top of page

WEEKLY CRUSH

Gregory Tara Hari

10.5.24


Weekly Crush 10
Friday 10.5.2024 17:00 PM 
ปากน้ำปราณ / Pak Nam Pran



Hello there
In our previous Weekly Crush we've talked about numbers, money and value. Let's take a step back and value the feedbacks I get from you.

For this weeks Crush I would like to share a conversation I had with the lovely Andrea Sommer. We talked about origins, heritage, food and cooking and the balancing act between Appropriation and Appreciation. Our conversation was held in German but feel free to translate it yourself by https://www.deepl.com/de/translator

Enjoy!

***************************************************************************************

Dear Gregory

Habe endlich auch die Zeit gefunden, alle Weekly Crushes durchzulesen. Vielen Dank dafür, ich finde die Auseinandersetzung mit der Frage, woher wir eigentlich kommen sehr spannend. Ich beschäftige mich zurzeit vor allem im Zusammenhang mit Essen und Kochen damit. Dies, weil - wie du vielleicht weisst - Kochen eine grosse Leidenschaft von mir und zu einem gewissen Teil auch Part von meiner künstlerischen Praxis ist. Ich überlege mir häufig, wie mein Geschmack und meine Essens-Vorlieben zustande gekommen sind und damit einhergehend, woher ich eigentlich komme. Dazu frage ich mich grundsätzlich wo in diesem Zusammenhang Cultural Appropriation anfängt und aufhört, oder wann man von Cultural Appreciation reden kann. Eine solche Auseinandersetzung wird nie abgeschlossen sein und meiner Meinung nach macht es Sinn sich stetig mit diesen Fragen zu konfrontieren. Zurzeit kann ich lediglich sagen, dass Appropriation für mich ganz viel mit Profit und Ausbeutung zu tun hat. Aber gerade Essen ist für mich ein wunderbares Beispiel davon, dass sich Kulturen vermischen können und sollen. Natürlich ist dies nicht immer freiwillig passiert. Viele Zubereitungsformen von Essen, sowie die Verfügbarkeit von Lebensmitteln wurden durch die Kolonialisierung überhaupt ermöglicht. Gleichzeitig kann bei vielen Rezepten und Lebensmittelsorten keine „Herkunft“  mit 100%iger Sicherheit ermittelt werden. 

Auch die Frage des Zugangs zu Essen beschäftigt mich immer wieder. Für mich ist klar: Essen ist auf der einen Seite ein Machtinstrument. Auf der anderen Seite aber bin ich davon überzogen, dass dem gemeinsamen Essen und dem Zusammenkommen von Menschen für ein gemeinsames Dinner ein unglaublich starkes Potential inne liegt. Was bedeutet hier Herkunft. Sollen und wollen Herkünfte vermischt werden? … 

Das sind einige, sehr schnell niedergeschriebene und überhaupt nicht abgeschlossene Gedanken meiner Seite. 

Ich wünsche dir weiterhin eine ganz tolle Zeit! 

Liebe Grüsse aus Brüssel
Andrea

***************************************************************************************

Dear Andrea

Vielen lieben Dank für deine umfassende Rückmeldung und deine wertvollen Überlegungen.

Ja es ist doch super spannend zu erkundigen woher wir eigentlich sind. Ich habe lustiger-weise einige Bekannte die mit einer Genealogie-Plattform versuchen rauszufinden, wo ihre ethnischen Wurzeln liegen. Ist es denn so wichtig ob wir wissen wie viele Prozentsätze Italienisch ich bin, wie viel Alemannisch wir in uns tragen, oder vielleicht ein bisschen Russisch, wie damals eine Person aus dem Muotathal, die krass hohe Wangenknochen und leichte mandelförmige Augen hatte. Sie erzählte uns dass in ihrer Familie die Geschichte des Russischen Soldaten unter General Suworow erzählt wurde. Ihre Ur-ur-ur-...irgendwas-Grossmutter wurde damals "etwas" unfreiwillig von einem dahin streifenden Militär geschwängert...ein Thema dass im Nahen Osten und im Nahen Osten der Ukraine leider wieder aktueller und näher gekommen sind. 

