Click the link for Thai Version : https://vogue.co.th/lifestyle/article/bangkonintherain-hellonearth
'Bangkok in the rain = Hell on earth’
Delve into the young architect
who created work reflecting a tough life in the capital.
When it rains, no one cares how life messes you up,
but the aesthetics of this photo series
reflects more awareness than you could imagine.
Interviewed By Nattanam Waiyahong
October, 14 2020
Rainy season is a difficult time for everyone.
People of all classes in Bangkok are facing different problems from traffic,
incapability to buy food or daily use, to the dread of the rain that blows away basic living factors.
All of these were always reflected in various fields of writing and art.
That explained why the post of this photo series at the beginning of
the mid-October, compares Bangkok in the rain to hell on earth,
became viral and shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook.
Vogue Thailand had the opportunity to get in touch with the owner of this work,
who is she? and what is she thinking? You can find answers in this article.
First of all, let's get to know the owner,
Gumpoong - Pongnapak Fakseemuang, Bachelor of Architecture,
Department of Landscape Architecture, Kasetsart University.
She is now a freelance landscape architect and photographer creating creative works.
She sees Bangkok as "Functional City”,
if people are not seeking for a career or life opportunity intensely,
there is no reasons to live in Bangkok. This concept is combined with
her personal preference for all forms of art and her inspiration.
At this point, we probably know that her art fundamental is seen through
the frames of her eyeglasses, that social reality does not romanticize
the capital city like Bangkok to be too heavenly to be true.
After we talked with Gumpoong for a while, then it came to the rain issue,
which she said,
“During the first year in the university, there were many absences due to the flood crisis.
Now, many years passed by, yet it seems to be getting worse and worse.”
She also emphasized that, "I know the problem cannot be solved in days or months
but now it's almost 10 years, at least the problem should get better. "
This issue sparked her idea to start looking at this big problem in Bangkok, then the mini-series was born.
“Bangkok in the rain = Hell on earth” is the title of the series
with five pictures that we are talking about. She said,
“In that moment, I just finished from a film set trying to head home with friends
but the rain was getting very heavy.
I’m so into the night lights, therefore I grabbed the camera
to take pictures through car windows”
A simple start but it became significant piece of work
that people all over the social media saw and shared more than thousands of time.
The more the author talks with her, the more he curious
how come she compares Bangkok in the rain to hell on earth.
He delved into her feeling until she revealed that,
"When I was taking pictures, all the cars didn't move at all.
I saw people walking in the rain, waiting in a very long line for public shuttle
that I couldn’t imagine when they will get home.
I was in my friend’s car wanting to go to toilet
but we couldn't even stop by the gas station because the water was flooding over the footpath.”
It's not just an external problem, it also means internal energy,
“I received a lot of negative energies from people who suffered from the rain on that day.
It was a tough Friday night”, she said.
She expressed that,
“Based on what happening and my feelings,
I decided to post those 5 pictures on the next day.”
She mentioned, “The last picture is in red,
because I edited it to express the anger in my mind.”
Gumpoong is not only a young woman who reflects emotions through photography
and leaves the story behind but she also has perception of the root of the problem
through her eyes in landscape architecture skills. She said,
“Bangkok has tiny area. In architecture school,
all students were taught to analyze the environment
and to design with minimal impact on nature. It should be like that.”
She also touched on social issues like street food and said,
“A restaurant waste was thrown into the culvert,
causing the water cannot be drained.
Many people might think it is not a big deal.
Now it is not the time to educate people,
I think we have gained knowledge of this issue all along
but the problem still exists, because no one takes action seriously.”
Raising awareness through words and aesthetics are the attraction of this work.
In this photo series, she said, “It always presented both sides of the problem and its beauty.”
“Beneath the beauty, the pictures are easily accessible to people
because of their understanding and experience.
I’m always trying to develop and learn more by extending
from what I had learned and what I could do,
to present in the way people will be interested in.
I like the way people make a movie to educate people, or write a song to raise people awareness.
Now, I’m looking back to myself, what I can do so far.”
This is a perspective from an architect who sends emotional difficulties
from the same old problem in Bangkok.
At last, the young woman who aware of the problem,
concluded the conversation with Vogue’s fan
“I want to give this message to everyone.
Overcome your fears, no matters what,
and always think that we can have a better life if we take a real look at the problem,
and solve it properly. Lastly, thanks to everyone who shared and always support me.”