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Hello from Thailand
Hi! It’s Jen(nifer Katanyoutanant)
Welcome to a small pocket of my life where I’ll share topics I’m exploring, places my brain has gone, and where the rest of my body is.
For now, it’s in Thailand.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been collaborating with Siwakorn Odochao (aka P’ Swae of Lazy Man Coffee) and interactive art studio, Invisible Flock, on research around rotational farming, connections to land, and human rights (more here: Land Body Ecologies).
After countless zoom meetings, online exhibitions, workshops, and phone calls, we finally met in meat space.
Swae took us around Ban Nong Tao for one week. We interviewed his father, his mother shared her beautiful voice, and we stayed at the newly finished community center he spent 4 years building.
This is what it looked like just 1 year ago:
He designed the house, cut the trees, made the planks, wired the electricity…everything! Plus he makes a killer cuppa. Everyone in the community respects him, his kids adore him, and he faces land rights issues with measured patience and persistence.
Just the other day, a CP rep asked to use his pictures and slogan for their own campaign. This is the same company that funds the current administration’s move to force indigenous people off ancestral lands. He’s the kind of person to hear the rep out, relate as a person, but firmly decline (More here: Ban Nong Tao Reflections)
But above all else, he’s very silly.
I met Swae last year, but this was my first time meeting Vic, IF creative director. The whole IF team not only makes beautiful work, they champion an artist-led approach - exploring for the sake of exploring, without expectations.
I already knew Vic would be kind and generous, but I’ve been stalking IF’s work for so long that I couldn’t help but feel intimidated. That slowly melted away after getting to know Vic. She’s warm, calm, loving, and encourages every small kernel of an idea. She says getting to know people is the work. Everything else is a bonus.
It’s so crazy that these connections we make online through abstract rectangular squares carry real weight on the other end.
Anyway, here are more imprints from that week:
Recording audio of the coffee roaster. Swae’s coffee is fruity, mellow, and perfect for rainy days.
Swae’s son, Chatuwa, listening to sound of his birth tree (more on this in the upcoming LBE podcast). This one sounded like a river.
Pre-breakfast snack: fresh avocado and coffee
Before // After (box roasted chicken)
Woman weaving traditional Pgak’yau cloth
Waterfall hike with Paje (Swae’s daughter)
Swae’s father making a bamboo basket
Burning chicken feathers as an offering
Morning rice paddy guessing game of “invasive or local?”. The royal projects introduced these invasive species and now farmers have to sift them out by hand.
I’m fascinated by how food intersects migration, technology, the environment, and human rights. At some point I’d like to write a limited run pop-up newsletter (a la Craig Mod) to explore those other strands, but this one you’re reading now will be a mainstay.
If you’re still here, I promise to be short, breezy, and no more than bi-monthly. See you in a couple weeks.
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