• A Psychic Flood in Bangkok

    Date posted: February 14, 2013 Author: jolanta

     

    The mega-floods of 2012 were extremely well-documented, of course, but as far as I’m aware, Miti Ruangkritya is the only photographer whose work reflects Thai society’s psychic experience of the floods in a really interesting way. Instead of the usual record of spectacular damage or the ‘upbeat’ spin of good citizens helping each other in this oh-so-caring land, which I’m thoroughly sick of, Miti delved deeper, beyond the superficialities. He zeroed in on the excruciating months-long panic attack that Bangkokians suffered from vigilantly monitoring the crisis on the news as we waited for the floods to reach us.

    By Manit Sriwanichpoom

    The mega-floods of 2012 were extremely well-documented, of course, but as far as I’m aware, Miti Ruangkritya is the only photographer whose work reflects Thai society’s psychic experience of the floods in a really interesting way. Instead of the usual record of spectacular damage or the ‘upbeat’ spin of good citizens helping each other in this oh-so-caring land, which I’m thoroughly sick of, Miti delved deeper, beyond the superficialities. He zeroed in on the excruciating months-long panic attack that Bangkokians suffered from vigilantly monitoring the crisis on the news as we waited for the floods to reach us.

    I like it that he chose to shoot at night. Daylight may reveal every sensational detail of a disaster, but the obscuring night with its random pools of fluorescent tube light reveals our state of mind.

    By employing depth of field and long exposure, Miti was able to record as much texture as possible: the water ripples that softly reflect objects and buildings; the stillness in the atmosphere; the neon-lit, eerie surface of moving water invoking our store of horror-sci fi images; blazing street light on a flooded road that appears like a wandering lost soul; a stranded monument to democracy– a glowing island in the night, complete with a statue family of a man, woman and child, that seems to emphasize our utter desolation, a sudden, poignant summation of our present political woes. Then here’s a large shrine almost completely covered with tattered monk’s umbrellas and equally wretched doll offerings of elephants, zebras and magic boys—even the gods who should save us cannot escape this grief. Seen from a high perspective, the army of cars parked on a highway overpass in a mostly vain attempt to keep them dry, seems to be lemmings rushing to drown themselves in the dark water ahead, as if compelled by intimations of a graver doom.


    Imagining Flood: A photographic exhibition by Miti Ruangkritya will be on view from March 2 – April 28, 2013 at Kathmandu Photo Gallery.

    Images courtesy of Miti Ruangkritya

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