บ้านเหมืองฟู ตำบลบ้านแม อำเภอสันป่าตอง เชียงใหม่
Baan Muang Fu, T. Baan Mae, A. San Pa Tong, Chiang Mai
Initiated in 1998, the land (more direct translation from Thai to English would be, the rice field) was the merging of ideas by different artists to cultivate a place of and for social engagement.
The land is located in proximity to the village of Sanpatong, a twenty minutes drive from the center of the provincial capital Chiang Mai. As some rice farmers are having difficult times in the area, due to the levels
of floods and high water level, rice farming has not been very productive. Because of this, some rice fields in the area have been offered for development, as the rice farmers are looking to find better areas for the fields.
Though initially the action to aquire the rice fields were initiated by two artists from Thailand, the land was initiated with anonymity and with out the concept of ownership. The land was to be cultivated as an open space, though with certain intentions towards community, towards discussions and towards experimentation in other fields of thoughts.
The land and its topographical environment (landscape) as it now stands, was cultivated through the philosophy and argicultural technique of a Thai farmer by the name of Chaloui Kaewkong. The ideas around the cultivation of the topography which is 1/4 earth (mass) and 3/4 water (liquid), is based on the composition of the human body. As there is water around, an argiculture irrigation stream on the one side and a natural stream on the other, a series of ponds and pools were layed out in relation to the usage of water.
In the middle of the land lies two working rice fields, which is an on going realtionship to the initial rice field itself and a lose group of students from the University of Chiang Mai and the local village. Rice has been grown and harvested yearly, though initiated as an experimental project to grow and harvest rice year round (rather than seasonaly), and the harvest which yields in approximation 1000 to 1500 kilograms are shared by all participants involved and to some families in the local village that has fallen ill from the AIDS epidemic. Presently these two fields have been the most active part of the usage of the land. As well, fruits trees and edible plants are dispersed in to the landscape, though awaiting, the fruits to be bared. Vegetables and diffrent assortments of salads and herbs will be planted as well.
There is no electricty or water, as it would be problematic, in terms of land development in the area. As it is not the intention to develop the land for any value intrensic to land development, the lack of such ammenities, was a simple solution from such development. There will be development and experimentations to use natural renewable resources as sources for electric and gas. The artis group Superflex from Copenhagen have been developing their idea of the Supergas ( a system utitising biomass, such as shit, to produce gas), and they have been engaging in using the land as a lab for the development of their biogas system. The gas produced will initially be used for the stoves in the kitchen, as well as lamps for light. Arthur Meyer an american artist from Chicago, has also been interested to develop a system for utilising solar power, as another source of energy to be stored and use. These projects will as well engage interested participation of the local village as well as students from the local schools and Universities. Water is not a problem, however, chemical pesticides and other such products have been intorduced into the rice fields, which in turn feeds into the water streams and system. In the center of the land is an isolated pool of ground water, made from natural filtering of the ground content, however, tests will have to be made through out the year for any contaminations. As well various pools and ponds will be used for the farming of fishes, a project to be initiated by a young Thai artist Prachya Phintong.
Parallel to the land as lab for self sustainable environment, architectural ideas for living will be carried out along side the dultivation of the land. A gardeners house was build by the Thai artist Kamin Lerdchaiprasert, thought built out of practicality, it woulld be considered as his contribution to the idea. The gardeners houses houses, the gardener and his wife, as they tend to the land and managed the daily necessasities. The kitchen, developed from a collaborative discussions between the artists Kamin Lerdchaprasert, Superflex, Tobias Rehberger and Rirkrit Tiravenija. The kitchen was developed in two parts. Part one was the invitation of the artists Superflex, Rehberger and Tiravanija to participate in an exhibiton in Lisbon under the title, More works about buildings and food..., curated by Pedro Lapas.The artists decided that they would initiate a project which could intergrade and link their interests in the ideas around the exhibition. Superflex developed the system for production of biogas and the storage of biogas, where Rehberger designed the platform which activates the biogas which is connected to a gas lamp, designed as well by Rehburger, and the kitchen designed and to be used by Tiravanija. Following the exhibiton in Lisbon, the system developed for the exhibiiton is then transfered to the land and to be installed in a structure designed and built by Kamin Lerdchaiprasert. Atilier Van Leishoup has also been engaged in to the idea of developing the toilet system, which would be lnked to the production of biogas. The artist Philippe Perreno and architect Francios Roch, are presently developing an idea for which would be developed in to the central activity hall, a central location to be used as a workshop for various activities.
Surrounding the general spaces of the rice fields, kitchen, toilets, bathrooms and central hall, will be diffrent structures for living. Based on the commonly found meditation huts in buddist monastaries, these structures for living would be accomodations for meditation. Initiated not purely as structures to be designed and made by artists, most of the projects to date are being developed by artists. Starting with the Thai artist Mit Jai In, planting a circle of nursery teak plants, in time Jai In, intends to weave togeather the plant as it grows in to a basket which would be the platform for which he would live in. Tobias Rehberger, has design and build (almost to completion) a structure inspired by a plate of food from his native Schwabia. Tiravanija also almost complete structure is based on three sphear of needs; the lower floor or base floor being the communal space with a fire place made with the idea of accomodating a gathering and exchanges, the second floor for reading and meditation and reflection of exchange, and the top floor for sleep. Structures in process are a structure by Alicia Farmis, the Billboard house, and a young Thai artist Angkrit. All structures are open to be used,
There is not a time limitation to the cultivation of the land, it is there to be used and can be used.