A Study in Deception (2022) is not merely a research project developed by Pietro Lo Casto for his one-month “International Artist in Residency” with the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at Khon Kaen University, but also the artist’s attempt to deepen his study of the relationship between the visuality of the Anthropocene, marketing tactics, and other techniques of propaganda that, through various kinds of media, have been extensively produced since the cold war era, when the northeast part of Thailand was seen as a target for development discourse.
His interest in the issues surrounding the dams in the region, pulls his focus towards the recent proposal to build a "floating solar farm" in Ubolratana Dam, north of Khon Kaen. A project that will see an area of over 750,000 square meters on the dam's reservoir covered with solar panels. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has positioned the plan as an ideal geo-engineering solution to provide clean energy for Thailand’s new carbon neutrality goals without affecting the environment. 1
Meanwhile, the condition of the surrounding communities impacted by the dam have continued to deteriorate over the years. Cultural rituals such as the "Bun Bung Fai Rocket Festival", where rockets are being shoot to the sky to ask the divinities to provide enough rain for the harvest, still persist today. On one hand showing the strong spiritual connection that still exists between humans and the environment, on the other hand, perhaps, revealing the failure of the dams to deliver on the false promises of optimal water management.