Und dann ist da ja dass gute alte Essen. Schau mal auf die Thailändische Küche - weltweit geliebt und nachgekocht. Vielseitig, ausgewogen, aufregend, und unendlich köstlich. Die Thai's wussten genau wie man die besten Zutaten, die besten Zubereitungsarten, das Beste vom Besten von verschiedenen Kulturen nimmt und gekonnt kombiniert. Massaman Curry ist Indisch, Saikog Isan kommen aus Laos, Kanom Chin sind Chinesisch und so weiter.

Cultural Appreciation over Cultural Appropriation - oder einfach Culinary Intercultural Affiliation (?). 

In Laos hatte ich stark das Gefühl dass die Menschen ausgebeutet und regelrecht gebeutelt werden. Ein Spielball der Grossen, von Thailändischer Herrschaft, zu den Kommunisten aus Vietnam, die Chinesen, dann diese Amerikaner, ach ja da waren ja noch die Japaner, ui und die Franzosen haben wir vergessen, und jetzt wieder mehr Thai's. Wie ein Spielplatz den niemand will aber trotzdem bespielen möchte. Es lohnt sich so fest, den Blick auf vermeintlich kulturell minderwertige Orte zu setzen. Die Schweiz kann da gut mithalten, ein Land aus vier Sprachen und vielen weiteren inoffiziellen Sprachen, keiner einheitlichen Kultur, ein gesellschaftliches, politisches, kulturelles Gefüge dass niemand wirklich ganz versteht. Und dann die Schweizer Küche, come on - ein Bastard aus alemannischer, französischer, italienischer Küche mit bisschen hoch-alpinen Parmesan obendrauf. 

Dir wünsche ich die beste Zeit in Brüssel, grossartiger Ort - Belgien an sich, ein weiteres wenn nicht das beste Beispiel in Europa, wenn man über National Narratives, Identität, Kultur sprechen will. 

***************************************************************************************

To end this weeks Crush - let's maybe think about our own "culture". What's my personal cultural heritage? Does it relate to the place I was born, or the society I grew up in? Or did I adapt an entirely different culture myself or thru people I spend time with? Where does my personal culture start and where does it end?

Let's talk more about the origins of resources, such as ingredients, plants, seeds that influence our cultures. Stay curious!

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



A photo of a banana peel sitting in rum. Rum infused by banana's, why not? Served at a restaurant in Bangkok's China Town (in Thai; Krung Thep Yaowarat), owned by the 5th generation of a Chinese immigrant family. Cheers!

Gregory Tara Hari

5.5.24


Weekly Crush 9
Sunday 5.5.2024 11:20 AM 
ปากน้ำปราณ / Pak Nam Pran



Hello everyone
Last week I mentioned numbers.

We briefly talked about the idea of value. The value of materials and the value that numbers can represent. As I feel we didn't talk it thru just yet, let's continue here...

I recently visited The Treasury Museum in Chiang Mai, a fantastic museum that documents all the different shapes and materials money was made of in the past in South East Asia. Money wasn't always flat and round or printed on rectangular paper. In ancient times, stones and shells could be used as currency. Or it could have the shape of two horseshoes intertwined with one another and stamped with the seal of the current head of state, their religion and the seal of the territory or region where it's in use. I'm talking about ancient money, that was produced and used in the former Kingdom of Lanna, existing between 1292 up to 1775 in todays Region of Northern Thailand. 

On the picture in the center, you'll see the currency of the former Lanna Kingdom:
https://www.museumthailand.com/en/museum/The-Treasury-Museum-
CHIANGMAI

Or imagine Marco Polo when he travelled thru China between 1271 and 1295, as he noted in his book Il Milione (in English; Book of the Marvels of the World), "How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, made into something like paper, to pass for money all over his country." How fascinating the whole journey must have been but to see such profound things like money to be entirely different then the one back home in Venice must have striked him the most. 

