After two weeks of travel in Thailand, I arrived yesterday at my final destination: ComPeung. The head of the organization, Ong, showed me around the rather impressive project.
Starting in 2005, he built a first very rudimentary hut (see pictures) in which he stayed for three months (during the rain season!) During that time, he built a first house using mud. The technique involves filling pet food bags with mud in order to build the walls. He told me nobody in the village would want to work for him because they all told him that was not the way to build houses, so he had to hire people from the Lahu tribe, who live in the hills.
Over the years, they built 2 other houses. The house I am staying in is the last one that was built. I got a nice little room, studio space inside and outside, as well as a bathroom with hot shower (!) That's even better than many places I have stayed so far in Thailand. My mobile works from here, I got electricity to run my equipment. The only thing really missing is the internet!
Currently on the site is a couple of Australian artists: Jean-Marc and Louise. They are here with their son Ruben for a two month stay (they've already been here for three weeks now). Louise is doing ephemeral works using dyed rice, mud, candles and incense. Jean-Marc is working on an outdoor projection screen built with bamboo and concrete. The other residents are three dogs named Reddick, Caw (stands for "white" in Thai) and Picasso. Two persons come to the place on a somewhat daily basis: Ong's father and a friend of Ong who's an hungarian photojournalist.
All over the place stand works of past artists who came to ComPeung, among whom the dreaded Istvan Kantor who made a neoist intervention in Doi Saket last year.
According to Ong, the dry season just started. You can feel it in the air, says he. I'm not that aware yet I guess but, it's true that the night was cool. The chill is not what waked my up this morning though, nor is the sunrise: it's the chant of the roosters that announced my first morning in my new home.After two weeks of travel in Thailand, I arrived yesterday at my final destination: ComPeung. The head of the organization, Ong, showed me around the rather impressive project.