Our City Festival 2012: Urban Currents

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contents


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foreword, Dana Langlois 2012 theme + about list of events: 28 sept - 7 oct, 2012 curating collaboration: one approach, Natalie Pace multiple streams: a confluence (images) event pages sponges ocf in battambang kaley, the giant crocodile and pillar it’s our city, too building again, part 1 + 2 building black wood injured public square munkul lokey looking to the future whilst engaging with the present: reflections on architecture, Stefanie Irmer water: curse or blessing?! (images) mekong flux (images) event pages forgotten, sometimes hidden battambang land use plan, heritage initiative and urban poor community architecture competition: sihanoukville international airport a world of difference urban wetland pissoir: design as infrastructure, R. Taber Hand, PhD urban wetland pissoir (images) city of water and reflections on the urban lab, Shelby E. Doyle urban lab (images) event pages urban interventions open doors/walking tour urban forum youth ambasadors participants: individuals and institutions map of venues and sites ocf12 team acknowledgement


04| foreword

OCF Founding Director Dana Langlois


Initiating Our City Festival in 2008 came as a response to the shifting urban environment in Phnom Penh, increasingly quantifiable with the growth in economic and political stability of the last decade: buildings being built and destroyed, shifts in ownership, experimentation with infrastructure and reconfiguring public space. What seemed lacking was a forum for discussion and feedback from the public. To further exacerbate that, limited institutional structures existed to provide the space or resources to facilitate exchange, discussion or creative responses. To offer one solution, the festival positions itself as a networked platform that creates a dialogical space through modes of creation—arts, architecture and performance. The festival does not aim to finger-point problems but instead creates events, cultivates communities, and opportunities for discussion amongst and with designers, artists, architects and the public. Intentionally, it brings together a multi-disciplinary population to expand the discussion and to consider how each of these disciplines function alongside each other in the development of urban spaces and the way its people thrive and interact within cities. By creating a program that integrates each of these practices without drawing lines of

division, it offers opportunities of collaboration but also for the public to experience them as part of a larger eco-system. In the process of creating the festival, it was necessary to consider the infrastructure to develop it. After years of war and trauma, Cambodia is still rebuilding the necessary systems to allow it to participate in the international arenas of economy and politics; creative industries, specifically contemporary arts, not being one of the priorities. Without this institutional or formalized support, the festival has turned to its own community, working within the natural structures and relationships that already exist. In pooling resources and ideas the festival built a viable network that one, provided the necessary resources, but moreover created a flexible infrastructure that is not co-dependent on institutional systems. It emerged that “informality” became the methodology rather than a problem to be “solved.” Cooperating with many individuals and organizations is not without challenge, however. Bringing together multiple visions, practices, and attempting to move between several cultures and languages can at times fracture the process and dilute resources. It also puts the festival in the position of constant re-assessment and self-questioning, which, although time consuming, is a welcome process. Seeing these challenges as opportunities, however, they provide the impetus to embrace multiplicity and seek ways not to homogenize but to highlight the individuality of the works and the participants. As the festival has developed since its first appearance in 2008, it has increased the number of participants, disciplines and locations. This year the festival hosted over 30 projects at 17 sites in 2 cities with the contributions of nearly 150 individuals. It also has expanded its role as a commissioning agent, supporting new works by artists and architects. The festival sees itself as a platform not only for dialogue but also for creation. It also works to place works, events, and encounters in public spaces making it accessible to the wider public. We offer this publication of essays as a starting point for a larger conversation amongst ourselves and with the wider international audience. It represents some of the thoughts and concepts that this year’s festival was built on. It is only the beginning of a dialogical process that will incorporate multiple languages, feedback from the community, and ongoing contributions from participants. With a background in visual arts Dana Langlois has focused on contemporary Cambodian art for more than a decade. She curates solo shows of emerging artists and collaborates with other arts practitioners to produce exhibitions and projects. Her particular areas of interest include arts infrastructure and ecosystems, public art, participatory art and experimental practices. She is involved in research and documentation of contemporary arts practices in Cambodia and being based in Phnom Penh since 1998, is one of the most active and longstanding practitioners in this field. Langlois founded JavaArts (2000), Sala Artspace, an experimental gallery and studio (2006-7) and Our City Festival (2008).


06| 2012 theme + about ocf


Our City Festival 2012 takes as its departure the theme of ‘Urban Currents.’ It considers the various overlapping flows which constitute the present urban environment: between its people, resources, energy, environment, and landscape of Phnom Penh and its impact on wider Cambodia. More specifically, it refers to the significant local flooding which took place across October and November 2011, which flagged Phnom Penh’s vulnerability against this recurring environmental problem.

Our City Festival is Cambodia’s first and only public festival to bring together creatives from Cambodian cities to focus on urbanism and it’s influence on contemporary culture. Initiated in 2008 by Java Arts to acknowledge the city’s accelerated urban change and its intersection with the surge of activity within the contemporary arts. Presenting art and architecture themed exhibitions, events, performances, screenings, talks, and workshops, Our City examines Phnom Penh’s present, remembers its past, and imagines the future. As a platform for creation, discussion, and cultivating communities, working with cultural institutions as well as in public space, it activates the potential of the urban environment and its people. In the past five years festival exhibitions, talks, workshops, and tours have operated as creative and critical explorations of the city’s urban trajectory. It has sought to reflect on change and document them through creative response and expression: to bear witness to the multiple shifting forces which constitute the present, and indeed, the city. It offers a platform for comment and provides a networked space for negotiating challenges of contemporary urban life through art and architecture. Our City’s activities consider issues at the forefront of Phnom Penh, while recognizing the elaborate web of local-global negotiations within which they are situated.


08|

BATTAMBANG

PHNOM PENH

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CHAN MUYHONG, CHAN PISEY, LONG REAKSMEI, NEAK SOPHAL, SAO SOPHEAK, SENG MANORIDDH AND TES VANNA

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EXHIBITION @ The Battambang Bike Office 6pm Friday, 28 September An archival photo exhibition of the past presented with the “now� of Battambang. These juxtapositions will show us how this city has emerged and changed over the past 100 years.

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PUBLIC INTERVENTION @ Small streets in

Battambang 6pm Friday, 28 September A public art installation in Battambang which explores ideas of dreams, work, ambitions and power in an increasingly global age.

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An exhibition traveling to Phnom Penh from Germany specially for Our City Festival. The project brings together voices from the Asia-Pacific region to reflect on the issues of water and itsenvironmental and social impact. A workshop parallels (Urban Lab) the exhibition and features dialogues between exhibiting designers and architects from the Asia-Pacific region and Cambodian architecture/arts students and professionals.

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STORYTELLING THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY CHAN MUYHONG, CHAN PISEY, LONG REAKSMEI, NEAK SOPHAL, SAO SOPHEAK, SENG MANORIDDH AND TES VANNA EXHIBITION

A showcase and space to explore selected images by participants of weeklong intensive workshop lead by Kim Hak. It was designed for emerging artists and photography enthusiasts to introduce them to photography as a tool and medium for storytelling.

DAUN PENH VIDEO KIM HAK VIDEO

Kim Hak dedicates his moving film ‘Daun Penh’ to those who left Phnom Penh under the Khmer Rouge regime and personally calls for them to ‘come home.’ In acknowledging the diasporic experience, Hak sensitively reflects on the impact passing of time has on historical memory, identity, and a sense of belonging.

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8am Saturday, 29 September The ARTchitectural Tour starts in Battambang’s historical downtown, with rich explanations of the area’s history and dynamic contemporary arts’ scene. The tour moves slowly into the countryside and explores Battambang’s culture, canals and exotic hidden temples. The tour will start at 8am. This tour is free for everyone and snacks/water will be provided during the trip. The journey is approx 3hrs, 25km. It’s a great ride for beginners and can be done with a pedal bicycle. To rent a bicycle it is recommended to come 30 minutes before departure.

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SPONGES ERIC ELULL AND COLLABORATORS

PUBLIC INTERVENTION & PERFORMANCE @ No Problem Park

7pm Friday, 28 September A series of choreographed performances and flash mobs. Based on simple physical movements and an awareness of the surrounding environment, these performances reinvent our movement and interactions in public space and renew our appreciation of them.

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PUBLIC INTERVENTION & PERFORMANCE @

Sothearos Park, across from Meta House (TBC) 3-5pm Saturday, 29 September 7.30-9.30am Sunday, 30 September Over the course of the festival Amy, with several participants, will construct a 2x3m wall, destroy it and rebuild it in a public space. The performance explores the process of breaking and rebuilding, a process that is both deeply personal to most individuals in Cambodia and wholly relevant to living in the dynamic city of Phnom Penh.

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URBAN LAB/LIVING ARCHIVE CURATED BY SHELBY E. DOYLE

EXHIBITION @ Bophana Centre 5pm Saturday, 29 September During the festival the ground floor of Bophana will become an architecture gallery and living archive displaying the projects and ideas developed by the Urban Lab Interns and projects from international universities about Phnom Penh. The goal is to bring together young architects to talk about the future of Phnom Penh and to gather urban resources for Phnom Penh in a single place to promote the discussion of architecture and urban design in the city. The Our City Festival Urban Lab is the result of a series of summer workshops and culminates with a final workshop and exchange as part of Water: Curse or Blessing?! displayed at No Problem Park.

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space in the city and moves back and forth between the harsh reality and a boundless optimism about human possibilities.

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A participatory installation which literally invites viewers to walk through the city.

A 24-hour durational performance and installation work set outside of the Central Market. The Public Square is a highly visible designated space that allows for the denizens of Phnom Penh to engage in private conversations with people in the arts community.

carefully and colorfully decorated with recycled materials by other students at the center to represent their positive and negative feelings about their world. In the second project, students show what they most like and dislike about their city through photography.

BUS STOP @ URBAN LAB VAN NITA IN COLLABORATION WITH LORENZO MARTINI

EXHIBITION @ Bophana Centre 5pm Saturday, 29 September With the increasing population in Phnom Penh, the traffic steadily grows. A failed attempt to introduce a public bus system 2001 highlighted the challenge of the perception that public transport is for low income people who cannot afford their own vehicle. It is not “cool� to get on the bus. This project is an invitation to all Cambodian people to join in this experiment with public transportation that would feature better bus stops, eco friendly vehicles and, last but not least, a cooler looking bus.


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MUNKUL LOKEY KHMER ARTS ENSEMBLE

PERFORMANCE @ Khmer Arts Theater 7pm Saturday, 29 September Free bus available at west side of Independence Monument, departs at 6pm. First come, first serve. more information: +855 (0)23425780 or info@khmerarts.org Sophiline Cheam Shapiro's Munkul Lokey is an example of the cosmopolitan possibilities of Cambodian art. Commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum's Works and Process Series in 2008, this romantic and lyrical project evokes feelings of love, eroticism, and spirituality. It's choreography for four dancers and innovative costuming are suffused with an exquisite and intimate contemporary invocation of Cambodian classicism. This will be the first time the full-length work is performed in Cambodia.

6pm Monday, 1 October Chea Phal is a young Cambodian for whom photography has become a tool to explore his passion for architecture, space and history of his surroundings. This collection focuses on twelve structures in Phnom Penh which he has explored during his regular walks. The exhibition is an opportunity to join Phal in contemplating Phnom Penh’s urban landscape, its past, present and future, through these unique structures.

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cityscape and individual portraiture, the exhibition examines changing Phnom Penh against the backdrop of its people.

