Memory plays an important part in Phaophanit’s work and his choice of materials, including bamboo, rubber and rice, often referencing to his Laotian heritage. Although Laotian references are an important component of Phaophanit’s work, he is often concerned with contextualising this interest within broader aesthetic and philosophical concerns. Phaophanit is best known for his sculpture and installations, which employ familiar materials to expose multiple layers of contradictory meaning. An early installation entitled What Falls to the Ground but Cannot be Eaten at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, in 1991, was composed of an austere architectural gateway and a light suspended bamboo installation creating an important dialogue between both material and cultural differences. Laotian text adorned the ceremonial gateway through which one entered the installation. Since then, Phaophanit has frequently used Laotian text in his work. The nine red neon words of Litterae Lacentes (Light Writing) at Killerton Park, Devon, in 1993 were placed on a garden wall where bamboo and palm trees had been planted. He did not translate the words for his audience, in an effort to communicate the challenge of living between cultures. Following this, Phaophanit developed an interest in neon and LED light technology and has worked frequently with architects to develop new ways of working with these materials.