Talking about Venice - oh good old Venice. Who of you is making their pilgrimage down to the lagoon and into the big pond of art? I might go, as I know two artists, that represent the Pavilion of Thailand at this years Biennale. So I have a "real" reason to travel to Venice after years of trying to ignore the Biennale as much as possible:
https://smc.bkkartbiennale.com/about

I recently found this article of the Venice Biennale and money, or how this whole damn thing is financed. After all, it is a massive event, a major occasion for many countries and institutions to show what they've got:
https://www.apollo-magazine.com/venice-biennale-exhibitions-commercial-galleries-funding/

Expect you're representing the Israel Pavilion: 
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2024/apr/16/artists-refuse-open-israel-pavilion-venice-biennale-ceasefire-gaza

If you decide to give in and give yourself to Venice, maybe for once, try to see the off-scene, the ones that are located around the main thing, in the small side streets, hidden gems in hidden corners. It's a pitty though, that the Bolivian Pavilion isn't hidden anymore, it's now on the main square, hosted in the official Giardini. Read here:
https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2024/04/01/russia-venice-biennale-pavilion-bolivia

You see, money does rule the world. Or is it art after all? 
Either way, don't save too much money, it may loose its value. Rather spend it on materials to produce new works, or treat yourself to a drink or two - maybe a Spritz, a typical Venice Biennale drink. Cheers everyone!

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



A photo of the VIP Airport Lounge at International Airport of Luang Prabang, does it worth it? Does it worth the money spend on entering the spatial uncertainty of being VIP at a provincial airport? Treat yourself!

Gregory Tara Hari

22.4.24


Weekly Crush 8
Sunday 21.4.1415 / 2024 / 2564 / 4721 / 5784 , 11:00 AM 
กรุงเทพมหานคร / Krung Thep Maha Nakhon

Dear all
We've talked about many different religions, cultures, spoken and written languages, ethnicities and so on, but what's up with the different systems of value, for example money. Before the Euro, there were many different currencies all around this tiny continent called Europe. Everyone had their own Kings and Queens on their money printed, everyone had to carry around several wallets, just to stuff it with foreign money. Sometimes the stranger's money was either smaller or much bigger in size. Or think about the idea of "value". Look for example at the comparison between the Swiss Franc and the Laotian Kip - 1 Franc is the equivalent of 23364.95 Kip...

I mean, isn't that amazing? Numbers can mean something, sometimes they are connected with each other, but sometimes they simply don't correlate with one another. And what about the numbers of dates, dates of years, months, days...

We shall not forget the different solar systems that lead us thru time, by using many different calendars and calculations of time. For example Thailand and once again Laos, and some other places - they are always 543 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar, the most common calendar internationally. The Gregorian actually follows the sun, not like the one of the Muslim world, that traditionally follows instead the moon, where we currently have the year 1445. And in the Jewish culture it's the year of 5784, please don't ask me how that came to life. 

You see, there are many ways to count hours and days, it seems endless, almost timeless. And what about the zodiac signs. In Thailand we also have something of a week-based Buddhist zodiac system. So every seven days of the week have their own Buddha zodiac sign. Say, you were born on Monday:

The posture of the Monday Buddha is one where the figure is standing with its right hand raised at shoulder height with the palm facing out. It represents Buddha pacifying the relatives after returning from heaven after three months to relatives arguing about waters flowing through their respective lands. Buddha was able to persuade them to compromise.

Here's a link to more Buddha-based weekly zodiac signs:
https://simbaseatrips.com/the-7-buddha-postures/

Here's another link to the history of the Euro: 
https://blog.lingoda.com/en/pre-euro-currency/

Even if you're not into math, one can appreciate the amount of different calendars:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_calendars

And to end this weeks Weekly Crush:

สวัสดีปีใหม่ไทย 2567
ขอให้โชคดี มีความสุขและมีสุขภาพแข็งแรงตลอดไป

Happy Thai New Year of 2567, I wish you luck, be happy and good health


Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



A photo of Lao New Year celebration in Luang Prabang. The people dress up all nicely and neatly, "sprinkling" images and statues of Buddha with water. Here the people collect again the very same water they used to wash Buddha just seconds ago, in order to pour it on their own heads.

Gregory Tara Hari

12.4.24


Weekly Crush 6
Friday 12.4.2024, 21:40 PM 
ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ /
Luang Prabang, Lao People's Democratic Republic

Dear all
I hope you're all good. 

It seems that most of you either haven't read any of the past Weekly Crushes or simply ignored the fact that I wrote the wrong date of year, ever since we started this journey. Anyway, I'm currently in Luang Prabang, Laos. A beautiful place, I would love to share with you but not this time. I'd rather use this weeks Crush to share a written conversation I had with one of you.

It was a beautiful comment on some of my past crushes. Thanks again for your participation, thoughts and ideas, it is very much appreciated. 