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*Ă“Ă“NH)9,NDUVKNDU1B Shelby E. Doyle QLJVÀŸ',\ 8 Eva Lloyd QLJ Giacomo Butte THE BLACK WOOD UX:P NP 8W8QZJH)9,*QĂ DUD.PQB&DVD)DU1• MAO SOVIET IN COLLABORATION %,Ă‹I˜FQÂ&#x;Ă€ 7, ([WXODHQ+WH7$ WITH TIM ROBERTSON *QĂ DUD.PQBĂ‹Q7,5NXJ PDQH.DOE01J&<\.Ă“DH)9,> EXHIBITION @ Romeet Gallery 5EHV,UH/,JHQ$NĂ“ĂœJ7,5NXJ3Ă“0H%M WDPU\•NDU JDU 6:30pm Wednesday, 3 October HQ+ .:H. DQ5EP8OUDO U8E3D% QLJ*WĂ E7HS6J” At the core of The Black Wood, a multi%,7,VD)DU1• HG,P ,FJ5NJ&DÂŤNVDUV5PDE disciplinary installation featuring sculp*QD.WUD&)DQ,3Ă“0H%M UDO U8E3D%7D0J*V HQD+ ture, installation and photography, is QZJH)9,NDUS6%9S6D\WDPU\•UX:P NP 8W8HQ$WDPSڟY the concept of a secure place to call GnĂžraKmn_saFarNÂł It reflects on ideas of place, VD)DU1•NĂ“ĂœJ7,5NXJHG,P ,EĂ ÂźU&DH\DEO .Ă“DH7$YLM ‘home.’ Ă‹I˜*D7LWĂž 7, ([N%DÂşD HPD J 5%ZN shelter, security and how they connect 5NXPNDUJDU HY WH/Q QZJH)9,V<QF DUP<\(GO H7$PN to individuals and entire communities. PDQ5E(YJE,(P 5WHQ$HO,SڟYNĂ“ĂœJ7,5NXJ&DP<\QZJ URBAN INTERVENTIONS EJÂŁQ V5PDE EW H&,JW8F NDUJDUHQ+ .:&D.H5PDJ SHELBY E. DOYLE AND COLLABORATIVE STUDIO: EVA LLOYD AND GIACOMO BUTTE P<\V5PDE GDV HW2QGO NDUVQ60V0Ă‹F QLJH)9,7ZN PUBLIC rbUs INTERVENTION V‡DWV5PDE VX[3D%O‡SJ(GU HODN5.8 5V, E1Ă ÂźO Tuk tuk displays from Monday, 1 October NDUWD0J%L%Â&#x;1tHQ$FDYD NDHK9 *DW KÂŁD/:U, URBAN WETLAND PISSOIR: Urban Interventions aims to improve Ă‹I˜5%KV Wš 7, ([WXOD HPD J O˜DF AESTHETICS, FUNCTION, BIODIVERSITY urban space in Phnom Penh. The work WETLANDS WORK! VLO NUH\,J FJ QL\D\*0%,)P—&DWL(GOPDQHN,W PUBLIC INTERVENTION – SITE TBC is a collection of images and text; interQLJHUD\H7$YLM H5%D+&DNDU(GOPLQ*DF;DW DQ ventions into the urban realm, as ‘food 10am Sunday, 30 September 7D0J)P—&DWL QLJPQXV6HODNSJ(GU7D0JHQ+&DNDU for thought,’ addressing potential sceWetlands Work! debuts the installation UJUE<VP<\V5PDE PQXV6PĂ“D5.E ”.Ă“Ă“D narios for the future Phnom Penh. ImUrban Wetland Pissoir which consists of a shallow aquatic garden running several meters alongside an urban street in Phnom Penh. The Urban Wetland Pissoir highlights the challenge of public urination and its subsequent health issues, and the broader function of wetlands in treating urban wastewater, while offering an aesthetic solution.

ages are installed as ‘advertisements’ on tuk-tuks which travel the city throughout the day sharing these ideas with the public they are designed to serve.

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INJURED SREY BANDAUL

EXHIBITION @ Java CafĂŠ & Gallery/JavaArts

6pm Thursday, 4 October An existential exploration by artist and teacher Srey Bandaul. Building on the philosophical foundations of Buddhism, the artist underscores one of the core concepts that if we let go of fears and desires that our “injuries� would diminsh.

QLJ Khmer Architecture Tours QLJ Tim Page nig San Phyrun NDUWD0J%L%Â&#x;1tHQ$HPWĂ DHKDV b‘ALNOOR ulDIgDEWSHI Ă‹I˜*JÂŁDU 7, ([WXOD HPD J O˜DF PDQE%D‹D0J([63D%\QĂ HQ$HPWĂ DHKDV GDN EJĂ’DM*0%,U8E3D%(GO%DN %Â&#x;Q‰E%DĂ’DG,)Ăš, QLJNDU Ă‹I˜*D7LWĂž 7, ([N%DÂşD HPD J • O˜DF *3LY'¨HQ$ DW G0EJ QLJPDQ(SQ7,V5PDE HG,UWDP U8EIW*0%,*D.DU%1tVÂŽEsXO',JˆHQ$VJĂƒDW 7HQĂšU 7,N(QĂšJ5EYWĂ LVDÂ?VĂ Q,P<\”HQ$ DW G0EJSJ(GU lMhTIsaFarNÂł Anida Yoeu Ali/Studio Revolt

DVDN NP—YL),HQ+QZJPDQGDN E%D‹D0J([6U3D%\QĂ HQ$SĂ€+HPWĂ D *QĂ UD.PQBVD)DU1• QLJNDUV(PĂ J [Ăš,NĂ“ĂœJ\E P<\U\•H%O QD7,HQ$HPWĂ DHKDV BATTAMBANG LAND USE PLAN, S6U)0I,— &DQ [DJH5NDP HERITAGE INITIATIVE AND URBAN POOR Ă‹I˜V5X N O˜DF Ă‹I˜HV$UB 7, ([WXOD HPD J O˜DF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BUILDING NDUV(PĂ J&DJ HPD JHQ$[DJH5N$S6DU)0I—,&D META HOUSE, GIZ AND KHMER ARCHITECTURE ALNOOR DEWSHI P<\5E*E E<Q5&XJ%1tV H5%D+VLO NUFJ H)9, TOURS WITH TIM PAGE AND SAN PHYRUN FILM @ Meta House NLF‹VQĂ€QD&DP<\PQXV678H7$[DJH5N$*0%,VLO • EXHIBITION @ Meta House 6:30pm Sunday, 30 September 6pm Tuesday, 2 October QLJP&ÂŚGDĂˆQ[DJH5N$HG,P ,SĂšDV EĂ ÂźU.0QLW QLJH\DEO A 30 minute film documenting life in Meta House highlights urban and ruH7$YLMH7$PN the White Building (aka “Buildingâ€?) in Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh. The film is a portrait of this unique space and its residents. One night screening only at 7pm. From 6:30 to 7PM The Underdogs will make their debut with a short set of Western and Khmer songs. The Underdogs musicians are all young residents of the Building, and recently came together as senior students at Music Arts School, where the band formed.

ral land issues in Cambodia through a series of exhibitions and presentations that explore issues of urban development, heritage management and urban poor communities’ development in the City of Battambang. In addition, Khmer Architecture Tours launches a new edition of the “Battambang Walking Maps.â€? Upstairs, at the Meta cafĂŠ world-renowned photographer Tim Page presents a selection of his photos of the land registration process along side San Phyrum’s photos of beneficiaries of the land distribution program for the rural poor. Meta House completes the event with screening of videos related to the topic.

PUBLIC SQUARE ANIDA YOEU ALI/STUDIO REVOLT

PUBLIC INTERVENTION & PERFORMANCE @

Central Market (TBC) 6pm Friday, October 5 - 6pm Saturday, 6 October A 24-hour durational performance and installation work set outside of the Central Market. The Public Square is a highly visible designated space that allows for the denizens of Phnom Penh to engage in private conversations with people in the arts community.

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ON VIEW

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DQHUREF0NP—YL),5EN<W5E(&JVĂ“DĂ‹GVLV6QLVL6W The closing of the Urban Lab will offer an opportunity to explore the completVĂ DEWĂžNP— HG,P ,EJĂ’DMF0H1+GZJG8F&D.0QLW QLJ ed projects of the participating interns. NDUEHJĂƒ,WI—, U<P7D0JF0H1+*QXYWĂ QBSJ U,ÂŤNDU The Urban Lab provides a space for the 5EN<W5E(&JTĂ“D0HQ+ H5NDPNDU.D057%,Ă‹G.8UG V0[DQ exchange of ideas between university .:5NXPKsXQ5.E 5.J5%ODQ\QĂ HKD+HQ$NP Ăœ&D DQ students, architects, artists and urban HVĂ“,&D5E)DQE7H5NDPF01JH&,JID ^NDU%5J,N thinkers about the present and future 5%ODQ\QĂ HKD+*QĂ U&DWLH[WĂ 5%+V,KQX` of Phnom Penh. ARCHITECTURE COMPETITION

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8:30 am Sunday, 7 October In Khmer only @ the front of the clock at Wat Phnom The Heritage Mission offers a free guided tour through the former ‘French/European Quarter’ of Phnom Penh. The tour follows the idea of OPEN DOORS, which has been realized over the past decades in many cities around the world to improve architectural knowledge and to promote urban heritage. The concept was introduced to Phnom Penh in 2010, offering free access to public and private buildings to discover intelligent designs and hidden urban beauties.

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TALKS @ Meta House 6pm Sunday, 7 October An evening dedicated to the lively exchange of ideas about Phnom Penh and its urban evolution. ‘In conversation’ talks with members of the arts and architecture community, short films and slideshows aim to provide a forum for reflection as a closing event for Our City Festival 2012.

EXHIBITION @ Institut Français du Cambodge Since 2009 The Institut Français du Cambodge has organized a contest for architecture students to offer them the opportunity to showcase their ideas, creativity and know-how. Cambodia Airports, the main partner and supporter of this year’s contest, has provided the theme: the future expansion phase of Sihanoukville International Airport.

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EXHIBITION @ Norton University and Cambodian Mekong University As part of the student curriculum, the Urban Design Studio is a cornerstone of the program for the School of Architecture and Urban planning at both Norton University and Cambodian Mekong University. For the Our City Festival, the university presents work by the students, including observations about the city and descriptive analyses using documentation and maps resulting in a series of “city-postcards.�


10| curating collaboration: one approach OCF12 Arts Curator Natalie Pace

In the course of curating this year’s arts programme, the question what is Our City Festival? has persisted. More than simply an identifier or locator of the festival’s ‘position’, repeated consideration of this question feels critically important to the process and programming of an event which responds to the changing artistic climate and socio-cultural context within which it‘s activities are located. Whilst it is a privileged position to contribute to the festival’s direction and methodology, such issues of definition are both thorny and complex. My responses have borrowed heavily on the descriptive texts in the literature that accompanied last year’s festival. On reflection, this reliance on


constructed, summary texts, signals my discomfort in offering a definitive answer, especially given my position as a relative newcomer to Cambodia. Indeed, like the city which inspires it, Our City Festival is not constituted of a single subjectivity, but multiple. It was with the intention of enabling the multiple voices of the city to be heard that the festival was envisaged. Launched in 2008, Our City Festival was motivated by a desire and perceived necessity to acknowledge the changing physical and creative landscapes of Phnom Penh. We might broadly see these new artistic and urban landscapes as having evolved and coalesced to form an alternative urban-aesthetic. This is the central theme that continues to shape the festival’s ethos and events. In the past five years, its exhibitions, talks, workshops, and tours have operated as creative and critical explorations of the city’s development trajectory. Those involved have reflected on this change through artistic responses and expressions. Today, Our City remains the only festival to bring together creative practitioners to focus on the timely issue of urban transition. Reconciling art and urbanisation seems particularly pertinent given the momentum with which the capital’s urban development has gathered pace, which is not only unprecedented in Cambodia’s history, but remarkable by regional standards. Whilst my intention is not to give a prologue of Phnom Penh’s urban history, it is worth noting that its population has increased nearly 50 per cent in the decade following 1998, and is predicted to double by 2025 . Such growth highlights the special importance of giving space and time to discussion on the impact of such a transition. Similarly, Cambodian contemporary art has been going through a period of rapid expansion and diversification in practice. A cursory glance at the 12 months separating Our City Festival 2011 and 2012 testifies to the continued vigour with which contemporary art practitioners are articulating their ideas. New and divergent art spaces in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap respectively, increasingly offer opportunities for the practice and presentation of art. This diversity suggests a place of creative possibilities – one where different narratives are being etched more than ever in and through creative landscapes. Our City Festival offers a different model for engaging with shifts in the urban environment and artistic practice. In its current format, the festival extends the terms of the conventional exhibition over time and place. This year it occurs over a ten day period and continues to be located in multiple cultural institutions, venues, and public spaces. This scattered-site approach aims to challenge literal and perceived barriers to experiencing art and architecture in the city, widen opportunities for public engagement to those outside of the immediate local and expat arts and architecture communities, and take measures towards side-stepping the production of an institutionally framed and restrictive arts agenda. In particular, the use of public space recognises that not all ‘meaningful’ outcomes or experiences of art occur in concrete institutions – such experiences may occur outside or between them, in conversations or other reflections. Foundational to the process and programme of Our City is a belief in collaboration and participation in a spirit of asking questions rather than providing answers. The aim has been to develop a model of arts practice built on inclusionary processes, as well as outcomes, from the ground-up. Over the years, organisers have invited a variety of stakeholders to join formative programming discussions, which have helped steer the festival towards the particular concerns of that year. By casting the net wide, the festival galvanises the skills and commitment of creative practitioners, cultural institutions, urban-focused organisa-

