual space, to construct extra layers of information on top of the space again. The artist works with, amongst others, lights changes within a given room and animated projections of shapes on the gallery’s walls and corners. There were many illusory elements at play, which suggested an unfolding of the space, or different layers of movements and perception. L. Korkiatarkul, also works with space and perception but from a more minimal and laborious angle: such as retracing marks which has been left from people fixing up a gallery space after an exhibition or fixing up a wall to shear white gloss and perfection as part of a group show, enduring work that possibly few would notice. Something about his work and way of conversing about his works reminds me of Robert Irwins reflections in Seeing Something is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: the artist satisfaction in pursuing something trough, following up a small fascination to its actualization. Some of the ideas about the history of the art center itself seemed rather explanatory and didactic. Unfortunately there was no discussion between artists and between artist and audience afterwards. However it was exciting to see the process of the two young artists in the show. The Chula-Art Center is a large white box, a space which can be partitioned, it lends itself well to two dimensional work, as well as video.

I attended an artist talk on “DIASPORA and IDENTITY” by Chris Chong Chan Fui, (Malaysia/Canada) and Nipan Oranniwesna (Thailand) at the Jim Thompson House. The talk at the Jim Thompson House, was by two artist of the exhibition taking place now, called Missing Links which is curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong. I cannot tell you how relieved I am to see a woman curator in an important institutional role here. As most will know, Thailand is a very patriarchal society, and woman in art, just like in all other field I can think of, are absolutely under represented. In the period I have been working on this research project, I have rarely heard mention of important female artists, even observing the artist participating in the huge PhotoBangkok festival at the moment it becomes quickly clear that the gender imbalance here is immense. I have also at times strongly felt that I am stepping out of the expected bounds here, approaching curators and artist. In the quite cemented pecking order here, I suppose to be so humble as to the point of silence: being young, and female has its imitations here. I suppose I am half way being excused, because I do not seem much like a Thai anymore. More about this at a later stage, when I have gathered more facts.

The artist presentation by Chris Chong Chan Fui, was very engaging: as he himself admits he prefers to start working from structural and technical decisions and it is these decisions that determines the following narrative. As a consequence of his preferred work method, the talk was also organized as such. Addressing issues of form and structure, which forms open ended narratives. As for recurring themes in his work, I would pin point the blurring boundary between the artificial and what we presume or accept as the natural/authentic/identity of places, plants and people. Nipan Oranniwesna, is one of the teacher at Bangkok University, and his students were well represented in the audience. He is clearly a well loved ‘Ajan’ (Thai for teacher). The main topics of Ajans Nipan’s work are historical memory, minority cheap labors who forms the skeleton of the Thai society, such as the Isan people and Burmese immigrants. Like the artist, I am from Isan, the North-east of Thailand. Therefore I do have a weal spot for what he aims to make visible through his work. For example that ‘white’ people who come to Thailand to work or otherwise or being respected and praised, while immigrants of Burma or looked down upon, in similar veins as immigrated Thai workers in Singapore for example are under valuated, although they have paved the way for more jobs for the younger generation.

After the artist talk I met Irish art writer and curator Brian Curtin and artist Be Takerng Pattanopas for a conversation about the art scene here.Brian has been working on and off in Bangkok for the past fifteen years. He shared with me some of his ideas about the Thai art scene, the lack of a collective spirit due to competitiveness, as well as the strong presence of traditions related to the idea of ‘keeping face’. Both Brian and Be also told me about the extreme lack of funding, the extensive under evaluation of art both by the local government and the Thai citizens. Keeping this in mind it is quite impressive how art spaces seemed to have popped up like mushrooms: there is certainly a will and interest to establish a contemporary art scene. However, due to the fact that most gallery are supported by private funds, or artist / gallery holders working day jobs, it’s hard to see the sustainability of it all. As Brian said, in contradistinction to Singapore or Korea, where there are funding bodies, art patrons and corporate sponsorship, I seem to see no structural support to bring artists out into an international art scene.