_______________________________________________________________

thank you for your crushes, your insights, your questions. finally i find time to react, while i am travelling from interlaken to lucerne, in the panoramic express that passes the brünigpass. my father lives and grew up in interlaken, my mother and i in biel, now i live in lucerne. somehow all of these places are home to me, somehow none of them are. 
i've never been proud of being swiss, never understood that notion, more the opposite, looking at switzerlands "neutral" position. did we not learn in preschool that not intervening when someone is being bullied  is just as bad as bullying?

now, as i am passing through green hills, under rough mountains and next to big lakes that loook like the sea, i can't help but feel at ease. watching the tourists admire the landscape makes me happy, i share their joy. in a way it's my home, in a way i am a tourist too, just passing by.  what does one make indigenous to a place? maybe sharin traditions? just yesterday i was in a restaurant, waldhotel unspunnen. we ate at a large table, next to a huge poster of the festival unspunnen, a traditional festival, where people go and wear the "tracht" and watch "hoselupf". for the longest time i've made fun of these traditions, looked down on the people who like them, thought them nationalist and a bit peinlich. now i'd like to go there, meet the people and talk to them. i guess they are just looking for some sort of connection, feeling part of something. i guess this is a deeply human need: having a sense of belonging. just that it often means that there are some who don't belong, othering those, who do not share this specific thing... but how could those traditions be transformed, opened, made more accessible? a friend of mine just wrote her BA-thesis about that. a feminist approach to swiss traditions, looking at positions line the jodelchor "echo vom eierstock" or a feminist alpine club. i haven't read it yet, but i will soon. 

i'm also thinking about the group we were: my father, brother and i, born and raised in switzerland, my fathers roommates, a couple and their daugther and two granddaughters, refugees from ukraine; and someone who left palestine 40 years ago.  whenever we explained something that was part of swiss culture (touching glasses and looking each other in the eyes when saying prost, waiting for everyone to finish their plates until the plates are taken away) the ukrainians would jokingly say "integration", an inside joke, that carries inside it the burden of having to leave a home and settle (hopefully temporarily) into a new one, that expects them to adapt. how does one feel towards the home country when one can't return? i'm thinking about old greek myths and stories, where exile was almost as feared as death, or of artists in the 20th century who had to flee their country and could'nt stop writing about that, being homesick to the bone. i guess even in todays hyper globalised days going away and succumbing to fernweh is only easy when there is the possibility to return to loved ones anytime. oh and did you know that homesickness was once considered a "swiss sickness, still called morbus helveticus?
https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimweh


Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



A photo of a house in Luang Prabang.

Gregory Tara Hari

5.4.24


Weekly Crush 6
Friday 5.4.2023, 20:00 PM 
กรุงเทพมหานคร / Krung Thep Maha Nakhon



Hi everyone
I decided to take a step back this week, due to personal reasons. You will receive more information once I'm ready to share.

That is why this weeks Weekly Crush is slightly slimmer in its form. But not so for Farangs (White Tourists) in Thailand - You see, there are different cultures and different customs, AND there are many different "costumes" too. Some might look good in their "birthday suit", but it still isn't the most acceptable attire to be worn in public. Shirt on, buttons up and show some goddamn respect. 

Get dressed or get fined:
https://www.pattayamail.com/mailbag/shirtless-in-pattaya-33205

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



A photo of hard working men taking a pause at 40 degrees celcius. Are you already sweating?

Gregory Tara Hari

30.3.24


Weekly Crush 5
Saturday 30.3.2023, 11:45 
เชียงแสน / Chiang Saen



I'm in the North of Thailand, bordering Laos and Myanmar (Burma). It's the so called Golden Triangle, this glorious place where three countries come together. The gold that has been sitting in the Mekong River has disappeared long ago or has been taken away already, in order to cover more Buddha statues and such. I think the only "golden" thing really, is Kings Romans Casino on the Laotian side.

