Everything about Bangkok is an adventure. The basics: buying food, meeting people, finding (any form of) transport, all require a certain level of knowledge and (false) confidence. There are so many unfamiliar things and stimulating experiences, it is quite easy to feel overwhelmed. At night I sleep very well, purely from exhaustion.
The most difficult challenge has been recalibrating my mind not to recoil at some of the sights and smells, and to enjoy them as part of a local culture. Bangkok is filthy, foul, clamorous and jarring; it is also so delicious, and dynamic and fun, and the perfect place for discovery.
The Artist Residence is in the south east of Bangkok in Phra Kanong, which feels a very local and authentically Bangkok district. The W Market downstairs is bustling and vibrant every night, with mouthwatering street food, people from all over the world, and live music (ok, so usually the music leaves much to be desired). We definitely need more ‘town squares’ like this in our New Zealand towns and cities.
The other HOF Art resident is Annabelle Henderson, who is a French street photographer. Her night photography is simply beautiful; she has such a sensitive and nimble way of capturing a passing moment on the street. Annabelle has been invaluable in helping me to ease into Bangkok life, and it is comforting to have a friend who understands my purpose for being here. These are some of her Bangkok Instagram images from https://www.instagram.com/annabelle_henderson/:
Today we went to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) to hear photographer, Anup Mathew Thomas, speak about his recent residency in Bangkok and his current exhibition in the BACC Gallery. Surprisingly, the work he presented had nothing to do with his time in Thailand, and he used his residency time as simply a period of absorption and accumulating cultural experiences for his bank of inspiration. I feel like this is slightly cheating, but it was interesting to hear how another artist faced the challenge of having an art residency here.
As promised, I have been photographing lots of [things] to share with you. Mostly sights, scenes and artefacts that delight me, or speak to me in some way. However, rather than trying to compete with Annabelle's photographs above, I will direct you to my Instagram account where you can peruse at your leisure: www.instagram.com/paul_mclachlan.
I have had some pretty extreme and thrilling experiences in Bangkok, but many of these are not appropriate to share publicly. Just be assured I’m making the most of my time in Bangkok and I am loving mostly-everything about this strange city.