Participatory Media as Spatial Resistance in The White Building, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Martin Potter
over 2 years ago

The White Building project is a multi-year participatory transmedia project using art as a mechanism for community building and organising in the White Building in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The White Building in central Phnom Penh was built in 1963 as part of a modernist vision of social housing for artists and performers. Following the trauma of the Khmer Rouge, where the city was emptied and an estimated ninety percent of Cambodia’s artists were killed, the intervening Vietnamese-backed government sought to repopulate the building with an invitation to surviving artists to return. In recent years, largely due to government neglect, the building has fallen into disrepair and was demolished in June 2017.
However, behind the fading facade and dilapidated infrastructure there was a complex community of over three thousand people including artists, musicians, community activists and everyday city dwellers. This research archives and explores the role of recent media, art and creative community projects to document the everyday lives of the Building's inhabitants as both a means of resistance and to enable critical reflexivity among participants. The key question posed at the outset of development of the programs was “can localised creative art and media programs amplify the lived experience of a community and positively impact internal and external perception, identification and position.”
Through the development of a number of initiatives across a variety of mediums and media platforms – including the Humans of Phnom Penh series, and the Sa Sa Art Projects artists' collective based in the building – there was a desire to not only celebrate and document the living memory of this unique community, but to push back against government and property developers' interest in the site. The research documents how the dominant discursive acts of the more powerful can be challenged through the expression of the 'lived' and the elevation of everyday life. And that the very perception of the space and the sense of place was (re)produced through these interactions across these new and diverse mediascapes resulting in increased collective identification and action.

Esther Sadek
over 2 years ago

Love this project!

Lucy Mac
over 2 years ago

Terrific. Can’t wait to see more!

Kathryn Ferguson
over 2 years ago

Great project - a powerful way to give voice to this community.

Jonathon Louth
over 2 years ago

A truly amazing project that intersects in a very real way with the everyday lives of this community.

Ryan Daniel
over 2 years ago

Fabulous, engaging project showing true engagement with communities. Looking forward to learning more!

David Phang
over 2 years ago

Awesome project!

Rosita Henry
over 2 years ago

Brilliant!; the world needs more projects like this - genuine and meaningful community engaged research that makes a real difference in people's lives!

Kylie Davis
over 2 years ago

Impressive :)

Hilary Francis
over 2 years ago

This looks really interesting. Beautiful to see creativity supported within this community.

Mathew Currie
over 2 years ago

Love your work Martin!

Vicki Salisbury
over 2 years ago

You passion and integrity shines through this project. Well done and thank you for contributing to the greater good.

Maddie Vaughan
over 2 years ago

Really inspiring Martin, great work.

sam parisi
over 2 years ago

Wow, what a great initiative. I want to know what's next for this community...

Amy Bishop
over 2 years ago

So great to see the interest and engagement with the community continuing beyond the physical space that brought them together ceasing to be. I can't wait to hear more and see how losing it's embedded community space has changed the area and the community identity.

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about 2 years ago

More Potter magic!

Marie Oelgemoeller
about 2 years ago

Brilliant project, Martin!

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Martin Potter is Lecturer in Creative Arts and Media at James Cook University and a multi-award winning creative director and producer of transmedia and media for development projects. Martin h...

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