Standing proud in the centre of Bangkok, the Giant Swing is located in-between the historical City Hall and Wat Suthat Thepwararam buildings, and has a rather interesting history.
Made from round-lathed teak tree trunks, and standing at an impressive 21.15 metres, the swing was originally constructed in King Rama I’s reign (1737-1809) and used as part of a Brahman Hindu ceremony in which young boys would attempt to swing high enough to grab a bag of silver coins placed on top of the pillar with their teeth.
The swing was faithfully reconstructed in 2007 though it’s still possible to see the old version - in the Bangkok National Museum.
I was drawn to how something which was originally created and experienced through ancient ceremony, relating to religion and story - is now a quiet yet powerful piece of sculpture, surrounded by busy traffic, people taking pictures of themselves etc.
I tried to create a piece which is meditative yet strong against the chatter of the city scape.
I used swing like pendulum rhythms throughout the piece to reference the past use of the swing. many layers are overlapping and becoming a single complex layer which represents different points in time.
And it was important to create very large drones which represent the huge pillars.
The recordings of atmosphere are important to me because that is what surrounds it on a daily basis.
The piece ends in a way which symbolises night time, when the traffic dies down, the tourism ceases to exist and the giant swing is left in momentary peace.