tions and other contributors. This year we are delighted to be supported by UNESCO, whose commitment to local and international collaboration in championing culture is a particularly valuable endorsement. When proposing people share their resources, time, skills, and experiences, trust and a mutual desire to reach a similar end is implicit. However, for numerous reasons, such ends are rarely identical. Practical or ideological challenges are inherent in collaboration between a wide variety of participants; pooling ideas can cause anxiety, and where the process aims to be open a lot can be exposed. Collaboration could, therefore, be seen to operate on unstable ground, or at the very least, in a place where the ground is constantly shifting as positions constantly undergo negotiation. Whilst challenging, this model of practice facilitates the exploration of ideas with greater input, diversity and hence contributes to the widening of individuals’ thoughts and creative process. As such, Our City is not as interested in ‘producing’ a choir so much as encouraging a cacophony of voices. In a communities wide festival, a pre-ordained or authoritative path of least resistance seems antithetical. By advocating working together to create Our City Festival, this perhaps constitutes one approach in the greater process of living together in the city.

Urban Currents

This year’s theme began from three curators, two working group members, and one director in conversation. Having received feedback from participants and observers, we were looking for a point of departure which had strong contextual links to Phnom Penh and would reach out laterally to residents and participants in the city. How could we attempt to represent various individual concerns? How could we create a space for all those involved? The conversation, which began in January 2012, turned to the heavy flooding in Phnom Penh which occurred across the previous October and November. In addition to devastating homes and livelihoods, the flooding had also flagged Phnom Penh’s particular vulnerability against this recurring environmental problem. We then began to consider other types of flows informing Phnom Penh: flows of people in terms of migration, displacement and tourism; social exchanges of thoughts, ideas and experience; transactions of capital in investment and through financial negotiations; global influences that have manifest in political, economic or social structures and/or values. Accordingly, we proposed the theme of ‘urban currents’: the various overlapping flows between the people, resources, energy, environment, and landscape of Phnom Penh which constitute life in the city. Looking at the resultant artworks, which were mostly new commissions, certain ‘currents’, or threads across the works, seemed to naturally emerge. References to memory and the passing of time, respective notions of place in contemporary Phnom Penh both from physical and ideological perspectives, reflections on the changing urban-aesthetic, all had multiple reference points. The arts programme could have been thematically categorised as a result. But even if such headings were purposefully broad, meanings and interpretations also naturally interchange and I wanted to acknowledge this – at times the connections between individual works or projects in this year’s programme seemed more concrete. Several events, for example, discuss the prevalent issues of land and ownerships of urban space. Connections may also be read more ephemerally. By the act of living in the city we are implicated in and shaped by interacting with urban currents; we, like these works, share a similar space at the same time, which does not necessarily make for a foregone experience or conclusion, but for a constant (re)negotiation of the urban space.


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Multiple Streams: A Confluence

A Confluence is a group exhibition housed at No Problem Park which brings together contemporary art and architectural works around this year’s festival theme. Bringing together installation, sculpture, photography, video, and performance from local and international artists and architects, A Confluence offers a temporary juncture for the works on display, those it anticipates, and those it will remember. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to explore these works as they converge together before continuing their own artistic journeys once again. Viewing currents as rhythms, transactions, directions, and something in progress – there is no prescribed route, only a set of propositions. ‘The Public Square’ by Anida Yoeu Ali/ Studio Revolt examines how thoughts and ideas are exchanged through conversation. The work is separated into two parts. In the gallery setting, the installation is yet to be fully realised. It will leave the exhibition to evolve in to a 24 hour durational performance at Central Market. Here it will be activated and resolved in its offering of a new place and context for dialogues between Phnom Penh residents and the arts community. For the opening, part of the gallery lay dormant. Both a precursor and trace, this virtual emptiness transformed in to an archival site, making visible Amy Lee Sanford’s participatory performance ‘Building Again’. Exploring the process of breaking and rebuilding, Amy with several participants will construct a 2.5 x 3 meter wall, destroy it and rebuild it in a public space. This performance is anticipated in its referential treatment – with the aim of extending its temporal nature – thereby helping to build the community. Revealing alternative concerns with the process of art making and what constitutes material and action, the performance itself designates participation as a critical mode of engagement. Kim Hak references Cambodia’s troubled past and the impact on cultural memory in his video ‘Daun Penh’ where he acknowledges the diasporic experience. He dedicates this gently powerful film to those who were here as ‘the sky turned black’ under the Khmer Rouge, before escaping overseas. Aware of the imprint on today’s generations, Hak looks hopefully to the present, personally calling for these people to ‘come home’. Photography bridges the past with the present and the future with a focus on lived experience. Inspired by the week-long workshop led by Kim Hak, the participants- all of whom were new to photography- walked the streets seeking to uncover thoughts and stories from and about the city. The responses and observations were as diverse as the photographic approaches which capture them. This multi-layered project sees Phnom Penh through a variety of lenses; compassionate, uncertain, and celebratory. Mirroring the dialogical means in which these narratives were collected and evolved, the gallery setting operates as a place for continued reflection and interpretation. A similar multiplicity of experiences and livelihoods is expressed in Alnoor Dewshi’s 30 minute film ‘Building’ screened at Meta House German Cambodian Cultural Centre. Dewshi presents the vibrancy of families and communities within a centrally located apartment block in Phnom Penh – a site of great social, cultural and political contention. Neither romantic nor damning in tone or content, it offers an alternative to the often politically charged readings of this site. Through experiential means, Kong Vollak, Sar Rattana, and Prom Puthisal’s installation ‘Walk the City’ explores ownership, authorship, and identity, as it responds to the spatial reconfiguration and reconstruction of Phnom Penh in the process of urbanisation. This surge of development and transition probes questions of local versus imported ideas influencing the changing built environment. In providing a physical and material articulation of the

city, it also acts as a provocation, challenging participants to critique the imagined city presented in the artwork as representational of what the surrounding city is or ‘could be’. In her film ‘Phnom Penh Central Station’, Anna Katharina Scheidegger poetically portrays the particularly altered space around the capital’s railways. The film moves slowly and with a reflective distance. Quiet in its approach, much of it filmed with a fixed camera, the stilled image and subtle, non-linearity applauds stasis and cohesion against imposed change. Belgian collaborative Topp & Dubio similarly discuss claims to urban space in their video ‘Niemandsland’ (No Man’s land). A clown roams absurdly through the city’s streets seeking out ‘undefined places’ to plant his flag; ‘places that are still being developed. Places that are shielded with fences…cut off from the so called public space. Places…we would like to mark them as “our place”. Contestations of places called ‘home’ are personalized in ‘The Black Wood’ at Romeet Gallery, and urban NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut’s (STT) exhibition ‘A World of Difference’. ‘The Black Wood’ presents work by Battambang based artist MAO Soviet and American photographer Tim Robertson. The installations and sculptures have been re-crafted or simply placed and re-contextualised from materials gathered at an area which previously housed a now displaced community in Phnom Penh. A door placed as it was found, becomes a poignant symbol of the evidently moveable boundaries between private and public space, and the tenuous notions of home, shelter and a sense of belonging. These exhibitions reiterate much of what Our City Festival is premised on: in navigating these changing waters, both community and collaboration are possible vessels. 1 ‘Urban-aesthetic’ is a terms coined by art historian Rosalyn Deutsche to describe the phenomena of rapidly changing cities and an expansion and divergence of practice in the contemporary arts scene. 2 According to UN-Habitat (2008) State of the World’s Cities 2010/2011: Bridging the Urban Divide (London: Earthscan) 3 Scattered-site’ is a term used by curator Claire Doherty which refers to an exhibition structure that folds out of and reveals its context.

Originally from England, she has been based in Phnom Penh since 2010, working with JavaArts and independently. With a tendency for collaboration, she is interested in exploring tools and models that work towards a widening of engagement with art, and how these processes can interact with context-specific issues. She recently completed her Master’s thesis which examines the intersections between contemporary art and urbanism in Phnom Penh, focusing on public and participatory art. Alongside Kate O’ Hara, she co-founded art collaborative ArtXProjects.


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Aedes + OCF, Water: Curse or Blessing?!, 2012. Installation view at No Problem Park. Original exhibition curated by Ulla Giesler in Berlin, Germany.


Kong Vollak in collaboration with Sar Rattana and Prom Puthisal, Walk the City, clay, cardboard and chopsticks, 2012. Installation view at No Problem Park. Following page: Anida Yoeu Ali + Studio, Revolt Public Square, plastic, aluminium, fluorescent lights and two wooden chairs, 2012. Installation view at No Problem Park.


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Workshop led by Kim Hak with participants Chan Muyhong, Chan Pisey, Long Reaksmei, Neak Sophal, Sao Sopheak, Seng Manoriddh and Tes Vanna; Storytelling through photography, 2012. Installation view.


Topp + Dopio, Niemandsland, video, 2012. Installation view at No Problem Park.


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Amy Lee Sanford, Building Again, bricks, tools, 2012. Installation view (after performance) at No Problem Park.


Anna Katharina Scheidegger, Phnom Penh Central Station, video, 2009. Installation view at No Problem Park.


22| sponges Common Sole

Based on simple physical movements and an awareness of the surrounding environment, these performances reinvent our movement and interactions in public space and renew our appreciation of them. Performers: Bernadette Vincent, Chen Borey, Eric Ellul, Ouk Channita, Sen Sovithia and Sor Sophal Musicians: Adrien Gayraud, Ali Ben Berdouch, Gilles Berger, StĂŠphane Routtier

Common Sole, Sponges, 2012. Performance view, streets 178 and 13 (National Museum).



24| ocf in battambang

David “Jam” Ramjattan and Chov Theanly

Damnow/ The Journey An exhibition organised by David “Jam” Ramjattan An archival photo exhibition of the past presented with the “now” of Battambang. These juxtapositions show us how this city has emerged and changed over the past 100 years.

Urban Ties Chov Theanly A public art installation across multiple locations in Battambang. Featuring a series of hand-made replicas of the accessory typically associated with an office environment, the work explores ideas of work, dreams, ambitions and power in an increasingly global age.

Battambang Bike Tour Led by The Battambang Bike The installation was accompanied by an artist talk A 25km ‘ARTchitectural Tour’ at Make Maek Gallery. with rich explanations of the area’s history and dynamic contemporary arts’ scene.

Top: Chov Theanly, Urban Ties, ties, paint and wire, 2012. Installation view, street 2.5, Battambang. Bottom left: Battabang Bike Tour, 2012 Bottom right: Chov Theanly, Urban Ties, 2012. Artist talk at Make Maek Gallery.



26| kaley, the giant crocodile and pillar Pich Sopheap, Kong Vollak

Kaley, a sculpture and puppet, was conceived and commissioned for A Bend in the River, a new work by award-winning choreographer Sophiline Shapiro and the Khmer Arts Ensemble. This is the first time the sculpture will be seen in public, later appearing in the performance in Cambodia and New York City. Pillar, sculptures and drawings by artist Kong Vollak, displayed in the lobby of UNESCO’s historical building highlights the juxtaposition of classical and modern structures within the city landscape.