Later in the evening I went to visit an art opening by Daniel Sewell at Whitespace Gallery. His work dealt with topics of prostitution and sex through provocative- raw – trash art, reminiscent of Paul McCartney’s work. Part of the exhibition also entailed improvised lyrics and music, inspired by Maw Lams, a Thai traditional manner of folklore singing, and fluxus way of composing. The topic of prostitution and sex workers, is such a sore topic within the history of Thailand, I applaud people working with the topic, but I would hope that there are more in depth and sensitive ways of approaching this problematic topic. The Whitespace Gallery, from what I can gather, seems to be a quite young space trying to support young artist, they aim for an open/experimental approach. The space itself, is a quite typical white box, but it lends itself well to smaller scale intimate exhibitions and experiments.

23th Aug. 2015, Sunday, all stores are closed but not the galleries. I passed by H Gallery, where Brian Curtin works as a curator, and at Kathmandu Gallery owned by internationally acclaimed photographer Manit Sriwanichpoom. H Gallery, is a quite unusual space, with more authentic Thai wood details. You need to ring the bell to enter. At the moment, there was an exhibition going on by Frank Day’s Call Waiting: Bangkok Phone Booths as well as work by Australian Giles Ryder called Tropical Malice, showing paintings and a neon light circular wall work. At Kathmandu Gallery, a gallery focused on photography, you will find a book store focusing on artist books and photography as well as an art shop on the groundfloor where you could buy framed photographs by M. Sriwanichpoom and other artist. On the upper floor there is a charming, white and green walled gallery space, at the moment showing an exhibition coined Signs by Akkara Naktamna. None of the works really seemed to stir anything in me, Giles Ryder works were reminiscent of textiles in the North-East used to wrap around head or waist, a characteristic sight connected for me to the rice farming culture. They were well painted, but because they were un-stretched, they started to fold inwards at the edges which seemed sloppy.  Akkara Naktamna‘s Signs, showed amongst others pictures of trees/plantation which were characterized by ghost-like shapes.


The sound of the scooter is muffled by my helmet.The landscape races by. Traces of blurry green spots wash away my ability to distinguish the people in the fields. I feel a hum in my belly and warm wind is softly caressing my cheeks. It seems like only yesterday that I fell asleep and rolled off the motorbike straight on to the asphalt road. Except from a few bruises I was unharmed. However the shock from awaking in such a disruptive manner, generated a quivering unpleasantness. The deceitful lulling of being in movement.


A Conversation, The Pilot Edition is a collaborative project between Robyn Nesbitt, Nina Barnett and myself. It is an attempt at exploring our common interests, namely landscapes, land, home and belonging through creating platforms for conversations. So far this has happened in a quite literal sense where we organize loosely themed dinner events or walks, which differed in degree in terms of formality and setting, for specially invited persons. We aim at finding and bringing together artists, researchers, critical thinkers interested in the before mentioned themes. The project was kick started last November 2014, in South Africa. For this first meeting we undertook a road trip together from Johannesburg to Cape town, this with the intention of sharing an intimate space (that of a car and that of a journey). This one months residency resulted in four events: you can read the invitation letter and see some documentation of these events below. The most important outcome however is still residing in the rough material that we have collected: sound recordings of interviews, many pictures, videos of the road and a growing mind map. We are working towards a catalogue, a home page and a podcast. All three things are designed to generate more conversations and to reach out to more like minded, open minded future collaborators. This project has generously been supported by OCA, Bergen Kommune, Sober&Lonely and Atlantic House. More info to come!

Below, the four events that took place last November, from most recent project to the first event which took place in Cape Town.

11 December 18:30

Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art

66 4th Avenue, Melville – Johannesburg 

A Conversation, The Pilot Edition PTt.4

Collaborative Interventions in Space

by Robyn Nesbitt (ZA), Nina Barnett (ZA/USA) and Apichaya Wanthiang (TH/BE)


Melville is a strange place. Quite empty by day, the area livens up quickly after the sun sets. Bars and restaurant turn on multi-colored lightning bulbs. Local students and tourists loudly take over this cityscape. The area has gone through many transformations: from being the trendiest place in Joburg to becoming more desolate due to the rise of petty crime. We would like to invite you on a walk with us. To observe these streets and its inhabitants, to share stories and rumors. We are curious about the way you look at this place. We want to hear some of your stories.

