LIFE IS HARD. WHY DO WE MAKE IT SO EASY?

2018

Commissioned by Thailand Biennale, Krabi
Supported by Hong Kong Arts Development Council

For the First Thailand Biennale, Zheng Bo decided to grow a botanical slogan using epiphytes, plants that thrive in mid-air, and install the slogan in the atmospheric greenery at Thanbok Khorani National Park. As visitors walk along the path in the middle of the park, they would discover the words hanging among trees and gradually figure out the slogan.

During his site visit in autumn 2017, Zheng Bo had an opportunity to visit the local Orchid Grower Community Enterprise in Ao Nam Village of Krabi’s Ao Luek District. Led by Somsak Panboon, the community enterprise has been cultivating orchids and putting them back into nature. After discussing with Somsak Panboon, the artist decided to work in collaboration with this local group. They settled on local orchid species - Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi, Ascocentrum miniatum, and Dendrobium formosum - that would bloom in the period of Thailand Biennale.

The slogan “Life is hard. Why do we make it so easy?” is modified from Jon Jandai’s famous talk “Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?” Jon Jandai is a farmer from northeastern Thailand, and an activist for sustainable living. He founded the Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance and has been creating what is now a widespread earthen building movement in Thailand. The artist modified Jon Jondai’s statement to point out another aspect of the ecological situation. Life on earth is supposed to be both easy and hard – an oak tree gives birth to billions of seeds during its lifespan, but only one of the seeds is likely to grow into a full tree – but some of us humans have made our own lives too easy while making the lives of other beings, human and nonhuman, extremely difficult.

(Text by Noona Ajjana)