Anyway, it made me think once again about the concept of borders. Created by humans on paper, adapted on nature such as mountains ranges or in this case, a long river. It's something that manifests in shape of a wall or a fortress, like the old city walls of Chiang Saen, the most northern city of Thailand. Chiang Saen contains a most significant Wat (Tempel) including a Chedi (the mostly golden or white round Iglu-shaped building). Built in 1295, this religious centerpiece was built by royal command, including three hundred teak trees. That's where its name derives from, Wat Pa Sak (Tempel of the Teak Forest). Its artistic language, decorative stucco and highly symbolic motif of a protection demon shows the origins of Thai aesthetics, laying both on todays Chinese and Indian soil. The whole area of Chiang Saen shows the beauty of early Lanna style architecture and art. Lanna was the early medieval kingdom that existed in the area. 

More about Wat Pa Sak in Chiang Saen and it's Lanna heritage:
https://www.bangkokpost.com/life/travel/1982971/humble-museum-holds-keys-to-past

Surrounded by divine red landscapes, green fields and blue meadows of the North, I travelled all the way up here to visit as well the Thailand Biennale. I was very excited to visit the exhibition hosted in many different venues, spread all over the cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Saen. If you wonder why all the cities in Northern Thailand are called Chiang in the beginning, here's the answer: Chiang means City in Northern Thai language. Rai is the short name for the city's own founding father, King Mengrai. The same applies on Chiang Saen, the city of King Saenphu, short Saen. 

Thailand Biennale is a traveling Art and Culture Exhibition, including Talks, Workshops and Event. This year edition deals with ecological, geopolitical and questions of identities, culture and community. A few participating artists are of tribal descent, or fled their homes due to invasion. I personally think that this is a fantastic Biennale, with great art works and projects that depict the realities that artists and most importantly people are faced with due to politics and economies.

There are though a lot of questions I have, due to the amount of female and queer artists involved, or the construction of a big ass art museum in the middle of a former rice field next to the airport. I counted around 37 male artists, 14 female, 1 non-binary and three collectives, some of them more men and some more women. I'm confused there weren't any artists with a clear queer identity. Nevertheless and above it all, it is a well organized and curated Biennale. 

Here check the Guidebook with all artists and works in it:
https://www.thailandbiennale.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/TBC-GUIDEBOOK_FINAL_SPREADS.pdf

And I want to share another article with some pretty interesting facts on women in the arts. In case you still didn't read any of the Crushes, a least read this one, I'd appreciate if very much:
https://www.monopol-magazin.de/5-fakten-zu-frauen-der-kunst#:~:text=1)%20Das%20Interesse%20von%20Frauen,von%20Kunstmuseen%20betr%C3%A4gt%2034%20Prozent.


Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



Photo depicting details of a painting on leather by Hmong artist Tcheu Siong, who lives and works in Luang Prabang, Laos. Hmong people have a very distinct arts and crafts tradition and aesthetic identity. Siong often collaborates with her husband, who's a working shaman.

Gregory Tara Hari

22.3.24


Weekly Crush 4
Friday 22.3.2023, 23:00 
ปากน้ำปราณ / Pak Nam Pran



Hello again.
It's raining heavily down here, I was suppose to send the fourth Weekly Crush hours ago, but when I say heavy rain — I mean heavy rain. I just jumped out of the hot shower and onto writing this weeks crush. 

I'm dying to know what you guys are thinking, when hearing the words heritage, culture, cultural education and beliefs. And what are your thoughts on the history of civilization, globalization and post-colonialism. I did ask you a handful of questions in last weeks crush.

Honestly, who actually tried to answer at least one or two of them?

I mentioned as well the people indigenous to the many islands of the Philippines and even the many more of the Oceania region. I also mentioned the terms APA and AANHPI — I know, awful long terms to describe a perfectly divers group of people, that happen to be from a "relatively" close geographical position to one another. And I asked for terms used in Switzerland, do they even exist around here?

Where would you count yourself as "Indigenous"?

I recently visited a solo exhibition by Thai multi-disciplinary trans artist Eda Phanlert SRIPROM at Bodhisattava Gallery in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, an art space dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community and allies. It was a very simple idea, to re-use and recycle old unused buddhist monk robes. A very simple idea indeed, that didn't quite turn the way Eda expected it to. Not one single monastery in Thailand would give Eda an of their old robes. She instead asked monasteries outside of Thailand or monks that aren't part of any monastery or movement anymore. At last, a Theravada monastery in Switzerland eventually offered her robes to be used for artistic purposes.