Pich Sopheap, Kaley, the giant crocodile, rattan, and wire, 2012. Installation view at UNESCO heritage office.


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Kong Vollak, The Building and The Human Build, charcoal on canvas, 2012. Installation view at UNESCO heritage office.

Kong Vollak, Pillar, wire, iron and rust, 2012. Installation view at UNESCO heritage office.



30| it’s our city, too Mith Samlanh students

A two part project featuring both sculptural and photographic creations which aimed to stimulate reflection and discussion amongst the Mith Samlanh students about what the city of Phnom Penh means to them.

Mith Samlanh students, It’s our city, too, recycled batteries, plastic toys, foam, paper, paint, wire and iron (detail), 2012.



32| building again, part 1 + 2 Amy Lee Sanford

Exploring the process of breaking and rebuilding in a public space, Amy, with several participants, destroyed a 2 x 3 meter wall by hand and then rebuilt it again in the exact same public space. Part 1 - Wall construction Part 2 - Wall demolition and reconstruction Participants: Nancy Beavan, Kulthida Natewacharachai, Kate O’Hara, Sea Raksmey, Kulnapa Pumithanes, San Sambom, Yin Sinoun Materials: Bricks, concrete, sand, steel, bamboo, plastic

Amy Lee Sanford, Building Again 1 + 2, 2012. Performance view at Sothearos Park (bottom: SJ Miles; following page: artist).



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Amy Lee Sanford, Building Again 1 + 2, 2012. Performance view at Sothearos Park.


36| building Alnoor Dewshi

A 30 minute film documenting life in the much discussed White Building (aka “Building�) in Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh. The film is a portrait of this unique space and its residents. The film was commissioned by Prospero Films.


Alnoor Dewshi, Building, 2011. Film stills.


38| the black wood Mao Soviet + Tim Robertson

At the core of The Black Wood, a multi-disciplinary installation featuring sculpture, found objects and photography, is the concept of a secure place to call ‘home’. It reflects on ideas of place, shelter, security and how they connect to individuals and entire communities.


Mao Soviet and Tim Robertson, The Black Wood, wood, found objects, wire, paint and photo transfer, 2012. Installation view at Romeet Gallery.


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Mao Soviet and Tim Robertson, The Black Wood, wood, found objects, wire, paint and photo transfer, 2012. Installation view at Romeet Gallery (Kate O’Hara, Natalie Pace).


Mao Soviet and Tim Robertson, The Black Wood, wood, found objects, wire, paint and photo transfer, 2012. Installation view at Romeet Gallery.


42| injured Srey Bandaul

Injured is an existential exploration by artist and teacher Srey Bandaul. Building on the philosophical foundations of Buddhism, the artist underscores one of the core concepts that if we let go of fears and desires that our “injuries” would diminish.” This work is the result of Srey Bandaul’s residency in New York City through the support of the Asian Cultural Council. It has been realized through the grants program of JavaArts with the support of Van Cleve Fine Arts.

Srey Bandaul, Injured, bandages, charcoal, glue, wire and rust, 2012. Installation view at Java Gallery.



44| public square

Anida Yoeu Ali + Studio Revolt

A 24-hour durational performance and installation work creating a highly visible designated space that allows for the denizens of Phnom Penh to engage in private conversations with people in the arts community.

Anida Yoeu Ali + Studio Revolt, Public Square, 2012. Performance view at Sothearos Park (top: artist and Darren Swallow, bottom: Chumvan Sodhachivy, Following page: Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Sum Sithen and neighborhood children).



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48| munkul lokey Khmer Arts Ensemble

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro’s Munkul Lokey is an example of the cosmopolitan possibilities of Cambodian art. Commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process Series in 2008, this romantic and lyrical project evokes feelings of love, eroticism, and spirituality. Its choreography for four dancers and innovative costuming are suffused with an exquisite and intimate contemporary invocation of Cambodian classicism. This is the first time the full-length work has been performed in Cambodia.

Noun Kaza (top) and the Khmer Arts Ensemble performing Sophiline Cheam Shapiro’s Munkul Lokey, 2012. Performance view at the Khmer Arts Theater in Takhmao.



50| looking to the future whilst engaging with the present: reflections on architecture OCF12 Architecture Curator Stefanie Irmer


In recent years, thanks to peace and economic growth Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and secondary cities like Battambang and Siem Reap, have been undergoing astonishing metamorphoses. We are witnessing intense urbanization, the horizontal and vertical expansion of Phnom Penh in particular, and its transformation into a postmodern city at the beginning of the 21st century.

floods in Cambodia in 2011 and as a source of inspiration within the process of modernization of Cambodian cities.

Now is a perfect moment for reflecting in greater depth on the images, infrastructure and comforts our city could, or should offer its citizens into the future. Through reflection, many questions surface for discussion: tradition vs. modernization, tension between public and private interests, cultural identity in transforming urban landscapes, the need for infrastructure, participatory citizenship, migration, social housing, water and more.

Stefanie Irmer, originally from Germany, has a background in Political Science and is an active force in the field of architecture in Cambodia. She organizes public lectures and exhibitions, initiates and supports research and documentation, PR and CI development—creating a platform for and supporting the emergence of a new generation of architects. Stefanie is the Director of Khmer Architecture Tours and the co-founder and Project Coordinator of Space for Architecture, focusing on educational and research projects to promote Cambodia’s urban heritage and sustainable architecture. She is also co-founder of Manolis House, the Cambodian urban heritage and architecture network.

Our City Festival’s artistic statements and architectural approaches do not aim to cover all of these questions or to offer all the answers. Through my role curating the architecture programme, I tried to develop a series of events which would inspire national discussion; to help open windows onto existing regional and international challenges and potential, or actual responses in architectural design and urban planning.

Its showcases for the first time international projects of sustainable, visionary architecture and urban planning to Phnom Penh’s architects, designers, builders, investors and state agencies; it improves regional dialogue between exhibiting international architecture teams and Cambodian architecture students at the complementary workshop and last but not least, it communicates the clear message: everybody should feel responsible about urbanization processes, and its environmental and social impacts! Many local participants of the festivals’ architectural program feel very responsible for their transitioning urban They express their concerns by documenting, designing and overall reflecting about the city and citizens’ needs, vulnerabilities and neglected places. These young artists and designers focus on urgent issues of ‘Our Cities’ ;questions of urban heritage preservation, of public transportation system in Phnom Penh, and the question of urban poor and the appropriate access to their city. These are questions that the festival’s Youth Ambassadors have also been grappling with. This year’s architectural program invites people to explore many different ‘urban currents’. It aims to display relevant issues, hopes, visions and concerns - born in rapidly transforming cities or in reflection to it. Discourse, stimulation and a space to stop and rethink and exchange ideas, is essential for a balanced urban development. I hope the festival is recognized as such a place and initiates more of this needed discussion.

The international exhibition, “Water – Curse or Blessing?!” - invited from Berlin to Phnom Penh - is one of the main architectural events of the festival this year. In the Cambodian context it functions as a direct response to the

Following page: Aedes + OCF, Water: Curse or Blessing?!, 2012 at No Problem Park. Original exhibition curated by Ulla Giesler in Berlin, Germany.


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This page and opposite: Shelby E. Doyle, Mekong Flux, bamboo, mosquito screen, screws and wire, 2012. Installation view at No Problem Park.



56| forgotten, sometimes hidden Chea Phal

Chea Phal is a young Cambodian for whom photography has become a tool to explore his passion for architecture, space and history of his surroundings. This collection focuses on twelve structures in Phnom Penh which he has explored during his regular urban exploration walks. Exhibition curated and installed by On Photography Cambodia.

Chea Phal, Top: Chapelle du Carmel, digital c-print, 2012, Bottom: Department of Cinema, digital c-print, 2012



58| battambang land use plan, heritage initiative and urban poor community Meta House highlights urban and rural land issues in Cambodia through a series of exhibitions and presentations that explore issues of urban development, heritage management and urban poor communities’ development in the City of Battambang. In addition, Khmer Architecture Tours launches a new edition of the “Battambang Walking Maps.” Funded by the German Development Cooperation through GIZ Land Rights Programme and the Government of Finland through Finnmap. The two Walking Maps of Battambang are developed in cooperation with the Urban Planning Unit of Battambang Municipality by Khmer Architecture tours. Top: Installation view of photographs and video comparing mid-century and contemporary images of Battambang. Bottom: visitors explore exhibition during opening at Meta House, 2012.



60| architecture competition: sihanoukville international airport Institut Français

Since 2009, Institut Français Cambodge has organized a contest for architecture students to offer them the opportunity to showcase their ideas, creativity and know-how. Cambodia Airports, the main partner and supporter of this year’s contest, has provided the theme: the future expansion phase of Sihanoukville International Airport. Supported by Cambodia Airports

Top and bottom: Installation view of student submissions to the Architecture Competition at the Institut Français, 2012.



62| a world of difference

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) with photographs by Crystal Patterson

A World of Difference is an exploration of development and change in Phnom Penh, and the human facets of a rapidly evolving urban fabric. Using a combination of images of the cityscape and individual portraiture, the exhibition examines changing Phnom Penh against the backdrop of its people.

Top: Stickers from NGO STT advocating for land rights. Bottom: Installation view of photographs of residents of eviction sites by Crystal Patterson, 2012.



64| urban wetland pissoir: design as infrastructure R. Taber Hand, PhD, Director, Wetlands Work!

As the flow of time moves on, we lose one perspective and gain another. The history, the sense of place, of a location dramatically changes in suburbs. It can happen in a child’s age, such that there never was any ‘old’, only the ‘new’ present landscape. Mary Miss, an artist interested in urban architectural and ecological themes, says history is written “outside of the institution”, and is a more personal understanding. Again, it’s that sense of place each of us has to a particular area – the whole city or a location within it. The historical rural landscape has been shaped by geology and water creating the watershed’s unique flow patterns and sinks. Planning with the creeks and streams, wetlands and their adjacent floodplains as public space for parkland, stormwater management, and water quality makes sense economically, and with regard to human health, and overall quality of life. This is especially true in peri-urban areas prior to becoming an urban city with its multitude of natural, human and economic flows. It happened and continues so in Phnom Penh with the filling of wetlands, an example being the creation of Boeung Keng Kong District in the 1930s – now a place of high-end properties and vibrant life, yet devoid of open space and prone to flooding. With each wetland filled, the city loses the opportunity to have its cake—a diverse sustainable community that works with the provisions of a costless natural system of stormwater detention and natural water treatment, providing combinations of open water, wetlands and public space– and to eat it, too —the rewards of high-end development and a stronger tax base. It is hoped that the costless water treat-


ment systems and the costless morning glory aquaculture and fisheries of other peri-urban wetlands will not be lost. The majority of suburban growth is driven solely by private economic demands, and is haphazardly planned. As a result, opportunities to coordinate and use existing simple, costeffective, efficient infrastructure that could serve the development sustainably and well are forgone. A lack of awareness regarding the benefits of natural services that can save energy and money, such as retaining and attenuating stormwater for water quality and aquifer recharge, still remain. Such internalizations in the planning process can breathe life into the community through forging a connection to that location, even if densely developed.

