Deaf from birth, the architect Boonserm Premthada evokes how his disability led him to develop an alternative way of listening using his whole body as a resonance chamber of sound vibrations. Despite their large ears, elephants also perceive sound mostly through their feet. Learning from elephants, Boonserm has developed an architecture of the senses where sound vibrations become the voice of space.
“Bêka and Lemoine’s documentary is not a traditional talking-head biography, but an experiential travelogue. Their journey to Bangkok is structured as a series of lyrical diary entries, marked by white inter-titles against a black backdrop, which trace their whirlwind twelve-hour ‘blind date’ with Premthada and his wife Paula. In response to the filmmakers’ request that he take them to the places he’s moved by, he counters that what moves him most is people, planning their itinerary to start at 4 AM at his building The Artisans Ayutthaya, a maze-like restaurant where the women-run staff rise at the crack of dawn to serve rice to the local monks. He encourages the filmmakers to observe the melodic, gentle rhythms of not only the women’s methodical work scooping ladles of rice into bowls – as well as one of the server’s artful work as a potter later in the day – but also the food preparation rituals of the monks themselves.”