Evening program

6.15 pm  => Meet at S&L

6.45 pm => Melville walks

7.30 pm  => Open exhibition and conversation

10 December 18:30

Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art

66 4th Avenue, Melville – Johannesburg 


A Conversation, The Pilot Edition Pt.3

Collaborative Interventions in Space

by Robyn Nesbitt (ZA), Nina Barnett (ZA/USA) and Apichaya Wanthiang (TH/BE)


Joburg’s buzzing night life / lively, still commercially driven local art scene / a drive through the prickly Karoo / waiting silently for the sun to set / drawing the mountain flanks of Swartberg / observing landscapes and roadscapes / collecting diverse interviews / a conversation at Atlantic House

We have used the city as a prop, a thing that engenders conversation. We have exchanged ideas with colleagues and friends, discussing topics such as home, belonging and land. These conversations have become the material we would like to share with you at this round-table gathering. We will provide snacks and drinks. Please join us in this social exchange of thoughts and memories.

Evening program

6.00 pm  => meet at S&L

6.15 pm  => wine & snacks, introductions & dusking

6.30 pm  => presentation and round table conversation

7.30 pm  => open exhibition and informal discussion

3 December 18:15

Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art

66 4th Avenue, Melville – Johannesburg 

A Conversation, the pilot edition pt.2

by Nina Barnett, Robyn Nesbitt, Apichaya Wanthiang


In villages, all activities stop when day turns into night. Families huddle together around the dinner table or sit together to drink or play. These are moments of sharing, storytelling or just silent contemplation. City life is marked by the absence of this daily rhythm.

We would like to invite you to come have dinner with us, while the sun sets slowly.

Evening program 3.12.2014 (Invite Only)

6.15pm            => meet at Sober and Lonely Institute (66 4th Avenue, Melville)

6.30pm            => wine and dusking

7.15pm            => a small Melville walk

7.30pm            => dinner and conversation

(We did not take much pictures this evening due to intimate setting, but an edited recording of the conversation that night is coming soon!)

29 November 17:00 

Atlantic House

1 Perth, Maitland – Cape Town

11 December 18:30

Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art

66 4th Avenue, Melville – Johannesburg 

A Conversation, The Pilot Edition Pt.1

Collaborative Interventions in Space

by Robyn Nesbitt, Nina Barnett and Apichaya Wanthiang


Mandela passes / revisiting the village, twice / flooding in South East Asia / famine / exploring East-Africa / Ebola / right wing resurfacing / slowly rooting / home, a room with light / Joburg observations equals heightened awareness and night vision / Malema and red overalls / Oscar Pistorius, Nkandla, Tim Noakes and Radio 702 / Wang’ Thola is formed / Cosmo / boundaries of whiteness and sunburn / seeing the sea / identifying as South African / feeling disingenuous / weighed down by gravity / displaced / a shared, known space of collaboration /unhinged and floating / then folding back upon oneself / as a cure for lucid dreaming we bought a new bed.

Between November 2013 – 2014,

Johannesburg / Chicago / Bergen


The Jacaranda is an invasive tree. The glimmering, toxic green surface of the pool of her parents’ house reminds me of the rivers of Nikel in Russia. Ironically, they reveal quite contrary processes. The greenness in Nikel was a result of the accumulation of toxic waste due to aggressive mining strategies. The pool in Johannesburg unveils the rainwater flushing out the chlorine and the pollen and leaves of the purple Jacaranda tree which fall in it, stimulating the growth of algae. The water seems estranged from its surroundings: a surface so seemingly artificial, but which reveals a haunting depth of time and microbiological systems interacting.

When Jacarandas begin to blossom, it’s too late to start studying. Most things are displaced and uprooted – even the Jacaranda tree is slowly dying out.

I remember a certain ease. You were polite, which seemed familiar and attractive. On the second-to-last day in Bergen it was raining. We sat down at Colonialen, the local coffee bar. Then followed a stream of words, many of which I cannot recall. This image of how you temporarily inhabited the island of Utsira, just outside of Bergen, stuck. How you observed the landscape, simultaneously but through different lenses. I was attracted to the idea of sharing this experience of being in a place and collecting landscapes. At once so intimate and fragile, it is something we generally submerge ourselves in alone. While you were describing your subjective and tiny presence on the island, I thought: pity you are leaving already.

