I, as a part of the educational system at Chiang Mai University, was intrigued by some questions regarding the interior and exterior workings of the system.

As a student, I saw that when the majority of students created artwork, they created them for a very specific audience: the people inside the institution. The students created art for good marks. What made “good” artwork depended on their instructors’ subjective taste. 

After the students’ final presentation each semester, hundreds of artworks end up as garbage. A few of them became decorative objects in homes.

My criticality towards this bureaucratic, hierarchical and creatively limiting system inspired my piece Puppets.  I hand-sewed sock puppets as a form of self-portraiture.  I then placed these objects in a trolley and roamed the streets looking for opportunities of exchange with random passer-bys. 

In exchange for a puppet, I asked people to give something that represented themselves.  This swapping process gave rise to questions about the educational system in Thailand which is based on linear ideas of art-making that leads to consumer products in the capitalist system.  This work offers an alternative mode of exchange, namely bartering, that is more personal and meaningful than the mere exchange of money in a society where everything is growing more expendable and homogenous.

Year: 2001
Dimension: 9″ x 9″ x 9″ (per box), 18 editions
Materials: cotton, fabrics, paper, yarn, beads, digital prints on vinyl
Venue: Chiang Mai, Thailand