Here's the gallery's instagram account, with updated pictures of Eda's current exhibition:
https://www.instagram.com/bodhisattava.gallery/

Important fact here — Buddhism is in general a very welcoming religion, but as the case of Eda shows us, there are clear boundaries and strict rules most of Thailands majority are following and believe in. Yes, the LGBTQIA+ community in Thailand is one of the biggest, most important for all of South East Asia. But nevertheless, there are forces such as the country's undoubtable ruling religion of Theravada Buddhism in combination with corrupt and autocratic political leaders and their parties, who paint together a picturesque propaganda that leads directly into society's heads. 

Here's an example written by the IRASEC, the Institut de recherche sur l'Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine / Research Institute on Contemporary South East Asia: 

The national ideology, which has been officially defined since the reign of King Vajiravudh (1910–25) as consisting of three pillars—Nation, Religion and King—with “Religion” and “King” being fundamental elements of the traditional Thai Buddhist theory of kingship.107

And here's the full text for you to read:
https://books.openedition.org/irasec/2988?lang=de#:~:text=The%20national%20ideology%2C%20which%20has,Thai%20Buddhist%20theory%20of%20kingship.

I'm really sorry but I've got to go now. Sumo the Cat and Daeng the Dog are gone and a massive thunder storm just made its appearance. Gotta collect those two animal friends before pouring rain starts all over again.

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



Photo taken today of Sumo and the Sun. That's how fast tropical thunder rain come and go.

Gregory Tara Hari

16.3.24


Weekly Crush 3
Saturday 16.3.2023, 16:20 
ปากน้ำปราณ / Pak Nam Pran



We've been talking ghosts, we've been talking spirits. We also mentioned things like believes, spirituality, superstition and animism. We had a link on black magic and I completed last weeks Crush with "India's" influence on Thailand's culture, religion, food - literally everything. 

But what do these things say to us, or particularly to you? As far as I know, most of you are of "Western" heritage or socialized in these cultures. I don't know how many of you would call themselves spiritual or even religious. Or maybe you consider yourself something else. 

What I'm trying to say is, that cultures including languages, believes, ethnical characteristics, food among many other things, intertwine since the dawn of civilization. I'm not talking about a Western centric idea(l) of civilization, where people built massive ancient cities, including tall towers and places of worship, universities and buildings of governmental and representational purpose made of stone and concrete. I'm talking about the fact that globalization happened since the beginning of our human existence and will forever continue to. 

Where does your own culture brings you to? How does your upbringing infect your thinking, your work, your being as an artist, cultural worker, human? Are you critical towards your own practice, your output, your ideas? How does Globalization and Post-Colonialism affect your personal thinking and your view on art?

Look at the example of the region of Oceania, a place where exchange and trade happened before, during and after their colonial occupations. Another important example are the Indigenous People of the Philippines, which often are connected to the People of Oceania. 

A short introduction on the Indigenous People of the Philippines:
https://minorityrights.org/communities/indigenous-peoples-5/#:~:text=The%20other%20concentration%20of%20indigenous,Talandig%2C%20and%20Tiruray%20or%20Teduray.

The second major animation movie on a heroin of Oceanic descent - Moana produced by Disney:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKFuXETZUsI

I also came across the term Asian Pacific Americans (APA) or Asian American and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islander (short; AANHPI):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Pacific_Americans

Jesus, I know that's a very long spelling.
It is somewhat of an umbrella term to describe and I quote; "A person with origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East (East and Southeast Asia), Indian subcontinent (South Asia) or/and the Pacific Islands. A term initiated to keep record of the non-White/Black/Hispanic/Latinx etc. populations in the U.S. A term that's weird, considering that these different regions, have their very own distinctive varities and cultural differences. I warmly invite you to read yourself thru this term and maybe think about why we don't have such terms for example in Switzerland, or do we?

I guess that's enough input for this week, as you have to read the last two Weekly Crush's 1-2 as well. Excuse the technical accident.

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



Photo taken in my studio, preparing the costume for my upcoming performance. What are the origins of the piece of fabric?

