Nuttaphol Ma

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Artist Statement

My multidisciplinary works blur the boundary between art and life. I create sociocultural interventions at contested sites as make-shift forums that invite passerby to conversations about migration and the labor of adapting to a new home.

From 2001 to 2003, through a chance discovery of my ancestral house in Southern China, I ended up researching the house resulting in detailed measured drawings, oral history recordings. My intent was a romantic one; however, the journey left an impression as I merely touched the surface of a migrant story. The China Outpost, my nomadic self-imposed sweatshop, was created to slowly strip away this romantic surface where the main activity is to transform discarded plastic bags into plastic threads. The amassed threads will be used as the core material for the eventual reconstruction of my ancestral house.

Since the project’s inception in July 2010, the outpost functions within a migratory framework – from the basement of a defunct art gallery to the back of a storefront gallery within a derelict Chinatown shopping plaza. On 26 Jul 2014, the outpost settled at Union Station – the site of the original Chinatown. In Spring 2016, the project will occupy open lots along Cerrillos Road – a major thoroughfare leading to Santa Fe that has eroded its intimacy to a web of megastores. As my actions journey through such public spaces, my recollections of conversations with people through social media hope to fill an empty canvas with colors and shadows that make up our cultural landscape.