Maintaining Public health in Phnom Penh

The maintenance of urban public health and comfort takes significant energy and coordination. Currently, urban public health is handled in glaringly different ways by developed and lesser-developed countries. Items are made, bought and sold, then used and thrown away, with the resulting trash collected and disposed of. Yet the life of these materials does not end, as poisonous gases and liquids are produced and require long-term treatment processes. Wastewater disposal has been handled the same way – out of sight, out of mind. Not until 40 years ago did developed countries begin to build expensive and complex urban treatment facilities to maintain public health. In lesser-developed countries, the old ways remain, where the end point is disposal of waste in the local river. As cities grow, the old ways of such disposal become more problematic and the conventional new ways become more expensive. At issue, as recognized in the contemporary Green Era, is the premise of society’s awareness and the adaptation of our activities, like wastewater management. Ultimately, human produced urban waste is a dirty and difficult business to manage. Is there a better way to manage these flows? Is there any urban infrastructure that’s physically and economically sustainable? Are there better, more sustainable ways for flow coordination in a rapidly growing city? These are significant questions, addressed in part by the Our City Festival format and its projects. Phnom Penh has doubled its population in the last 5 years, placing significant pressure on the flow management of drinking water provision, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management among others. And there are corresponding economic costs associated with such management. The Wetland Pissoir project is an example of the direction an urbanizing region can take. It seeks to initiate a dialogue within the Our City program, and within the mind of the citizen who reads about or participates in using the Pissoir. It also adds an element of interest and irony for passers-by, something that is aesthetically attractive on the urban sidewalk yet free, indeed encouraged, to be used. The Pissoir performs a service for the community -- the collection and treatment of human wastewater (urine) so that it becomes safer. For the individual, it provides relief to those men in need of urinating, and is a ‘social equalizer’ for their embarrassment when urinating publicly. Possibly, the Pissoir concept with its aesthetics and functionality can provide a new perception of the local urban community and the individual. The Pissoir carries with it an educational message that wetlands within and around each city naturally provide a costless water treatment service. They are ideal public infrastructure for water quality, given the right balance of the amount of waste in the water with the wetland’s capacity to treat it. The opportunity for the city to capitalize on this function is immense, with the immediate potential to conserve those that are historical, such as Tumpom, Trabek in southern Phnom Penh, and for recreating floodplain wetlands in areas where stormwater can be retained and slowly released through the managed floodplain. A considerable portion of the wastewater from new urban sprawl could be serviced by

managing existing and creating new “constructed” wetlands. It would save tens of millions of dollars by making needless new conventional sewage treatment plants. Such planning with wetlands is also in line with the conservation and creation of critical environmental habitat for biological diversity that also serves as public infrastructure for recreation, park environments, education, and the maintenance of high water quality in rivers and creeks. Wetlands benefit us in times of drought, too, given their function for groundwater recharge and their wet surfaces which promote evaporative cooling of the surrounding areas.

Art as functional design

Wetland Pissoir concerns art as functional design. Rather than a monument, its utility transcends conventional “plop art”. It is attractive and intriguing to passers-by, and no doubt some will note the irony mixed with science and humanity - pristine, untainted nature cleaning human waste. The overall effect of the Pissoir is for reflection on the utility and beauty of our natural wetlands, and in the words of Maintenance Artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, “to imbue the process of disposal with meaning as opposed to disregard”. One can think of it as a station for the very personal act of urinating –a specifically male ritual, and where the human gives his wastewater and nature accepts and treats it. There is no accommodation for female urination at the Pissoir, however, as no efficient solution has yet arisen. The Wetland Pissoir functions by receiving contaminated water (urine) and making it benign through a natural bio-chemical process common in aquatic ecology. This process was quantitatively documented for the Pissoir with outdoor laboratory experiments that determined the tolerance threshold of wetland plants (water hyacinth) and associated microbes to urine. From this information, the size of the Pissoir was calculated for a given number of ‘visits’ per day. The Pissoir is a natural system, based on the ecology of a managed wetland driven largely by the sun, photosynthesis and microbial activity. Public awareness of the capacity of wetlands to treat wastewater is limited and the Pissoir serves to make this fact better known. Passers-by can receive a briefing sheet on wetland values; there is substantive information on the structure itself; and workshop discussions have taken place among university students. Media also has a major role in educating the public and a video has been made to document the Pissoir and its wetland water treatment function. This type of art practice, which uses science-based documentation in the design process, is similar to the work of artist Mary Miss who refers to it as Public Art & Ecology. Miss’s NYC subway “installation was defined for the purposes of the grant as a science experiment, and the hypothesis it posed—that art can change people’s minds—was tested by accumulating ‘data’. The loss of these particular habitats, or treatment systems, is most rapid in developing countries. In fact, wetlands are the most endangered habitat type in the world, surpassing rainforest. Conservation of natural wetlands and the use of constructed or managed wetlands to provide public infrastructure for water management in developing peri-urban areas needs promotion and coordination by all governments. Wetland Pissoir attempts to help create a public that is aware of our dependency on natural systems that support us on this small Blue Dot. 1 www.artinamericamagazine.com/features/mary-miss/ 2 ‘Plop art’ is a pejorative slang term used for public art which seems to have been thoughtlessly commissioned and inappropriate to its site. 3 http://thejunkrevival.blogspot.com/2011/09/is-work-art.html 4 www.imamuseum.org/100 Acres/Artworkandprojects

_________________________________________________________ Taber Hand, Director, Wetlands Work! Ltd., is a lifetime student of water, encompassing watersheds and wetlands, estuaries, coastal and marine regions. His background includes defining ecological and economic regional interdependencies, and promoting science-based adaptive management of unique landscapes. In 2008, Taber started Wetlands Work! with the intent to design low-tech household wastewater treatment systems that would improve ambient water quality, whether in a floating village on a lake, or a school or small business on land. The ultimate goal of this social enterprise is to reduce incidence of water-borne childhood diseases acquired as a result of recreational or other contact with ambient water. Wetlands Work! Ltd. is a socio-entrepreneurial organization that develops terrestrial and aquatic wastewater treatment systems which harness the beneficial microbial activity on roots of floating wetland plants. We also promote awareness of the value of natural wetlands as public infrastructure and valuable, biodiverse ecosystems. To be successful in Cambodia and elsewhere, our designs are efficient and sustainable, economical and easy to produce with locally available materials, readily adopted by users, and require minimal or no maintenance or energy and chemical inputs. WW! is currently supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and test wastewater treatment systems for floating communities in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap and Burma’s Lake Inle. www.wetlandswork.org


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Top, bottom and right: Urban Wetland Pissoir wood, corrugated plastic, plastic sheet, water and plants, 2012. Installation view at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.



68| city of water and reflections on the urban lab OCF12 Urban Lab Curator Shelby Elizabeth Doyle

“Art is integral for human development, for freedom of expression, for dreaming … but perhaps it’s even more important for young people in a country like Cambodia.” --Suon Bun Ritha, Director Phare Ponleu Selepak “The Brightness of Art”

The Urban Lab takes quite literally the premise of the Our City Festival: Urban Currents. It aims to create a space, as Suon Bun Ritha says, “for freedom of expression, for dreaming… for young people.” The process of the Urban Lab was as follows: the team gathered architectural and urban resources, hosted workshops, offered lectures, and provided supplies to a group of Cambodian students who will become the architects and urban planners who will design and build the future of Phnom Penh.


We then asked one question: What are your ideas for the future of Phnom Penh? Their answers are the projects displayed at the Our City Urban Lab hosted by Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre during the Festival. The Urban Lab emerged as a response to the challenges and limitations of my Fulbright research: City of Water: Architecture, Infrastructure and the Floods of Phnom Penh.

City of Water This research documents the relationships between water, architecture, and infrastructure in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The objective of the project is to record the architectural and urban conditions sustained by and subject to the cyclical floods of the city’s rivers and the challenges faced by Phnom Penh as it rapidly urbanizes in a flood plain. I began this work several years ago, inspired by a quote from Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann: “...the privatization and decentralization of the last 15 years threaten to scar Phnom Penh’s landmarks and wreak havoc with its water management... in the event of a major flood three hundred thousand people would lose their homes… you can’t imagine what could happen here.’’ The significant flooding resulting from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina had catastrophic impacts, most notably in New Orleans, and gave context to the questions that would eventually become City of Water. In 1718, the French explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, located the city of New Orleans “thirty leagues above the entrance to the Mississippi.” He selected the site on behalf of the future French colony’s commercial interests. As geographer and historian Raymond Campanella notes in Bienvielle’s Dilemma, locating New Orleans on a swamp was counterintuitive yet geographically logical. “Indeed, this is a challenging site for a major city,” he writes. “Yet Bienville acted wisely in selecting it because he knew what makes a city great is not its site, but its situation. For Campanella, ‘site’ refers to the city’s actual physical footing; ‘situation’ to its historical and cultural context and how it connects with the world.” Phnom Penh’s ‘site’ at the confluence of the Mekong, Tonlé Sap, and Basaac rivers is precariously balanced with its rapid development, and linked to its ‘situation’. Traces of its history as a French Protectorate, the era of independence and prosperity which followed, the Khmer Rouge period, and the contemporary conditions which define the present day city and anticipate its future all contribute to Phnom Penh’s specific ‘situation’.

Methodological Challenges to Urban Research in Phnom Penh The nature of hyper-contemporary documentation and the question of how to successfully document a rapidly developing city as it is changing are ongoing challenges for this research. Here the hyper-contemporary is defined by temporal immediacy and necessitated by the speed of continuous urban transformation. This work benefits neither from the passage of time nor a collection of available academic resources. The realities of obtaining data and conducting academic research in a developing country result in the larger question: what is design’s agency or ability to operate in this environment?

More specifically, what is the agency of design education in complex political, social, and economic landscape such as Phnom Penh? Beatriz Colomina writes of design education in Radical Pedagogies in Architectural Education “…the anxieties caused by the discipline’s awareness of its indeterminate identity in a transformed world. For architectural practice, the question of architecture’s socio-political efficacy in the light of its complicity with capital came to the fore and the discipline (is) forced to examine the margins of its own disciplinary protocols… ” For these reasons, the urban research of City of Water necessarily inhabits a space between journalism and formal academic writing. And the pedagogy of the Urban Lab necessarily inhabits a space between educational institutions and artistic practice. As the speed of global urban development continues to increase, these strategies of hyper-contemporary documentation and analysis will become increasingly valuable methods for reading the city. Cambodia is a post-conflict country with an opaque government. Much original archival material has been moved to collections in the United States and France, the local universities are yet to have a coherent library system, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) often do not coordinate or share their data, due to a variety of constraints and limitations. Government municipalities are difficult to gain access to and from my experiences, do not have or will not share documents. Available and accurate urban data for Phnom Penh are almost non-existent. Much of this data simply does not exist or is not in the public domain. Such data includes, contemporary, verifiable and publicly available digital maps of Phnom Penh to describe land use, building footprints, roads, building heights, and topography. A dedicated group of mapmakers and Geographic Information System (GIS) users, known as the Open Development Cambodia and Phnom Penh Mapping Meet-Up, has worked to collect and disseminate open source map data for Cambodia, including most notably an ongoing effort to increase the accuracy of Open Street Map. Consequently, much of my Fulbright research was conducted through observation, photographs, analytic drawings, video, informal conversations and interviews. Where available, primary source and archival material supplement this work, specifically historic maps. Many of the maps, documents and data came without citation or sources from friends and colleagues here in Phnom Penh. Several people provided data on the condition that I neither distribute it yet nor source it. The goal of sharing: to have it in public domain but not at the cost of relationships or employment. As a result, a tenet of this research is to share all of the documents, drawings and data I have gathered or produced through this work. These documents can be found at www. cityofwater.wordpress.com and hard copies have been donated to the Bophana Audiovisual Center Library where they are available to the public. I began the website as a tool for gathering research and it has evolved into an effective resource for urban scholars of Phnom Penh. From these research challenges emerged the idea for a contemporary or living archive, a trace of the work done during City of Water and a resource for future researchers, students and practitioners.


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What is a Living Archive?

A traditional archive is a place or collection containing records, documents, or other materials of historical interest, usually for public consultation. A living archive is a contemporary collection, which attempts to continuously capture the present moment. It is by definition an impossible task. No media (thus far!) can continuously document and curate an entire city in real time. Therefore, living archives are by nature impossibility, unattainable, yet an important aspect of history making, identity and representation. They negotiate how intellectual territory is claimed through language, knowledge, objects and physical space. A living archive is not necessarily limited by spatial constraints or geographic confines. The increasing availability of technology makes available to the public the capability to rapidly produce, store and retrieve documents. As formal institutions fail to meet the need for data access these avenues, which are seen by some as second tier or lesser than the more entrenched mechanisms of academia or systems, are becoming powerful and meaningful counterpoints. A living archive undoubtedly demonstrates the mantras of democratization and access and thereby must be navigable and open source. The Urban Lab and City Water are pieces of the tenuous structure of a living archive for Phnom Penh.

What is the Urban Lab?