Gregory Tara Hari

8.3.24


Weekly Crush 2
Friday 8.3.2023, 12:12 
ปากน้ำปราณ / Pak Nam Pran



Ghosts here and there
Spirits everywhere 


Let's talk about believes, less political and more on the spiritual side. I'm particularly not using the word religious, as in Thailand and more generally in South East Asia, spirituality is ubiquitous. It has its good and bad aspects, but before we dig into ghostly immaterialities let me give you a small introduction:

Tai Peoples = an ethnic group of approximately 93 million people with Tai ancestry worldwide, living mainly in the regions of Southeast Asia (parts of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), Southern China and a very small part in Northeast India.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_peoples

Tai Folk Animism = an ancient native believe practiced by Tai people, primarily based on worshipping several deities, such as spirits, ghosts and ancestors, often thru objects and architectural structures such as temples, house shrines or spirit houses.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_folk_religion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_house

Superstition = a huge majority of people in Thailand are deeply superstitious, no matter what background they have or level of education they successfully completed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstition

Spirituality = a big word with many different meanings.
Here's a very basic introduction...
https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-spirituality

Black Magic = and then there's this thing called Black Magic. A most terrifying tool, to manipulate, scare and even hurt people. Just read the text by the good old beloved Bangkok Post.
https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1687940/you-cant-beat-that-old-black-magic

India's influence on Thailand = a great overview on how "India" influenced "Thailand" in many different ways. I must mention here that India and Thailand are generalized terms representing only one majority, and not the many minorities involved, that helped influencing these massive collective cultures. 
https://theculturetrip.com/asia/thailand/articles/how-has-indian-culture-influenced-thailand

So now we've partly got an overview on what's believed in down here. There are many more things we could talk about, but this is a Weekly Crush and not a Yearly Symposium and I know you've all got places to go. As you might noticed, the many different influences created an almost eternal seeming believe in something sacred, some form or figure that protects or punishes. It is something everyone talks about, but not too loud as the ghosts could hear it. It is something everyone believes in, but is afraid of at the same time. A weird combination that's part of everyday life.

A last link I want to share with you, concerns a shrine in the middle of Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (also known as Bangkok), located probably at one of the most busiest streets in all the city. It was built due to several significant reasons, but most of them implying believes in some sort of forces. One of the reasons to build a shrine at this exact location, was probably due to its former usage to put criminals on public display (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillory). 
https://www.tour-bangkok-legacies.com/erawan-shrine.html

I need a break now from all these ghost stories, I feel a slight chill on my left shoulder while writing these last few words. Maybe some kind of dark shadow joining the conversation?

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari



Photo taken in Ayutthaya, the former capital city. With many ghosts of historical figures to wounded soldiers, who fought in the many battles held on these ancient grounds. The depicted structure refers to typical spirits houses known all around todays Thailand.

Gregory Tara Hari

26.2.24


Weekly Crush 1
Monday 26.2.2023, 13:05 
กรุงเทพมหานคร / Krung Thep Maha Nakhon



Stereotypes suck

I am currently in Southeast Asia, and more precisely in Thailand. My roots on my mother's side are from this region, and my mother does live here almost half of the year. The Thai language was also the initial starting point of my "vocal activeness", my actual so called mother tongue, even before the infamous Swiss German with a thick Seeland-Biel/Bienne dialect appeared.

I am in Thailand because of family stuff but particularly for my research - I'm working on a new body of work, or rather a continuation of previous works. Most often I create a new body of work about every two years, it's a collection of different works that together make up a big accumulation. Sometimes the output is a performance, including a text, several drawings, or one big chunk of a painting or maybe a sculpture that serves as a prop/requisite or scenography for the performance and so on. 

The performative piece I want you so bad its my only wish, is now to be given a second act, a second part. This continuation will be created in Thailand, the final result is still uncertain. In the first part I was asking myself the question "where stereotypical representations and imagery of the Asian female body from a Western perspective come from" - what are the origins? The performance used and played with exactly these racist, misogynistic and queer-hostile images created by a Western majority of white men. They created, produced and distributed images of either the infantile, naive, child-like, suicidal "Lotus Blossom" or "China Doll". Or on the other hand the murderous, back-stabbing, dangerous "Dragon Lady", these images still being reproduced by pop culture, such as music and music videos, tv-series but also major film industries both in the West and Asia. Not to mention the disturbing amount of imageries being produced for the purpose of adult entertainment and adult film industry. 

The imageries, supported both by politics and societies were often used as well for purposes of propaganda. A dangerous tool if used by the wrong hands. It is a subject that must be discussed, as it is a seemingly endless discussion and debate who's responsible for what and who's the victim of what exactly. This is why my Weekly Crushes or a sort of Weekly Update what I've been reading, watching and thinking of and about, an update concerning my personal and professional impressions, inspirations and images being seen and revisited.

