BKK Hyperreal

Bangkok, Thailand

Overshadowed by the City of its past overlaying on top of the City of its present, Organic City, once a porous ground — a natural equalizer — now has become a bleakly dark and opaque valley. Sunlight can hardly penetrate through its physical presence resulting in those large patches of dark and opaque surface of deep valleys. Over time, these surfaces form a hard pan of dark and impervious urban texture that neither light nor rainstorm can seep through. Over the years, these overcast shadows seem to spread more extensively. The darker it is, the more opaque it becomes.

The locals at one time had the understanding of the nature of their environment — it is on the river delta and along the complex meandering network of waterways. It was once so right for their community because of its richness of food both from the land and from the water. It was also the right place for commerce — exchanges of commodities via the sea by way of the main river. Over time, through the inevitable force of urbanization, Organic City has been re-purposed with disregard of its natural ecology — from an aqua-culture community to a World-Class Metropolis overnight. The City has rapidly grown out of control. This shifting ecology has been a subject of controversy and despair for the City’s residents.

The inhabitants of this organic city have learned to cope with flash floods during tropical storms in every rainy season each year, some with a good sense of humor, and some in the spirit of the great Samaritan. With the phenomenon of global warming, the water current is rising, and the locals are now concerned about the anticipation of the next major one-hundred year flood and what a disaster it could become.

Design Team:
Raveevarn Choksombatchai, Peter Suen, D’Genaro Pullido, Norbert Wong

Bangkok_Hyperreal, A Field Guide to Bangkok (text accompanying the exhibition) (Actar D, New York)—01/01/2018