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Toi Ungkavatanapong
From April 20th 2001 to May 26th 2001
Nuts Society

"Nuts Society" (at the present) is anybody (a citizen of Planet Earth) who is concerned about the existence of the world and tries to act so that it evolves in meaningful ways. With its name and objectives initiated in Bangkok, "Nuts Society" has been organising and exhibiting public art projects and activities since 1998. As a collaborative group (uninterested in the self-promotion of its members), the organisation is committed to produce significant art that plays a role in the world’s development and social consciousness.

Preoccupied with wider social contexts, "Nuts Society" engages in a cross-disciplinary practice, adopting different means to communicate various messages in order to achieve one main goal — to inspire and heighten social conscience towards our ways of living.

In Montréal, "Nuts Society" will display Thai written messages in the windows of the Vie en forme gym and the photography studio 901, located on the first floor of the Belgo building. Postcards with Thai inscriptions referring to moral values (concern, sacrifice, peace, honesty, etc.) will be given away to passers-by at stands in front of some St. Catherine Street shops. Like other projects and initiatives of "Nuts Society", the messages seek to trigger awareness and are addressed to any individual concerned with the current situation of the world and wishing to act responsibly to change its course. Set within people’s daily lives, the projects raise various social, humanitarian and environmental issues in this era of globalisation. In the gallery, viewers will get acquainted with traditional Thai handwriting through elementary exercises proposed by the interactive project A Learning Reform. The computer-assisted learning will take place with a CD-ROM and forty-four explanatory tables.

Optica wishes to thank Ginette Bouchard, professor at Université Laval, who initiated this exhibition and collaborative project with the Galerie des arts visuels of Université Laval in Québec City, Stephen Schofield of Université du Québec à Montréal and the Student Association of the École des arts visuels et médiatiques for Sutee Kunavichayanont’s public talk in the context of its guest artists program. The gallery also thanks Ms. Marinella Carriera from Vie en Forme andYves Barrière and François Leclerc from Studio 901 for their kind contribution to the "Nuts Society" project displayed in their windows.

In 1998 with "Bangkok Project #"1, "Nuts Society" brought art to people’s daily lives on the streets. "Nuts Society" put meaningful words (concern, responsibility, honesty, etc.) on liquid soap labels and installed them in shop, pub and restaurant rest rooms around the Rattanakosin Island area, to remind people of what is missing in urban society. "Bangkok Project #2" worked in the same sense (aiming to shake people’s behaviour) but this time the words appeared on postcards for unlimited distribution in Thailand and around the world.

One of its most recent project, "About Studio/About Café" (2000) combined objects and signs. Letters formed words and created signs that became visual objects with significant yet intangible meanings: a coffee table back-lit with the word "selflessness" or placing stickers with similar words on the windows of a café lighted with green fluorescent tubes. "Nuts Society" products, such as coffee glasses, tea boxes and limited 7-Up drinks with "Nuts Society’s" own labels, were sold during the show. At the second site — "About Art Related Activities’ Window Project" — "Nuts Society" inscribed words from a consumer driven culture in the commercial windows of Yipintsoi Co. Ltd., which echoed those of the café: "More possessing/more craving/more suffering."

Other recent initiatives by "Nuts Society" include "Buy Nothing Day", co-campaigned with Adbusters; "Nuts Society Café", recreating a saleng (tricycle) to distribute and serve old-style coffee and tea at Siam Square, Bangkok’s trendy centre; and also "Nuts Society T-Shirt Workshop", providing painting activities for children and their families to spend quality leisure time together, and also an opportunity to discuss various social and environmental problems caused by human beings.


Bibliographie
- «Inventory», Mix, vol. 27, no 1, été 2001, pp.8-9.