The Urban Lab is a group of people, a website and during the Our City Festival it is a place, hosted by the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center, founded by filmmakers Rith Pahn and leu Pannakar. The Bophana Center website states: “Our objective has been to gather, image after image, snatches of life and a volley of voices. In order to try to understand, to try to give a name, a soul, a face and a voice to those whose had been deprived of them. To return to the victims of a murderous history their destiny and their memory: To recover freedom of speech by integrating reflection about the past with the construction of the present in order to escape tragedy and to begin to invent the future. It is not only a question of recovering memory, but also of knitting up the elusive warp of a multiple and living identity, that of contemporary Cambodian society.” It is with this mission in mind that during the festival the Ground Floor of Bophana become an architecture gallery and living archive—displaying the projects and ideas developed by the Urban Lab Interns and projects about Phnom Penh from international universities. The goal was to bring together young architects to talk about the future of Phnom Penh and to gather urban resources for Phnom Penh in a single place to promote the discussion of architecture and urban design in the city. Prior to and during the festival the Urban Lab team gathered urban resources for Phnom Penh: books, maps, articles, films and photos that are now integrated into the Bophana Library Collection. Following the festival these resources will be publicly accessible to urban researchers, practitioners and university students. As an outsider I can observe, document, analyze and share my thoughts about Phnom Penh. As a teacher I can lend my experience and expertise to support the Urban Lab Interns - to develop their concepts and to teach the technology necessary to express their visions and ideas. However as a visitor, there is a limit of my contribution and my time in Phnom

Penh. The future of the city will be shaped by the ideas and the work on the next generation of architects and urban designers who will spend their careers creating and working with the opportunities and challenges of Phnom Penh. During our time together the Urban Lab Interns asked many questions about that future, questions I cannot answer for them and that they will spend their entire careers considering. I will end with these questions: As designers how do we balance the pressures of development with heritage and culture? Is there a “Cambodian Style” in architecture and if so what does that look like? Should we be trying to make a “Cambodian” architecture? A new ‘New Khmer Architecture’? Should we be looking to the past or to the future for inspirations: to Angkor Wat or to Bangkok? As designers how can we make the city better? As architects, do we have to wait for good clients, wait for changes in the law or can we act now? 1 Quote from an article by Knox, Clare. Arts Hub Rewarded With €25 000 Prize. The Phnom Penh Post. 20 September 2012. 2 Phare Ponleu Selpak is an art school in Battambang, Cambodia that began as a refugee camp teaching art and creative expression to young people who had fled the country’s conflicts. PPS’s action is centered around artistic practice. Arts are used not only as a tool to foster expression, but also as a complete set of tools aimed at answering children’s psycho-social needs. This includes education, life skills, social skills and personal development. 3 Steinglass, Matthew. The City He Built. The New York Times. May 15, 2005 4 Campanella, Richard. Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans. Baton Rouge, LA: University of Louisiana, 2008 5 Beatriz Colomina with Esther Choi, Ignacio Gonzalez Galan And Anna-Maria Meister. Radical Pedagogies In Architectural Education. The Architectural Review. 28 September, 2012 Shelby Elizabeth Doyle is a Fulbright Research Fellow based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her current research is entitled City of Water: Architecture, Infrastructure, and the Floods of Phnom Penh and began with previous work in Cambodia: the Angkor Hospital for Children Friends Center which was recently published in Design Like You Give A Damn II.

Shelby Elizabeth Doyle is a Fulbright Research Fellow based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her current research is entitled City of Water: Architecture, Infrastructure, and the Floods of Phnom Penh and began with previous work in Cambodia: the Angkor Hospital for Children Friends Center which was recently published in Design Like You Give A Damn II. Shelby holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she completed her thesis with advisor Toshiko Mori, Neft Dashlari: Architecture, Oil and Urbanism in the Trans-Caspian Union. She also received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia. After graduating from the University of Virginia Shelby worked in New York City where she was a design team member and manager at Cook+Fox Architects working on a variety of projects including high end ground-up residential, a visitor’s center for a children’s hospital in Cambodia, interior renovations, a homeless shelter health clinic in Manhattan, and several competitions and schematic design proposals. She is originally from Purcellville, Virginia.


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Sing Heng Kheang, Kinetics Tubic Path, plastic straws, wire and wood (detail), 2012.


Hin Pheaksovann, Primary Recycle Design, bamboo, paper tubes and paint (detail), 2012. Following page: Cheap + Beautiful Project with the work of Hin Pheaksovann, Hin Virak, Lam Sokly, Nun Moni Sreyroath, Nuon Keopisey, Phorn Sreylin, San El Vanthat, Sing Hang Khean, Sok Muygech and Vicheth Damardi, 2012. Installation view at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre.


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Top: Dreams for our city by Urban Lab Interns, paper, pen, fishing line and clips (detail), 2012. Bottom: “Premade screens� produced by Dr Tan Beng Kiang and the students at the National University of Singapore, 2012. Installation view at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre.


Top: Wat Phnom the City Roundabout, an architectural model by Heng HokChhay, Huon Molyvann, Ou Sros, Prague Naro, Roeun Virak and So Sopha, 2012. Installation view at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre. Bottom: Bus Stop, designed by Van Nita and Lorenzo Martini, live plants, pots, wood and mirror, 2012. Installation view at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre.


78| urban interventions

Urban lab Interns, Shelby E. Doyle and Collective Studio

Urban Interventions aims to improve urban space in Phnom Penh. The work is a collection of images and text by students of The Urban Lab. Installed as ‘advertisements’ on tuk-tuks, they are interventions into the urban realm, as ‘food for thought,’ addressing potential scenarios for the future Phnom Penh.

From top left: “Join together for our city”, “What will happen to our future... if we love ourselves?”, “The city can be harmonious beginning with you”, “Thinking together...”, “We all need a green city”, “Don’t”



80| open doors/walking tour Heritage Mission

The Heritage Mission offers a free guided tour through the former ‘French/European Quarter’ of Phnom Penh. The tour follows the idea of OPEN DOORS, which has been realized over the past decades in many cities around the world to improve architectural knowledge and to promote urban heritage. In cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture

Top: Pho Sochivy, architect from the Heritage Mission, displays an early photograph of Wat Phnom on a guided tour, 2012. Bottom: Visitors explore a colonial building in disrepair in the French Quarter, 2012.



82| urban forum An evening dedicated to the lively exchange of ideas about Phnom Penh and its urban evolution. ‘In conversation’ talks with members of the arts and architecture community, short films and slideshows to provide a forum for reflection as a closing event for Our City Festival 2012.

Top: From left, John Shapiro (moderator), Anida Yoeu Ali, Yean Reaksmey and Amy Lee Sanford discussing topic Participatory Art Practice and Collaboration. Bottom: Yam Sokly responding to discussion on Land and Heritage. Meta House, 2012



84| youth ambassadors Our City Ambassadors are a team of 20 university students who act as festival guides at the events and work to engage their communities in the festival. They are mentored by Princess Soma Norodom and architect YAM Sokly throughout their internship.

“This is the first art and architecture program I have ever interned and it is really an eye-opening experience to see how we really can see our own city in a complete new way. I hope more young Cambodians can get more involve with us in the future to promote our city culture.” > Sokunthea Hang “Create a fantastic thing for the city and to build up our city together.” > Ratha Tieng “Our City Festival is a great platform, and a great vehicle for introducing the charming faces of Cambodian cities to the world.” > Bill Jeer “I feel very good about my project, and I think I am playing a very important role as Youth Ambassador Intern for the artists.” > Bora Ro “Being an intern of the Our City Festival, is like a dream for me, because I’ve never been involve with something big like this and there are many things that I’m sure I will learn from this internship.” > David Tan “I learn, I live, and I like Our City Festival!!!” > Kulthida Natewacharachai “Our City is Our life” > Hor Dararoat “I am really proud to be in the internship program for Our City Festival. I am Cambodian, and I have a chance to get experience in this program. We have the opportunity to share the knowledge and get knowledge about our country, and our city.” > Chamrong Teav “I love this internship so much because it gives me an opportunity to help Society (City), also teach and improve my knowledge too.” > Seng Kimheng “Art is the medicine for making us feel fresh.” > Chea Kimchhai

Top: Princess Soma Norodom (middle) with Youth Ambassadors (complete list p. 97). Bottom: Chhum Ratha (right) talking to visitors at the opening of The Black Wood, 2012.


83


86| participants: individuals and institutions in alphabetical order

Aedes

The Architecture Forum Aedes has become one of the most successful institutions internationally for communicating architectural culture, urban design and similar topics. Aedes is associated world-wide with the great names of the architectural avant-garde and offers an excellent platform for new generations of architects in a global context. With its continuous work, Aedes has evolved into a unique cultural brand which enjoys an outstanding reputation. Aedes strives to focus public attention on the cultures of building and architecture and to present and convey architectural visions, sustainable urban concepts, urban planning and landscape architecture. In more than 350 exhibitions and catalogues in the typical Aedes format, renowned architects and current Pritzker-Award winners such as Zaha Hadid, Thom Mayne, Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry or Rem Koolhaas presented their work long before acquiring world fame. In addition to 10 to 16 exhibitions per year, the dialogue with outside experts and an interested public is supported by simultaneous symposia, series of lectures and discussions. Aedes was founded in 1980 by Kristin Feireiss and Helga Retzer (†1984) in Berlin-Charlottenburg as the first private architecture gallery in Europe. In memoriam Kongresshalle Berlin was the title of the opening exhibition, which became a ground-breaking success.

Alnoor Dewshi

Film maker Alnoor studied Mathematics & Philosophy at Bristol University, gaining a first class degree. Since then he has worked in television, written and directed films. He has a track record of innovative award winning films: Pushing , a unique film collaboration for BBC Radio 4 and Film London. 77 Beds (made for Carlton TV) premiered at the London Film Festival and features Ben Whishaw. Jomeo&Ruliet won prizes for Best Short Film at Edinburgh International Film Festival and Bristol’s Brief Encounters among many others.

Amy Lee Sanford

Artist Amy Lee Sanford is a Cambodian-American visual artist working in two or three dimensional media, and performance. Her work frequently addresses the evolution of emotional stagnation, and the lasting psychological effects of war, including aspects of guilt, loss, alienation, and displacement. She was born in Cambodia during the Lon Nol government, and was sent to live in the United States just before the Khmer Rouge took over the country. She grew up in the North-eastern United States. At Brown University, Amy studied art, science, and engineering. She furthered her ceramic studies at The Rhode Island School of Design, University of Massachusetts/ Dartmouth and Harvard University. She started up an artisan company, where she designed and fabricated handmade, porcelain tiles and mosaics for residential and commercial interiors. Currently, Amy is working full-time on her conceptual art.

Anida Yoeu Ali

Artist Performance artist, writer and global agitator, Anida Yoeu Ali’s installation and performance works investigate the artistic, spiritual and political collisions of a hybrid transnational identity. She is a collaborative partner with Studio Revolt, an independent artist run collaborative media lab in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where she currently resides.


Anna Katharina Scheidegger

Collective Studio

Film maker /Photographer Anna Katharina Scheidegger was born in Switzerland in 1976. Her films and photographs depict urban phenomena, architectural signs, the link between architecture, power and society and images of past and future. Around this theme, Anna Katharina works in film photography, video and film, affirming the primacy of documentary that she is always redefining and clarifying. Modalities of expression, organization and development of her work, the relationship between still image and moving images is each time redefined by the topic.

Architecture Collaborative Collective Studio is an architectural design studio based in Phnom Penh whose work consists of envisioning solutions for the built environment for private or public clients, for commercial or social projects. www.collectivestudio.cc

Battambang Bike, The No. 60 Street 2.5, Battambang http://thebattambangbike.com/ The Battambang Bike offers bike rentals, ARTchitectural Tours and custom tours in Battambang.

Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre No.64 Street 200, Phnom Penh www.bophana.org Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre collects and safeguards audiovisual documents about Cambodia (films, documentaries, TV and radio broadcasts, photographs, sound recordings). The public has free access to the documents and cultural events such as exhibitions and film screenings. The centre produces films and provides services in audiovisual sector, sound studio and mobile screening. Its aim is to encourage the new generation to voice their ideas and to build a future based on intergenerational reconciliation and creativity.