Afterwards, we talked about belonging, the remote and the nearby. We were far away from each other: geographically, and sometimes emotionally. Technology regularly broke up the dialogues. Even with difficulties, the desire to share, to attempt to relate, to understand was constant. What is the material of invested spoken and listening time? Is tangible evidence necessary for the conversation to become valid? When is this collecting work and how can it be experienced by others?

We would like to continue this conversation with you. This exchange aims to engender a thought, a trigger or a retelling – sharing our ideas as a starting point.


Robyn Nesbitt, Nina Barnett and Apichaya Wanthiang

The gallery shows images from the roadtrip Johannesburg-Cape Town and some documentation images of the first public event at Atlantic House.

A Conversation – Pilot Edition, Residency program*

24/11/14 – Johannesburg (Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art)

25/11/14 – Karoo Beaufort West

26/11/14 – 27/11/14 Karoo Prince Albert

28/11/14 – 30/11/14 Cape Town

29/11/14 – Cape Town (Atlantic House) * Public Event

1/12/14 – 12/12/14 Johannesburg (S&L)

6/12/14 – Johannesburg (S&L) * Public Event

11/12/14 – Johannesburg (S&L) * Public Event

* Please check Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art and Atlantic House’s webpages for further details.

oca_logo  Bergen Kommune sm      S&LATLANTIC HOUSE

After many months of traveling, back in the studio: I have started a series of paintings based on pictures taken in East Africa. The paintings below are inspired mostly by the Burundian landscapes. A small glimpse of some of these activities: What you see below are the first few layers, I am trying not to overwork the paintings and to keep an eeriness.

curiosity and things , dried ochres and lushfull deceiving greens , he told me yesterday that it should’ve been more up beat, up beat, up tempo, when you run and run, exhaustion, light headedness, dizziness 

a growing concern, a pot plant, still, a still life, fast forward and then the night, when the body fosters sleep

Still, a song was a painting exhibition taking place at Sound of Mu in Oslo, Mai 2014.

Above: A walk through the installation: documentation of WWFHR

For the past one and a half year I have been working towards an immersive installation called Without Waiting for her Reply (or shortened to WWFHR). The installation consisted of a webcam that was live streaming the landscape from the north east of Thailand, weight sensors that were remote controlling the webcam( and therefore they were also determining the framing of the landscape), and a synced video loop that was a recollection of daily life activities and Maw Lams which are typical folk songs from that specific part of Thailand. For this project I collaborated with an architect to built the structures to house the videos and  the stream, an IT developer to initiate and organize the building of the first internet tower in the village and an hardware electronics developer to built the weight sensors and the Arduino connection. A theater studies scholar was invited to come and write about the piece.

Many unexpected epiphanies had arisen: The idea of authorship is in constant renegotiation when you have ‘collaborators’. Some of those will be mainly responsible for technical stability, others might be or become co-authors or shareholders of the piece. Another key realization is that the time and the circumstances of how one ‘sees the work’ determines the built relationship between audience and work. For example during this exhibition people came in the middle of the night, they had to walk outside of the city center before they reached the immersive space of the installation. Looking became more diffused and tiredness of the night made the viewers more open and engaged to the slowness of the piece.

As always I am investigating ways to engage people, to affect bodies, to built temporary homes and to activate different timescapes. I am searching for practical parameters of how to be more in control, in my alternating roles, that of the storyteller and that of the host. A sub-theme here is, how do I tell stories? What is the main differences between being a storyteller or a host? Practically I am exploring live streaming, painting installations and text or narration in space. I am interested in ways of collecting time, and to activate landscapes or timescapes at a distance.

Questions that determined the outcome of the installation were : How do I make presence a landscape and timescape that is remote. How do I share the history of the space I want to transfer in the most direct manner? How do I cultivate ‘slow time’ ? When is time slow enough to make people dwell and wander, and to make them fold back upon their own presence in a mediated space ?

