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Vernacular is the New Gold

Group Exhibition, October 2017, Bangkok, Thailand
Organised by The Japan Foundation Asia Center
Curated by  Vittavin Leelavanachai







Asian culture and society valued gold as the precious material, this attitude has been embedded throughout the recorded history. “The Land of Gold-Suvarnabhumi” territory had mentioned in many Southeast Asian ancient sources, as well as the traditional decoration of the palaces, temples and ancient architecture all around this continent. In Thailand, “Gold” is also the strategy to centralize the power and illustrates the authentic culture that was defined by the social elite in the process of re-envisioning civilization during the invasion of western orientalism. By drawing the line between “Thai” and “Not Thai” the process has left the vernacular culture as “The Others”. The emergence of others as outsiders or rural classes is the result of orientalist identity based on the European model of civility and social hierarchy.

In the economic system, gold is a reference for the international monetary system. Interestingly, the coming of the crypto currency like bitcoins or blockchain in the digital age arguably plays a big role in an alternative financial structure. Such system brought about the reconsideration of the value of gold and its inherited qualities as the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised. Correspondingly, the value of vernacular culture that was previously treated as the “outsider” has become the important resources in current art, design and creative movement in the past 20 years. While the discussion on how authentic of the artwork and the value of vernacular is on going, some art market started the experimental trading system by blockchain. This technology has incredible potential in the art world as a mean of verifying authenticity, enhancing traceability, and improving the security of art market transactions.

“Vernacular is The New Gold” explores and criticize 4 focal points of vernacular culture¨ 1. Aesthetic, 2 Space and Function, 3. Belonging 4. Redefining new authentic value; in the current time and context through the discipline of photography, architect, and cross-disciplinary based on the assumption of Southeast Asian culture as the mixture, 
blending and sharing common culture instead of defining the identity as an individual nation.

At the exhibition the Rocket Trail project presented its first chapter Rain Kids alongside the Rain Kid rocket reclaimed from the rice field of Roi Et, Thailand.