Questions & Answers between EOS- Earth Observatory of Singapore and Sutthirat Supaparinya
EOS: Do you think human activities such as mining and continual digging of the Earth’s soil will cause some sort of hazard in the future? Why?
SS: Yes, if the activities made on active fault line. Even the most of these man-made quakes from these activities are tiny, but they can trigger much larger quakes along natural fault lines. Either this creates quake or not, it definitely causes environmental problem and effect to human’s life around the area.
EOS:Your choice of topic focuses on several aspects including man-made hazards, urban planning, and tectonic activities. Can you share with us what you’ve learnt from your project?
SS: It is the first time I know what is a job and how importance of geologist. The dam and coalmine project, I went for shooing, necessary to work with geologist from the beginning to the end. Geologist begins from surveying geography, plan to locate each construction and function of the place and examine the situation of the earth during the operation process on the site. The ancient knowledge like Feng Shui guild us a location’s character to live and work, but the earth science tell us the relation of earth element that influence everything. Earth science is an important role to reduce risk from those problems you have mentioned.
EOS: Do you think your video will have an impact on those who operate the dams or work at the mines?
SS: I don’t think this video has a big impact to operator, because they must aware of it. No matter they reveal this fact to public or not. However, the video is made for those who consume electricity and live around current and future dams or mines site to have an idea of how electricity is made and what impact may occur.
EOS: Why did you choose this title in particular? Was there something about Francis Alÿs’ art project that had resonance with your project?
SS: “When faith Moves Mountains” encouraged people to do what was seem impossible to move the entire geographical location like a mountain. Once they can make it only for a few inches, it showed how human’s faith could do an impossible thing possible. In the parallel idea, if we shift the word “need” instead of “faith” in that sentence, the human activity would not only a symbolic act. It surely can move more than just a mountain with endlessly demand.
EOS: Can you tell us more about the two or three most interesting persons or experience you encountered while shooting?
SS: When I was at the mine site, people who works there confirmed that environmental problem from their activity is reduced to a standard level. However, I sneezed all the time when I was there.
Also staffs at electricity generations extravagant consume electricity. Their excuse was water from hydroelectricity dam was released for agriculture more than generating electricity during the planting season. In this case, the electricity is generated more than the need of consumer and it become waste energy.
When I asked how much percentage of household and factory’s electricity consuming in our country, a presentative staff avoid answering me the factory part. At the end we found out that more than half of electricity we have produced goes for mainly factories, which not yet include other large-scale business like department store, hospital and airport.
EOS: What’s interesting about the research of Christian P. Klose that made you choose the topic?
SS: I am interested in an impact of electricity generation, which we hardly experience because it is usually far away from where we live and too large until we cannot see an entire body of it, yet it is exist. Christian explained me possibilities of crash to the ground cause by large-scale electricity generation.
EOS: What did you feel right after the explosion and how did that inspire your work?
SS: Even I stayed quite far from the explosion, but I can feel the earth move. I heard sound of screaming birds around there. I can imagine how the hidden cracks on the ground give an invisible affect to us. The invisibility does not mean it is not exist, it only too far away, too large or hidden.
EOS: How long did you shoot the videos and did you experience any technical, logistical, or production difficulties?
SS: We shot from time to time from December 2012 to March 2013. However the additional footages we shot in February and March did not use in the final video. There was too much smoke from dry forest burning in the north of Thailand during that time. As I wanted to have a bird’s-eye-view shot of transition from a city day to nightscape, I wanted to see a perspective of distance from close to far. The smoke of forest burning intensively flattens the whole atmosphere. I decided not to use it at the end. Also, the main shooting at 2 electricity generations was not easy to get permission to film. The institutions tried to limited us to film only some area where tourist/ visitor allow visiting because of a sensitive of institution’s reputation and the topic we were researching. However, we got to film and visit the places as we request for at the end.
EOS: How close did you get to the mine sites during and after the explosion?
SS: We discussed with a shift engineer at a mine office before we went to a mine sites. The shift engineer coordinated with an explosion team and advice us for the shooting at the site. The engineer drove us a 4WD around the explosion site before the explosion to find a good spot. The closest spot we were was about 50 meters, I guess. We went down to mine sites 3 different times in 2 days.
EOS: How did you keep your camera so steady while the explosion happened?
SS: We used a heavy tripod and weight with heavy bags. We were not so close to the explosion ourselves for security reason.
EOS: It is apparent that you feel strongly about such human activities. What are you hoping to achieve with your videos, from the humanistic point of view?
SS: Human in our time consume and produce thing far beyond a bottom line of a necessarily. When a person continues to eat even he or she is full, turn on light where is nobody there or turn on TV while we fall sleep is not obviously affect much to the other or surrounding. However, a large-scale human activity such as the two geoengineerings in this video shows us how massive production to serve human’s need is like. The video captured alien scenes we usually have no chance to experience, yet links closely to urban human’s everyday life as a consumer. When we complain about environmental issue in the future, we must also ask ourselves whether we’re also part of the problem.
EOS: Do you think that Thailand is particularly susceptible to man-made hazards than in other countries in the region because of the dams and mines that sit along fault lines?
SS: No really, as I live in the north of Thailand, most of earthquake’s hypocenters that affect my area are in Myanmar. When I see a map of active fault lines in the region, there are many big lines across Myanmar. It is made me scare, because there are also many large-scale mining projects in Myanmar that sit on those fault lines. Meaning man-made hazards in Myanmar will has a big impact to Thailand. The video was produced in Thailand because it was possible to produce under the budget, time, filming permission, security and conceptual frame.
EOS: Please explain what Earth Science concepts or ideas guided or inspired your EOS Visiting Artists Program artwork.
SS: At first, I like to way how the non-art institution opens their door to work with artist. I like the fact that the program gives a chance to artist and scientist to learn from each other before artist produce artwork. I learnt to use tools and process like geographer do and adapted to my work process such as how to understand the form of crack in Google Earth map and an actual earth as well as a relation to GPS. I started to obsess to see a map of earth in different location.
EOS: What inspiring or interesting concept did you learn as a result of your interaction with the scientists at EOS?
SS: I learnt another form of energy other than what we often use to produce electricity. Scientist at EOS showed me the visual evidence of energy in earth from different locations and records. It initiated me to learn further that everything has its energy by interaction with the other element. The moveable and transformable of earth shows that it has energy.
EOS: How do you think the EOS art project will help people better understand how Earth Science can improve the world?
SS: From the fact that large-scale electricity generation that sit on active fault lines triggers earthquake, I proposed this EOS art project. My visiting to the 2 sites tell me that the very foundation process to avoid a man-made earthquake is knowledge of earth science. From this experience, I think a basic knowledge of earth science should be part of our primary education system. We all should not forget we are part of an always changeable and transformable world and learn what we can accordingly handle it.
EOS: In what way do you think your EOS project will inspire people?
SS: I guess people will see a connection between them as a consumer and process of electricity generation. They will see a network of wired alien geoengineerings in connection to themselves, because that alien creates energy for them to live comfortably. A condition of earth form enormously has changed in the video may also give them a clue what risk can occur and whenever earth acts we will be just a small dot of dust in the scene. I wish that people would take it more seriously on energy and earth science issues. I also want to encourage us human to take it seriously to design home, electricity device and other solution to consume less energy in order to gain less risk.