Digging in Bangkok


Photography : Roc Chaliand
Featuring Contemporary Artist « Joe » Ruangsak Anuwatwimon
« On the 3rd of September 2016 my friend and Thai contemporary artist « Joe » Ruangsak Anuwatwimon called me early in the morning to meet him and rush to join a peaceful protest led by local residents of « Pom Mahakan » / Mahakan fort, among which Pornthep Buranaburidet, Supanat Prajuabsuk, Paiboon Tularak and many others, in the historical part of Bangkok old town. Pom Mahakan, one of two 230 years old still standing forts out of 14 buildings protecting the old city of Bangkok, had been harbouring a respected community for over 200 years.

Earlier in the morning, a promoter from the BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) had invaded the fort with men, cranes and bulldozers and had started destroying the wooden houses of tens of families living in the premises. The BMA had a project to build a « historical park » where the community lives since 1978. The Community offered to allow the construction if they could remain there and were involved in managing the « park ». The offer was rejected.

« Joe » wanted me to take photos of the location before it was entirely torn down.
As a part of his artistic concept based on archiving the memory of living species and land, Ruangsak was to take samples of the soil inside the fort and where the houses had been demolished.

The process of his work had never been properly documented.
This documentary is the diary of this day spent with the Artist in a part of Bangkok no one might ever see again.
It is also the story of people losing their homes, their past and their future, digging in the debris of their life to find a single objet that could give them something to hold on to. »