August, 2018

Bombyx storytelling coming soon!

August 22nd, 2018

For one night only, Bombyx will be revived and kicking with the rich and varied voices of Bangkok’s storytellers…

Stay tuned — dates and theme to be announced soon for OCTOBER or NOVEMBER

Rainy season drink specials

August 22nd, 2018

Sweet, sour, spice to fight the rainy season blues!


 

Todo El Mundo; tequila, mezcal, passion fruit juice, passion fruit soda, lime-salt-chili

 

NEW OLD CITY –The Permanent Temporary Mound by Shinya Akutagawa

August 22nd, 2018
24 August – 13 October 2018
Opening Reception 24 August 2018, 7pm
 
Shinya Akutagawa has created an elevator as a ‘non-place’ (‘Utopia’ in Greek language) with Trai Phum (Three Worlds in Thai language) as ‘Exceptional Places’ (out of modernity) as an interactive installation. His work raises the question—how can we see culture, from which perspective should the arts be shown regardless of the nationality? 
The installation presents non-places (elevator, hyper-modernity or utopia) where the audience is expected to see exceptional places (the idea of Trai Phum) from the non-places. 
 
 
 
Three Worlds of King Ruang (Trai Phum) written in 14th century is the first truly literary work by a Thai author. It is considered essential for considering the identity and culture of Thailand. While the conception of ‘world’ within the book doesn’t correspond to modern science, its philosophy will amaze contemporary thinkers. Similar to meditation practitioners who reach the stage of ‘all perception and non-perception’ or ‘nothingness,’ there is still a realm above and beyond this that cannot be described because those who reach Nibb?na do not return to tell us.
Modern cartography gave shape to Thailand since the 15th century, influencing not only geography but also Thai people’s identity as nation state. Yet this geography of modernity still could not swallow and digest the mysteries of ancient maps of Ayutthaya showing the mythical Golden mountain, Trai Phum. 
 
The Elevator is one of the symbols of hyper-modernity located everywhere. In urban life, its function ‘must’ be perfect. As functionality is the ultimate requirement for the urban condition, there is no cultural aspect if an elevator is out of order or operates in a unique manner. However, if an audience is on a ‘symbolic’ elevator, it can be a device for rethinking contemporary society. Inside an elevator is a homogenized ‘non-place’ where one spends significant time regardless of social status. At the same time, on the elevator, passengers who must have their respective ‘culture’ stay with others temporarily, all of them deprived of their cultural identity.

 

Otherwise Inside by Samak Kosem

August 15th, 2018

19 July – 16 August 2018
Opening Reception 19 July 2018, 7pm 

“Pondan under the Pondok’ is a photography series based on my anthropological field research trying to understand queerness in the Muslim society of Thailand’s Deep South, where LGBT issues are a very sensitive topic to discuss and gay people often cannot reveal their sexual identity. This series is mainly about the self and representation of being queer amidst Islamic fundamentalism. The photographs were taken during Samak’s field research in 2017. 

 
 
As he grew up and studied in an Islamic school (pondok), Samak was often bullied as a ‘pondan’ (in Melayu) or ‘kratoey’ (in Thai), which are more or less derogatory terms for gay or transsexual people. Samak had a close friend called Walad who suffered the same everyday abuse but was much braver in expressing his gay identity, sometimes cross-dressing when we went to bars. Yet his parents were very devout Muslims, and as long as Walad obeyed them in certain things he was free to be he wanted. He prayed five times a day, he wore Arabic dress to the mosque, and then he changed into his going-out clothes with high-heeled boots and a leopard-print miniskirt. 
 
People at school were forever telling them that because of their aberrations God would never accept their prayers. But they also came to their rooms for sex at night. This gave him the idea for a Muslim Prayer Book that took gay Muslims as the model for learning how to pray for other people to respect us as equals and leave the judging to God. 
 
 
This also formed the basis for his field research in the Deep South Thailand in early 2017 to develop my Ph.D. proposal on homosexuality in Islam. To do that, he taught myself photography, making a first series that tried to understand young gay students, gradually winning their trust so they would allow me to capture their real selves.
 
Samak’s photography also focuses on the practice of many male Muslim students of “len pheuan”, a term signifying same-sex sexual activities among their peers that they do not perceive as gay. In this way they create a sense of “brotherhood” without ostensibly violating religious precepts. Young Muslim men in his view interpret religious practices on bodily principles to make them feel less guilty about their sexual desire. The photos reflect this ambiguous definition of male same-sex relationships in the paradigm of Islamic schooling. 
 
This constructed “bromance” highlights the fluidity of sexuality and its diverse dynamics. This photograph employ a reflexive ethnographic approach, drawing on his own experience from when he was twelve years old to approach sensitive questions of Muslim homosexuality through the experiences of rebellion, atonement, hidden desire and losing the self in religious discourse and textual interpretation focused on concepts of the body and sexuality in the Qur’an and Islamic morality. The photos, therefore, aim to understand socio-cultural and sexual relations by opening a space for gay Muslim voices that have long been hidden and blanked out by Islamic fundamentalism in Thailand. 
 
Samak Kosem
Born 1984, Bangkok, Thailand
 
Samak Kosem works in the field of visual anthropology and his recent research in the Deep South focuses on Muslim culture and and nonhuman subjects. He uses photography and art ethnography as a methodology to reflect aspects of his studies. Samak is interested in queer studies, focusing on homosexuality in Islam to understand the limits of gender perspective in the region. He holds a BS and MA in cultural anthropology from Chiang Mai University. Most of his work has been published in books and academic journals. 
 
Queer Muslim will be Samak’s first solo photography exhibition. His other set or works are recently selected to participate in the first Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 in October 2018.
 
His latest interview (In Thai): https://prachatai.com/journal/2018/04/76449
 
 
Visitor information
WTF Café & Gallery 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
www.wtfbangkok.com
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission
 
For further information please contact:
Somrak Sila, Christopher Wise
Tel: +66 (0)2 662 6246, +66 (0)89 926 5474, +66 (0)89 926 5159