The decade-long Sieng Gong Art Project is primarily focused on documenting “Sieng Gong”, a sub-district of Talat Noi, the historic neighborhood in the Thai capital that even predates the founding of Bangkok itself.
Click here to watch the short documentary Heavy Metal in Bangkok.
This dense riverside area, tightly squeezed between Chinatown and the Bangrak districts, was where Chinese settlers began trading used auto parts during WWII. This visually extraordinary niche has continued to thrive despite the unavoidable encroachment of modern Bangkok.
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I came across “Sieng Gong” during a bike tour of Chinatown in 2011 and fell head over heels in love with the area’s sounds, smells, and genuine working-class atmosphere. I’ve lost count of how many visits I’ve made since that very first encounter. But Sieng Gong’s ancient shophouses, in various stages of decrepitude, the snaking roads and narrow alleyways, the tall piles of scrap metal, clamorous machine shops, and grimy engine parts, often stacked from pavement to ceiling, continue to inspire me. It’s both an almost absurdly masculine urban environment like no other place I’ve seen, and simultaneously so aesthetically interesting that it has put an almost hypnotic spell on me.
To purchase the book dedicated to this project, please click here.