A small introduction to Asian stereotypical depiction in popular culture: 
https://www.flaunt.com/blog/me-love-you-long-time

English-American Journalist Louis Theroux for example, produced a series of "Weird Weekends". In Season 1, Episode 6 he talks about the term "Thai Brides". Watch it and make up your own mind. I think it's worth to watch, in good and bad: 
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6blw34


That's it for now!

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari

Provence

10.2.24


Letter from the Editor Saturday, February 10, 2024


Dear _____,

My roommate is looking after a friend's dog this weekend. The puppy is rubbing against my legs as I'm writing to you here, and would rather have me pet her than work. Fittingly, the contribution by artist Agatha Wara this week also revolves around canines. Enjoy!


Yours,

PROVENCE



ContributionsAgatha Wara





Shop 

Instagram

Spotify

View in browser

Preferences

Unsubscribe


PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

27.1.24


Letter from the Editor Saturday, January 27, 2024


Dear _____,

This week, an initiatory journey in Spain’s northeast with curator, author, and aspiring ornithologist Sylvain Menétrey. The voyeuristic gaze roams through the arid country, here and there birds are seen. Accompanying the story, a picture taken by the author of the village of Belchite, or rather the remaining ruins of it. Destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, it was left as such by Franco, wishing to make it a sign of the Repbulicans’ “excesses”. It is also the site of the opening scene of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. If you’re careful enough you’ll notice the dissimilarities between an Eurasian stone-curlew and a spotted thick-knee.

Sincerely,

PROVENCE



ContributionsSylvain Menétrey


An Initiatory Trip


So here I am, back in Spain on an initiatory trip. Imagine me as Paul Hamy in the film The Ornithologist, but without the pills that prevent a tailspin. And without the descent in a kayak, since I'm travelling in a rented blue Skoda in the desert of Los Monegros, province of Zaragoza, region of Aragon. The desert of Los Monegros came into being when this area, formerly covered by pine trees, was cleared. Swept away by the winds, the region has become inhospitable, except for some beige misanthropic birds forgotten by civilisation. I arrive hoping to spot my first Mediterranean short-toed lark, maybe a sandgrouse, or even a Eurasian stone-curlew if I'm lucky. Dupont's lark, a large fierce lark whose aquiline beak attracts busloads of birdwatchers, seems out of my league.

Ornithology has become an all-consuming passion. It takes up all your mental space, because you have to be on the lookout, watching, listening, tracking, becoming an animal I would even like to say, if that didn’t sound pompous. Doing everything else in a hurry, I got my bookings mixed up, paid for two rooms in the same hotel, and got the date wrong. All these hassles and extra costs weigh heavily on what is becoming an expensive stay. Not that you can count on a return on investment, if that was ever to be expected. All I can see are flashes of life from these inhabitants of relegated areas. A little owl startles me when I dislodge it from the abandoned sheepfold where it was resting. Through binoculars, I can make out a black-bellied sandgrouse flying, a kind of large partridge with an oversized black eye and a white wing edged in black. While flocks of little Mediterranean short-toed larks accompany me with their screeching calls, approaching them from a safe distance proves tricky. But why would they offer themselves? What do they owe us?

Hundreds of wind turbines escort me along the road. Further on, a gigantic solar park stretches out. Remains of farms and sheepfolds from another era are disappearing in the landscape. I’m trying to imagine the destitution of the people who once lived there. I also think of Zaragoza, an under-the-radar city that lives large. Its new station is empty, dark, icy, and as monumental as its basilica, where the Virgin is worshipped and Goya admired. I try, without much success, to remember what Sebald wrote about the colonial roots of Brussels’ Palais de Justice, another hymn to hubris. I think of space mining, Star Wars, the Empire, and primitive accumulation, until a cry tears across the steppe.




Ruins of the village of Belchite destroyed during the Spanish Civil War with wind turbines in the background


Shop 

Instagram

Spotify

View in browser

Preferences

Unsubscribe


PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Der Weekly Crush ist ein Newsletter, der jedes Semester
von anderen künstlerischen Positionen erstellt und an alle
K++V-Studierende verschickt wird.

bottom of page