Cambodian Mekong University No.9B Street 271, Phnom Penh www.mekong.edu.kh/ Cambodian Mekong University was established to accommodate the needs of its students in preparation for their successful future career. We take special pride in giving assurance in providing quality education using international standards.

Chea Phal Photographer Chea Phal is a photographer and one of the founding members and practitioners of Urb-ex (urban exploration) in Cambodia, which examines normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities. www.cheaphal.com

Chov Theanly Artist Chov Theanly is a photorealistic painter and installation artist who takes inspiration from Cambodian art in the 1950’s and 60’s. Theanly started to study painting in Battambang in 1999. In 2007, he settled in Phnom Penh but moved back to Battambang in 2012 to be part of Sammaki Gallery.

Crystal Patterson Photographer Crystal Patterson is a 26 year-old photographer from Western Australia. With a background in portraiture, Crystal was captivated by Phnom Penh after a brief visit in 2010. Eventually relocating here, Crystal’s passion is storytelling through images of a city abound in contradiction. Through her work Crystal seeks to capture images of people, love, hurt, oppression, joy, connection, destruction, hope and hopelessness. Crystal’s work has featured in several exhibitions, festivals, and magazines.

David “Jam” Ramjattan Founder, The Battambang Bike David “Jam” Ramjattan was born in Canada and spent several years roaming the planet between the West Indies, India and Canada before accidentally settling in Cambodia four years ago. During that time he taught Kindergarten at one of the best international schools in the country while founding pop up art venues and projects like Artdeli, Sammaki and Angkor Art Explo. He currently hordes his time in Battambang and founded a local bike tour company focusing on art, ARTchitechtural and history tours of downtown Battambang.

Eric Ellul Performance Artist Eric Ellul is a Cambodia-based performer and educator whose work encompasses performance, physical theatre and music or ‘body percussion’. Since 2005, he has been taking part in interdisciplinary performances with many collaborators for site-specific, theatre and dance venues in Bordeaux, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, San Francisco, South Korea and his motherland, Cambodia.

GIZ GIZ offers customised solutions to complex challenges. We are an experienced service provider and assist the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation. We offer demand-driven, tailor-made and effective services for sustainable development. www.giz.de

Heritage Mission Famous for the outstanding world heritage site of Angkor, Cambodia has also been endowed with major urban and religious heritages - sadly still mainly overlooked and virtually unknown. In order to remedy this situation, a bilateral project between Kingdom of Cambodia and the French Embassy in Phnom Penh led to the creation of the Heritage Mission in 2005. The Heritage Mission team focuses on the most threatened heritage, the non-Angkorian heritage including urban, vernacular and religious heritages.


88| Irina Chakraborty Ph.D.

Researcher and Program Manager, Wetlands Work! Ltd. Irina is interested in water quality and human health, with a focus on low-tech, sustainable treatment systems. She started out as a microbiologist, studying tree-friendly fungi and swamp-dwelling bacteria in Finland. In California, her dissertation in environmental engineering was on what happens when gasoline gets into groundwater. She worked with slow-growing, oxygen-hating microbes and even slower computer models. Irina joined Wetlands Work! in 2012 and, in the name of research, has braved the murky waters of Phnom Penh’s Lake Tom Pum on a paddle boat.

Institut Français Cambodge

No. 218 Street 184, Phnom Penh www.institutfrancais-cambodge.com The French Cultural Centre of Cambodia is a space for encounters and exchanges intended to promote French culture as well as new Khmer creation and to increasing the influence of francophone culture in all its diversity. All activities sponsored by the French Cultural Centre are part of a strategy of cooperation with local partners. Its intent is to continue to be an essential part of the cultural life of Cambodia and a show-window for French savoir-faire.

JavaArts

No.56 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh www.javaarts.org JavaArts is a cultural enterprise that was launched in partnership with Java Café & Gallery in the year 2000 in Phnom Penh, where it is currently based operating a gallery and arts lab. Supported by the café and gallery activities, JavaArts is a platform for the development of contemporary visual arts in Cambodia. It works to sustain arts practice for artists, researchers, curators and other creative practitioners and has provided a launching pad to many emerging artists who have since gone on to become prominent figures in the contemporary art world.

Khmer Arts Ensemble

Street 115, Takhmao, Phnom Penh www.khmerarts.org Khmer Arts Ensemble is an independent, professional dance company based at the Khmer Arts Theatre in Takhmao. It develops and performs the original choreography of Sophiline Cheam Shapiro as well as rarely seen dances from the classical canon and performs these works on major stages throughout the world.

Kim Hak

Photographer Born in Battambang, Kim Hak obtained a diploma in Tourism at the National Institute of Management. Hak’s work has been included in Photo Phnom Penh 2010, PHOTO QUAI Paris 2011, World Event Young Artists Nottingham 2012, Singapore International Photography Festival 2012, and International Multimedia Art Festival Yangon 2012. His portfolios have been published internationally in ‘Chine Plus Magazine’ (France), ‘Images Magazine’ (France), ‘Libération’ (France), ‘Ojo De Pez’ (Spain), ‘Internazionale’ (Italy), And online websites ‘La Lettre’ (France), ‘Invisible Photography Asia’ (Singapore). In 2011, Hak won international prizes included ‘Artistic Creation Project’ from Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.


Kong Vollak

Artist Kong Vollak graduated from the Royal University of Fine Arts in 2006, from the department of sculpture, and studied photography with Stephan Janin (Popil Photo Gallery) for a year. In the last few years, Vollak has participated in workshops and exchanges with artists from France, Poland and Japan as well exhibiting in Cambodia, Andorra, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In 2007, together with other artists of his generation, he formed the group “Stiev Selapak” (“Art Rebels”). In the same year, Vollak was nominated the Cambodian Curator for the Mekong Art and Culture Project. Two years later he became a teacher to share the knowledge of art-making and to support his own practice.

Lorenzo Martini

Interior Designer Lorenzo Martini, graduated in Italy in Interior Design, working in France, China and Cambodia. He is currently a lecturer at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Phnom Penh, and continues to work as an interior designer. http://cargocollective.com/lorenzomartini

Make Maek

No.66 St. 2.5, Battambang www.makemaek.org Make Maek Art Space is a cultural hybrid, deriving from the English word ‘make’ which means ‘to do’ or ‘to create,’ and the Khmer word ‘maek,’ for the sky. To ‘make the sky’ is to explore boundaries and to design one’s own world. The sky stretches over every part of the world, a universal character that inspires art and contemplation in many cultures. The vision of Make Maek Art Space is to connect Battambang internationally, bringing artists from abroad to exhibit and collaborate with local artists. We will host an international artist residency program to foster artistic relationships and catalyze creative processes. Working together to Make ideas, to Make art, and to Make the world.

Mao Soviet

Artist Mao Soviet graduated from Phare Ponleu Selpak’s Visual Arts Department in 2004 and began to work as a freelance graphic designer for individual businesses in Battambang. After seeing a need for the artist community to communicate on a professional level, he set out to start his own gallery, Make Maek, where local artists would be able to showcase their art alongside international artists with the hope of creating a more dynamic collaborative effort. Soviet has exhibited extensively in Cambodia, as well as abroad. www.makemaek.org

Meta House German Cambodian Cultural Center

No.37 Sothearos Boulevard, Phnom Penh www.meta-house.com Cambodia’s first media/art/communication center, META HOUSE was established in January 2007 in the capital Phnom Penh. German journalist/filmmaker Nico Mesterharm and his team aimed to contribute to the revival of the Cambodian art and film scene after decades of turmoil. In June 2010 the project makers opened a new facility: Meta House German Cambodian Cultural Center. Besides exhibitions and film screenings, Meta House also hosts dance, theatre and music events, as well as provides space for meaningful public events where NGOs are invited to conduct workshops and seminars.

Mith Samlanh

No.215 Street 13, Phnom Penh www.mithsamlanh.org Mith Samlanh is a program which works with marginalized children, young people and their families in Phnom Penh, supporting them to build their futures through access to education, training and employment. Together building futures for children, families and communities.”

Norton University

Keo Chenda Road, Khand Russey Keo, Phnom Penh http://norton-u.com/ Norton University is the oldest private university of Cambodia. It was established to complement the government in providing higher learning to a growing number of qualified people who are eager to advance their knowledge.

R. Taber Hand, Ph.D.

Director, Wetlands Work! Ltd. Taber is a lifetime student of water, encompassing watersheds and wetlands, estuaries, coastal and marine regions. His background includes defining ecological and economic regional interdependencies, and promoting science-based adaptive management of unique landscapes. In 2008, Taber started Wetlands Work! with the intent to design lowtech household wastewater treatment systems that would improve ambient water quality, whether in a floating village on a lake, or a school or small business on land. The ultimate goal of this social enterprise is to reduce incidence of water-borne childhood diseases acquired as a result of recreational or other contact with ambient water.

Romeet Gallery

No.34E Street 178, Phnom Penh www.romeet.com Romeet Gallery was founded by Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) in 2011 as a Phnom Penh platform for emerging and established alumni of the PPS’s Visual Art School in Battambang. Romeet is a dynamic space for contemporary art exhibitions, talks, workshops, local collaborations and international exchange.

Sopheap Pich

Artist Sopheap Pich was born in 1971 in Battambang, Cambodia and now lives and works in Phnom Penh. He studied at the University of Massachusetts and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). He is represented by the Tyler Rollins Fine Art Gallery in New York City and H Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand. Recently he has had a solo exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2011), and at Tyler Rollins. He participated in the Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan and Singapore Biennale (2011), Fukuoka Triennale (2009) and Asia-Pacific Triennial (2009). His work recently featured in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany.

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) is a Cambodian Urban NGO founded in 2005. STT’s vision is a society in which urban inhabitants enjoy adequate housing within a sustainably developing city. To achieve its vision, STT provides technical assistance for housing and infrastructure to the urban poor, and aims to inform dialogue and raise awareness about urban issues. www.teangtnaut.org


90| Shelby Elizabeth Doyle

Fulbright Scholar Shelby Elizabeth Doyle is a Fulbright Research Fellow based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her current research is entitled ‘City of Water: Architecture, Infrastructure, and the Floods of Phnom Penh’. The objective of this project is to record the architecture and urban conditions sustained by and subject to the cyclical floods of the city’s rivers. Shelby holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia.

Som Vannita

Architect Som Vannita, Architect, graduated in Architecture Studies at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. Vannita has been working at International design companies and as a freelance architect. She is currently a full-time lecturer at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Phnom Penh.

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro

Artistic Director, Khmer Arts Ensemble Khmer Arts Ensemble Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro is a choreographer, dancer, vocalist and educator whose innovative works have infused the venerable Cambodian classical form with new ideas and energy. She has set her choreography on Cambodia’s finest performing artists and toured it to four continents. Notable venues include Amsterdam’s Muziektheater, Berkeley’s Cal Performances, Cambodia’s Les Nuits d’Angkor Festival, Goethe Institute-Jakarta, Hanover’s Hopkins Center, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Los Angeles’ Disney Hall, New York’s Guggenheim Museum and Joyce Theater, Reunion Island’s Foire Internationale des Mascareignes, the Venice Biennale and Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace Theater.

Srey Bandaul

Artist Born in 1973 in Battambang, Cambodia, Srey Bandaul and his family were re-located to the refugee camps during the Khmer Rouge regime where they lived for 13 years. In the camps he acquired multiple language skills and a passion for art. In 1992, after the Paris Peace Agreement, he returned to his homeland and with his fellow artists decided to continue to make art and give others the chance to develop their own creativity, which led to the establishment of Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang (www.phareps.org), where Bandaul is currently a teacher.

