View In Room
View In Room
C-type photographic paper
Dimensions: 101.6cm (H) x 81.3cm (W) / 40" (H) x 32" (W)
Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.
People always claim that Bangkok looks the same as any other fast developing city, but I disagree. These developing cities, covered in debris of overdevelopment, do not have many colours, both literally and metaphorically speaking. To me, these cities can be rendered in just black and dark grey tones whereas Bangkok, though carrying the same grey-ish tones, is accentuated with more colours. Maybe it was the colourful culture with its campy pink and neon colours or maybe it was the golden stupas and the orange robe of the monks that create the colour for the city. Maybe it is the friendly people and its smiles, too.
However, my perception of Bangkok has changed during my trip in 2015. I felt that Bangkok is not as colourful as what I remember her to be. It’s as though the city had lost her charm. The city is filled with shopping centres that carry international brands. My trip to Chatuchak Market, something that I was really looking forward to, ended up in disappointment. This is my 3rd visit and I remember both my earlier visits where I was awed and inspired by the many creative talents that Thailand had. This time around, what I noticed was mainly products that were bought from production factories cheaply being sold in higher prices to the tourists. There is no creative burst from the market anymore.
What really happened? Does it have to do with the various political coups that Bangkok experienced in the past few years? Or because of the booming market in Southeast Asia, leading to gentrification and causing living conditions to be tougher now that everyone is busy working to earn a living and have no time to stop by and smile at each other?
I Am Happy And I Am Contagious is a work that reflects the condition in the city. Happiness might not be happiness after all. I notice more grime and gritty colours in the city. The city has lost its pink and neon colours. It’s like the city is dying. Wilting, becoming limp through the heat, loss of water or perhaps caught some kind of disease.
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Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Based in: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Eiffel Chong (b. 1977, Malaysia) graduated with an MA in International Contemporary Art and Design Practice from the University of East London and a BA (Hons) in Photography from London College of Printing. Besides his production of photographic work, Chong is highly engaged with the Malaysian photographic community; taking on the role of mentor for the Goethe Institut Malaysia / Nikon Shooting Stars programme and Exposure+ Workshop. In addition, he has been appointed to the panel of judges for the Kuala Lumpur Photography Awards 2013 and 2010/2011 Annual Nikon Photo Awards, Malaysia. Eiffel Chong’s work considers abstract concepts of life and death through the banal details, silent landscapes and curious obsessions he observes from daily life. He is interested in how the photographic medium can translate a particular time and space, memories and thoughts into something permanent. He personally thinks that the images say more with less, and makes one just want to stare and think about it.
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