Dreams of the city

Photos courtesy of Bangkok Post

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Read the following story by Parisa Pichitmarn from the Bangkok Post.  Then, answer the questions that follow.

For most people, Bangkok’s tangle of electrical wires are an eyesore. But where the rest of us see an ugly mess, Bob Stratton sees inspiration. His latest collection of artworks, currently on display at Galeria Sucio, finds a strange beauty in the urban clutter.


In Krungthep Fever Dream, his first solo exhibition in the capital, the artist presents Bangkok like you’ve never seen it before. The 39 pieces on display are full of colour and energy. Fragmented images are folded over one another repeatedly to create abstract, psychedelic forms. But when you inspect them up close, you can see the simple, everyday details - a rusty metal bar, a noodle-shop sign, a motorcycle helmet.


People are rare subjects in Bob’s prints, mainly because they appear ugly after he has manipulated them. So he sticks to taking photos of the city.

“It works better in rich urban environments that are kind of chaotic visually. Nature scenes like trees, forests and bushes don’t really work because they just look like really bad photographs,” he said.

To create his images, Bob manipulates photos that he’s taken himself with a software extension of his own. He taught printmaking at the School of Visual Arts in New York before moving to Thailand in 2011. Krungthep Fever Dream is the result of years of developing his fine-art skills and working with new technologies.


As well as being an artist, Bob is also a designer and programmer.

“As soon as I discovered digital art, I realised this is what I really loved. I love seeing what combinations work. I like the impossibilities of the manipulations.

“A lot of the time, it’s just asking the algorithm to surprise you. I have a bunch of buttons and sometimes I just sit there all day pressing. It’s like the computer asking me a thousand times, ‘Do you like this?’ and I say no a thousand times before I finally say OK. I generate about a thousand images, keep about a hundred and post 20 on my website. As opposed to a painter, who is using a brush to create something, I’m sort of curating the work of the algorithm,” he said.


But despite using a different process from those of traditional artists, the US native explains that digital art has a lot in common with printmaking, which he used to practise and teach.

“Both are essentially reproduction techniques. When I was a printmaker, I’d just take images and put them through a bunch of processes. You can have one single photo and there are a thousand ways to make a print out of it.”

Krungthep Fever Dream runs until February 13 at Galeria Sucio on Sukhumvit Soi 39 in Bangkok. For more information, call 086 096 6673 or 083 959 9915.         

Section 1

Read through the story and answer the following multiple-choice questions.

1. What is the story about?
a. A photography exhibition.
b. Photo-editing software.
c. An art exhibition.

2. What did Bob teach at the School of Visual Arts?

a. Digital art.
b. Printmaking.
c. Painting and sculpture.

3. Where is Bob from?

a. The UK.
b. The US.
c. Australia.

4. When did he move to Thailand?

a. In 2001.
b. In 2010.
c. In 2011.

5. When does Krungthep Fever Dream finish?

a. This week.
b. The end of the month.
c. The beginning of next month.

6. Which of the following statements is TRUE, according to the article?

a. The School of Visual Arts is in Bangkok.
b. Krungthep Fever Dream features nearly 30 images.
c. Bob is an artist, designer and programmer.

7. Which of the following statements is NOT true, according to the article?

a. Humans don’t usually appear in Bob’s prints.
b. Bob said digital art is very different to printmaking.
c. Krungthep Fever Dream can be seen at Galeria Sucio

Section 2

Match each of the following words used in the story with the correct definitions from the choices given.

8. eyesore  a. in a state of complete confusion and lack of order
9. clutter b. a set of rules that must be followed when solving a problem, especially by a computer
10. chaotic c. broken into small pieces or parts
11. algorithm d. a building or an object that is unpleasant to look at
12.fragmented e. to control or use something in a skilful way

f. a lot of things in an untidy state, especially things that are not necessary or are not being used

Section 3

Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words form the choices given.

This exhibition marks a …..14….. return to fine art for Bob. He had a long career in the digital and design world, which he got into …..15….. the web first kicked off in the ‘90s. He started numerous design and technology companies …..16….. New York when the Internet was still …..17….. new. …..18….. also broke creative ground in 2002, with a technology-themed bar …..19….. Remote Lounge in Manhattan.


a. welcome  
b. welcomed  
c. welcoming


a. where  
b. when  
c. how


a. in  
b. at   
c. on


a. relative  
b. relatively  
c. relativity


a. They  
b. He   
c. It


a. called  
b. calling  
c. call

Section 4

Specify whether each of the following words is used in the story as a verb, noun, adjective or adverb.

20. tangle


21. urban


22. folded


23. visually


24. process



Section 1

1. c.
2. b.
3. b.
4. c.
5. a.
6. c.
7. b.

Section 2

8. d.
9. f.
10. a.
11. b.
12. c.
13. e.

Section 3

14. a.
15. b.
16. a.
17. b.
18. b.
19. a.

Section 4

20. Noun. 
21. Adjective.
22. Verb.
23. Adverb.
24. Noun.


21-24: Excellent!
17-20: Good.
13-16: Fair.
12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!


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