Studio Revolt

Artist Collaborative Studio Revolt engages the world through media-based art, specifically through film, video, performance and public art projects. Based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the media lab serves as a collaborative space for performance artist Anida Yoeu Ali and filmmaker Masahiro Sugano. Since our launch in June 2011, we have become a prominent presence in the Phnom Penh arts scene. The studio has hosted a series of film screenings titled Night of Revolt, launched a participatory public art project called Gallery X and introduced Cambodians to a Neo-Realism style of filmmaking. Our short film, about deportations, My Asian Americana won the popular vote in the White House “What’s Your Story Video Challenge.” The studio is currently working on several projects including a documentary film on exiled Khmer American poet Kosal Khiev titled Cambodian Son. www.studio-revolt.com


Tim Robertson

Photographer Tim Robertson is a photographer who grew up near Washington D.C. He began making photographs when he was 15 years old and a box arrived from his great uncle containing an Olympus OM-2 camera. Tim spent several years photographing and recording the stories of American communities as a photographer and journalist for several daily newspapers. Most of his current work focuses on capturing the life of Phnom Penh’s streets through the plastic lenses of toy film cameras and experimenting with alternative photographic processes and methods of presenting his images. www.packinglightphotography.com

Topp & Dubio

Artist Collaborative Topp & Dubio is a multidisciplinary artist duo who live and work in The Hague, Netherlands and Kaliningrad, Russia. In their video works they often deal with the personal and the public, observation and participation, the romance of imagination and the absurdity of reality.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

38 Samdech Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh www.unesco.org/new/en/phnompenh UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities.

Wetlands Work! Ltd.

Wetlands Work! Ltd. is a socio-entrepreneurial organization that develops terrestrial and aquatic wastewater treatment systems which harness the beneficial microbial activity on roots of floating wetland plants. We also promote awareness of the value of natural wetlands as public infrastructure and valuable, biodiverse ecosystems. To be successful in Cambodia and elsewhere, our designs are efficient and sustainable, economical and easy to produce with locally available materials, readily adopted by users, and require minimal or no maintenance or energy and chemical inputs. WW! is currently supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and test wastewater treatment systems for floating communities in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap and Burma’s Lake Inle. www.wetlandswork.org

Other spaces provided for the festival Baitong Restaurant

No. 7 Street 360, Phnom Penh www.facebook.com/baitong.restaurant “Baitong” is the Khmer word for “Green.” We serve high quality, healthy Asian food in a relaxing, natural and modern environment. We use the finest fresh and organic ingredients, offer friendly and efficient service, and embrace the local community.

Cambodia Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries No. 186 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh

No Problem Park/City Star No. 55 Street 178, Phnom Penh

The Plantation Urban Resort and Spa

No. 28 Street 184, Phnom Penh www.theplantation.asia Located behind the Royal Palace in the historical center of Phnom Penh, the newly opened Plantation resort & spa offers all of the services you’d expect of a quality resort... right in the center of the city. Spread over half a hectare, the Plantation hosts 70 rooms, two swimming pools, a restaurant, two bars, a gym, a meeting room and even a luxurious rooftop suite. And of course, all this is located at a two minute walk from the some of the “must see” places in Phnom Penh.


92| event sites and venues


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#64 St. 200, Phnom Penh Open Everyday 8am – 6pm +855(0)23.99.21.74 www.bophana.org

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#38 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh Exhibition open everyday 9am - 5pm Visitors must provide an ID and submit to a security check before entering

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#7 St. 360, Phnom Penh Open every day 7am - 8pm +855 (0)23 630 3005 www.facebook.com/baitong. restaurant

#28 St.184, Phnom Penh Open everyday +855(0) 23 21 51 51 www.theplantation.asia

KHMER ARTS THEATER

META HOUSE

#37 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh Open Tues - Sun 10am/Gallery, 6pm/upstairs closed Mon T+855 (0)23 224 140 I www.meta-house.com

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#215 St.13, Phnom Penh Office open Mon-Fri 8am - 5pm info@mithsamlanh.org www.mithsamlanh.org

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#55 St.178, Phnom Penh Open everyday, 10am - 6pm

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NORTON UNIVERSITY

Lobby Hall Keo Chenda road, Sangkat Chroy Changva, Khand Russey Keo

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Student working area (Architectural and Urban planning administrative office) #9B, Street 271 Exhibitions open 8am – 7pm everyday

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94| our city festival 2012 team


Founding Director and Producer: Dana Langlois Assistant Producer: La Sros Education and Outreach Team: Yam Sokly, Yean Reaksmey and HRH Soma Serei Norodom Festival Ambassador: HRH Soma Serei Norodom Arts Curator: Natalie Pace Architecture Curator: Stefanie Irmer Urban Lab Curator: Shelby Elizabeth Doyle Photographer: Vinh Dao Communications support: Claire Wilcock Program support: Hannah Stevens Installation support: Studio Revolt

Dana Langlois

Founding Director With a background in visual arts Dana Langlois has focused on contemporary Cambodian art for more than a decade. She curates solo shows of emerging artists and collaborates with other arts practitioners to produce exhibitions and projects. Her particular areas of interest include arts infrastructure and ecosystems, public art, participatory art and experimental practices. She is involved in research and documentation of contemporary arts practices in Cambodia and being based in Phnom Penh since 1998, is one of the most active and long-standing practitioners in this field. Langlois founded JavaArts (2000), Sala Artspace, an experimental gallery and studio (2006-7) and Our City Festival (2008).

Education and Outreach Team Yam Sokly Yean Reaksmey HRH Soma Serei Norodom

Yam Sokly

Architect Yam Sokly is a Cambodian architect. Since 2010 he has worked for the Heritage Mission (Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts) and successfully completed the one-year training course for young professionals in heritage conservation and town planning. He is co-founder of Manolis House and Space for Architecture, focusing on educational and research projects to promote Cambodia’s urban heritage and sustainable architecture. Sokly has also contributed significantly to the Architecture and Urban Lab programming of the festival.

Yean Reaksmey

Artist and Arts Advocate Yean Reaksmey is a performance artist and advocate for freedom of expression. He graduated from Phare Ponleu Selpak (an art school based in Battambang, second largest city in the country). He formed the association Trotchaek Pneik (“Cold Eye”) with the vision: “Being connected and gathered together with solidarity and peacefulness between youths and youths to transform Battambang as a unique multi-disciplinary (arts) center and zone in Cambodia.” Reaksmey supports art as a vehicle for social change. Over the years he has been involved in several projects from the first university radio show, to film productions and the Cambodian Youth Arts Festival.

HRH Soma Serei Norodom

Festival Ambassador HRH Soma Serei Norodom was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1969. In April 1975, Soma and her family arrived in the U.S. and resided in Long Beach, California. Soma holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Telecommunications, with an emphasis in News and Public Affairs (1993) and has completed the Master’s Program in Mass Communication. After returning to Cambodian in 2010 she established the PUC Radio Talk Show at Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) the first university, English-speaking, radio talk show in the country, focusing on life stories of successful people in Cambodia and issues affecting the country. She is currently working as a news columnist and in film production and sociallyengaged TV programming.

Curatorial Team Natalie Pace Stefanie Irmer Shelby Elizabeth Doyle

Natalie Pace

Arts Curator Originally from England, she has been based in Phnom Penh since 2010, working with JavaArts and independently. With a tendency for collaboration, she is interested in exploring tools and models that work towards a widening of engagement with art, and how these processes can interact with context-specific issues. She recently completed her Master’s thesis which examines the intersections between contemporary art and urbanism in Phnom Penh, focusing on public and participatory art. Alongside Kate O’ Hara, she co-founded art collaborative ArtXProjects.

Stefanie Irmer

Architecture Curator Stefanie Irmer, originally from Germany, has a background in Political Science and is an active force in the field of architecture in Cambodia. She organizes public lectures and exhibitions, initiates and supports research and documentation, PR and CI development— creating a platform for and supporting the emergence of a new generation of architects. Stefanie is the Director of Khmer Architecture Tours and the co-founder and Project Coordinator of Space for Architecture, focusing on educational and research projects to promote Cambodia’s urban heritage and sustainable architecture. She is also co-founder of Manolis House, the Cambodian urban heritage and architecture network.

Shelby Elizabeth Doyle

Urban Lab Curator Shelby Elizabeth Doyle is a Fulbright Research Fellow based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her current research is entitled City of Water: Architecture, Infrastructure, and the Floods of Phnom Penh. This research aims to document the relationship between water, architecture and infrastructure in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The objective of this project is to record the architecture and urban conditions sustained by and subject to the cyclical floods of the city’s rivers. Shelby holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia.


96| acknowledgements


Our City Festival is built on collaborative and participatory processes and is thanks to the support and contributions of many individuals, institutions and companies. We would like to thank and acknowledge: Participants

Alnoor Dewshi, Amy Lee Sanford, Anne Lemaistre, Anna Katharina Scheidegger, Anida Yoeu Ali/Studio Revolt, Chan Muyhong, Chan Pisey, Chea Phal, Chov Theanly, Crystal Patterson, David “Jam” Ramjattan, Eric Ellul, Eva Lloyd, Giacomo Butte, Irina Chakraborty, Kim Hak, Kong Vollak, Kosal Khiev, Long Reaksmei, Lorenzo Martini, Mao Soviet, Neak Ralf Synmann, Sophal, Sao Sopheak, Seng Manoriddh, Shelby E. Doyle, Som Van Nita, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Sopheap Pich, Srey Bandaul, Taber Hand, Tim Page, Tim Robertson, Tes Vanna, Topp & Dubio and Yean Reaksmey. 31 Urban Lab Interns: Born Ksatryanialysa, David Tan, Ek Sochetha, Em Thavrak, Em Thavry, Hang Seangheng, Heng HokChhay, Heng Ratha, Hong Chandara, Huon Molyvann, Khuth Mengly, Long Ly Nam, Nou Muniroth, Ou Sros, Piranuch Thoeu, Prague Naro, Rin Nun, Roeun Virak, Ros Roeum, San SovannDara,Seng Yden,Sith sophanna,So Sopha, So Vitou, Soeun Vathanak, Sothynavith Lim, Tauch Sokrath, Thay Chivin, Thlang Chhai Rath, Trang Ailinh and Vuth Danin. 18 Youth Ambassadors: Chea Kimchhai, Chea Sokhy, Chhum Ratha, Hak Kunthea, Hang Sokunthea, Hor Dararoat, Kulnapa Pumithanes, Kulthida Natewacharachai, Lay Sreypouch, Orn Phirak ,Phan Penhbo, Ro Bora, Sea Raksmey, Sor Vicheth, Tan David, Teav Chamrong, Tieng Ratha and Vuth Danin. Students from Mith Samlanh

Participating organizations/institutions

AEDES (Berlin), Battambang Bike, Bophana AudioVisual Resource Centre, Cambodia Mekong University, Collective Studio, Heritage Mission, GIZ, Institut Français Cambodge, Khmer Architecture Tours, JavaArts, Khmer Arts Ensemble, Make Maek Gallery, Manolis House, Meta House: Cambodian German Cultural Center, Mith Samlanh, Norton University, On Photography Cambodia, Prospero Films, Romeet Gallery, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), Studio Revolt and Wetlands Work!

Our City Festival 2012 Team

Founding Director and Producer: Dana Langlois Assistant Producer: La Sros Education and Outreach Team: Yam Sokly, Yean Reaksmey and HRH Soma Serei Norodom Festival Ambassador: HRH Soma Serei Norodom Arts Curator: Natalie Pace Architecture Curator: Stefanie Irmer Urban Lab Curator: Shelby Elizabeth Doyle Photographer: Vinh Dao Communications support: Claire Wilcock Program support: Hannah Stevens Installation support: Studio Revolt

Finally, we owe our gratitude to our supporters and sponsors

ANZ Royal, the main sponsor, with project and festival support from: City Star, GIZ, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Melon Rouge, UNESCO and festival participants. With additional support from: Baitong Restaurant, Frangipani Hotels, Java Café & Gallery, Kingdom Beer, Southeast Asia Globe, The Advisor, The Plantation and Van Cleve Fine Arts. The repeated motif of the Mekong Flux in all the visual communications has been contributed by Shelby E. Doyle from her research work: City of Water Contributions to the design and layout by Clarisa Diaz (Places for All) and Melon Rouge All photos by Vinh Dao except where indicated All rights reserved © Our City Festival 2012


www.ourcityfestival.org