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Bangkok: Call Waiting – Intimate Yet Subtly Epic Photos that Capture a City in Transition

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Internationally known fine art publisher Kehrer Verlag is set to bring out a photo book that illustrates Bangkok’s status as a city between two phases of existence. Bangkok: Call Waiting will be a collection of photographs of the city’s phone booths – a phenomenon that has disappeared almost entirely in some parts of the world, and looks set to do the same in Bangkok soon. These images show an interesting moment in time: the point at which an obsolete technology is still hanging on, though judging from the number of phone booths without working phones, about to become a thing of the past.

The booths can also be seen as surfaces on which to observe the ephemera of Thai society. Within them and on their glass enclosures lies every possible manifestation of quotidian life – posters and stickers dealing with housing, jobs, sex, food, entertainment, opportunities for education and social advancement, as well as endless tagging by graffiti artists. And politics; during part of this project, the Shutdown Bangkok movement left plenty of evidence in the inscriptions on the phone booths. Outside the encrusted claustrophobic enclosures and visible through the glass, life goes on as usual.

As well as occasionally being used by people wanting to ring home, these phone boxes also serve other functions; they are sometimes used as miniature warehouses for people to store goods. This photo book provides both a fascinating glimpse into Thai society via the medium of its phone booths, and also illustrates the way in which technology is left behind in the ever-changing cityscape. It’s the brainchild of photographer Frank Hallam Day, who is currently attempting to finance it via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The book will not only contain subtly striking imagery rich in vibrant metaphor, but also give the purchaser a window into the streets of Thailand’s bustling capital.

 

The Recreation of the Kachkar

The Recreation of the Kachkar

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Fans of intricate sculptures will be pleased to know that plans are now underway to create replicas of The Kachkar. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Kachkar, it is arguably one of the most intricate sculptures ever created. It was over 30 years in the making, and its origins lie in Armenia, where passionate and ambitious artist Hratch Karapetyan began work on a stone carving to memorialize his late father. He soon found that he had got lost in a plethora of ideas, each the more elaborate than the last. The piece he had envisioned grew into much more than initially imagined, and became the most ambitious sculpture ever created. He carved a sculpture that represented the pillars of Christianity: peace, strength, freedom, and infinity, overseen by the Virgin Mary, the mother of all Christians.

Karapetyan’s work left those who saw it in awe. A new project currently being financed via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter aims to recreate his masterpiece. Sculptor Roy W. Butler will be creating a smaller, handmade reproduction of the Kachkar, which will then be copied. ‘There’s no way you can really experience it until you do see the piece in person, and we’re going to try and capture as much of it as we can in the reproduction,’ says Butler.

This campaign is intended to be a means of giving the sculpture to the masses. Whether the replicas will be as ornate at the original remains to be seen. Irrespective of whether or not this is the case, this is doubtlessly an ambitious project that should appeal to every art lover’s sense of challenge.