I had many great collaborators for different parts of the piece. Cristian Stefanescu helped me with developing and building the construction part of the installation. Sindre Sørensen helped me with thinking up the whole live stream set up, the webcams connections and the installment of this, in Thailand as well as in Norway. Roar Sletteland, developed the weight sensors and the arduino that is remote controlling the webcam in Thailand and Esther Tuypens wrote a beautiful and fitting text that accompanied the exhibition. Beside this I got major support from BEK, especially from Lars Ove Toft for general mentorship,  Trond Lossios with the sound adjustments in space and Stian Remvik with the syncing of the video piece. Eirik Solheim Aakhus and Markus Moestue helped with the construction part of the piece. For all the people not mentioned but that were there for moral support and other, you know who you are, thank you! There was much love and care involved with the project and I am happy to see it finally up and running, almost without any technical difficulties which is a miracle in and by itself. If you want to read more about the content and framework of the piece, please go the ‘text section’ of this webpage.

A first attempt to document this installation. The infrared light and white light from the projector is hard to capture as it is in the exhibition space… but it will give an idea on the set up. Just imagine that the lighting is more subtle then how it looks like on the imagery.

For process pictures click here.

To read Esther Tuypens text for the exhibition, click here.

BEK, Bergen Kommune and the Arts Council Norway generously supported this exhibition. Thanks to USF-visningsrommet.

Opening, April 4th 2014

Yesterday it was openings night. Around a hundred visitors showed up. Everyone was crowding up on the platform waiting for the light to break through the night. Waiting around together for almost an hour and forty minutes became a rather social event. When the stream went from night grey to color image, there was a small euphoric moment in the space. Unexpectedly… Below some hazy images of this event. Better documentation of the work will follow soon.

Installing, April 2014

Today we started building at USF, so far all is good. The base for the two main structures are starting to materialize. The Stream in Thailand is running, with some minor struggles. We sorted wood, and started building the frames. The sun was shining bright outside of USF, and it was a pleasant working day. The construction team consist of Eirik Solheim Aakhus, Markus Moestue, Cristian Stefanescu and me.

Testing, March 2014

Some images of testing the weight sensors and live stream with Sindre Sørensen and Roar Sletteland. The exhibition is getting closer and things are slowly resolving themselves… Last night we watch the sunrise from an entirely ambigsous starry sky or noise poetics to a lush greenery scene. The rythm is set, the frame decided: I cannot wait to see all the pieces come together in a week from now. (Pictures below by Birk Nygaard).

Collecting, Febr 2014

Below, some images of testing and working together with Cristian Stefanesu, we were out collecting wood on Askoy: collected some pieces of a tree house and a rotten shed. After which we did some testing in the space: exploring the height,  atmosphere and movements at USF-visningsrommet. (pictures by Cristian Stefanescu).

The Model, jan 2014

We have started the preparation for Without Waiting for Her Reply, which will be shown at USF coming april. For the first time I am trying to building a model with architect Cristian Stefanescu. It is going slow, … below some first images of the model.

Preliminary testing in Ban Tow Hai, Thailand, Jan 2013

For a while I have been interested in ways of activating ‘real time’ as part of my installations: I was thinking about this in a quite literal sense, because building installations I feel, is already fundamentally an attempt to activate the here and now of a space. As part of my internship at BEK I finally got to explore these ideas in a concrete way: I travelled back home to the village where I grew up to explore how to use live streaming as a basis for upcoming investigations and installations:

For this part of the project I was collaborating with Sindre Sørensen. We were mostly exploring ways of sending the most stable live feed from the village. At such a remote location where there was no Internet access from before, just getting Internet was the main challange for some weeks. After negotiating with some contractors, we managed to get Internet through a 21m tall tower in our backgarden, with an antenna on top that connected to other towers in neigbouring villages. After this, we explored weather proof IP cameras that we can remotely control: we managed to send stable feed from the village to Norway and it has been stable for some weeks now, which is a good sign. Now we know better what the possibilities are for using this as basis for upcoming experiments.

The results of these ventures will be shown next spring at USF.

BEK supported me generously with equipment, mentorship and time.

The voyage back was also supported by Bergen Kommune.


From -x to 2m, unwillingly agitations creep in / From -15m to X, driftwood and deerhunters / From -x to 93m, she was collecting stray-dust  all 40cm x 40cm, acrylics on canvas