Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts and Culture (Baan Noorg บ้านนอก; noun – country; countryside; rural area; upcountry) is a non-profit, artist-run initiative, a fundament strategy for community development and a service-provider for artistic practice. It is located in the Nongpho district, Ratchaburi, and was founded by jiandyin (Jiradej Meemalai and Pornpilai Meemalai) in 2011, with jiandyin, Lo Shih Tung, Hsu Chia Wei and Sakarin Krue-On as its board of committees.
It aims to find out possibilities for exchange, integration and co-existence within the community—locally and globally, and to build up community sustainability according to the group’s claim: “Baan Noorg is Future is Now.” Its main programs include day OFF LABoratory (OFF LAB), NongpoKiDdee (NPKD), and NPKD Social Enterprise.
OFF LAB is a long term alternative interdisciplinary art and community-as-case study program based on post-studio and participatory practices. It analyzes, discusses and debates social conditions theoretically and practically through researching and developing socially engaged art in collaboration with community members and local scholars such as dairy farmers, monks, or school directors. Its ecosystem consists of multidiscipline artists, researchers and specialists and includes exchange programs with a network of collectives and institutions.
NPKD aims to cultivate awareness towards cultural identity, community knowledge, resource, and environmental consciousness, to encourage the local community to become an agent and co-create their own cultural-political capital. For this it fosters collaborations of children, community members, and their neighborhood with invited multidiscipline guest artists and researchers.
NPKD Social Enterprise, a subdivision of NPKD, is a local business model which integrates business management, cross-discipline methodologies and knowledge. It is set to strengthen intellectual and financial sustainability that is gained from products made from local resources by the community members, such as milk, manure, etc.
To documenta fifteen, Baan Noorg contribute a three-part project comprising a dairy farm exchange program, Nang Yai (Thai shadow puppetry), and a skateboarding ramp in documenta Halle. Baan Noorg envisage these interventions as dynamic, dialogical platforms that facilitate knowledge exchange between Kassel and Nongpho.
In 1968, due to a global economic depreciation of rice, Nongpho villagers switched from rice cultivation to dairy farming. In order to enable farmers to develop more sustainable dairy farming practices, Baan Noorg established an exchange program between a farm in Kassel and Nongpho. Footage shot in these locations is displayed in a four-channel video. Baan Noorg is regularly organizing workshops and performances of Nang Yai, which depict gods and characters from the Ramayana epics—and in Kassel, also those by the Brothers Grimm. Finally, together with the Kassel-based group Mr. Wilson Skatehalle, they organize skate workshops at their ramp in documenta Halle.
Chia Wei Hsu