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Phnom Penh || S P A C E
28 September, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 30 September, 2017 @ 5:00 pm ICT$28
WHEN DESIGN KOMPANY landed in Phnom Penh in March 2014, something incredibly magical took hold of me. I still remember the photo: I’m on a tuk-tuk, looking out at what was the Independence Monument, though I didn’t know it at the time. We’re rounding the circle, I’m staring. I’ve got one hand clutching the open-air tuk-tuk’s column, it’s like a movie, or a dream. After trying to put the experience of being here into words (my best shot, in Breakfast in Cambodia), I want to share with you the pictures and drawings of the aesthetic that moved me so much, in that first week, that I pressed for our team to stay here for a while. A flat to let. That turned into one year, then two, then three. It’s now almost been four years, and it’s time for me to look for the next place.
But before I go, this is the last dance. ‘Phnom Penh || S P A C E’ is the chapbook, a visual summary of some my finds when exploring the aesthetic of Cambodia. I didn’t train fully in art and design, I was an engineering major, and I spent my time abroad in Kyoto. But coming to Cambodia made me question this. Why wasn’t Phnom Penh an option when it came to where to study art, design, the ornament, ritual, symmetry, these kinds of things? When we were students, it was all about Florence. New York. London, Tokyo. But now, you can go anywhere. You can study anything. This was my self-designed independent study. I had no idea it would last more than three years.
What is Beauty? Who gets to decide? Here, in this place, it’s quite miraculous; never taught to us in art schools, but of a quality and temperament that only by being here, in situ, for a time, and absorbing, can you really feel. It’s not easy to articulate, but the pictures, I hope, and the drawings, will tell this story to the world, from the perspective of Atelier S P A C E. Can you dig it?
Free digital copy for those who join S P A C E in September.
What’s an ‘atelier?’
Design Kompany is hosting popup zinemaking ateliers. Before fancy academic schools for art and design came along, there were ateliers. An atelier is ‘a workshop or studio used by an artist or designer.’ These are places where you can meet new and different *others* to connection remarkable ways.
ATELIERS, APPRENTICESHIPS & ARTMAKING. Encouraging hands-on learning by doing, the hosts attended to the inner strengths of each participant. Apprentices came. Artworks were made and sold. We imagine artmaking was less commodity-focused (watch the film Posthumous, for a great comment on this) and more about the experience. And for those seeking training, it wasn’t about, one might guess, the expensive tuition fees that come with ho-hum professors (jaded people who’ve forgotten the meaning of their occupation—here I recommend Art School Confidential). Perhaps it was about the magic, if I let myself be uncool and optimistic, of Art. What it can do. How it connects us, across time, and distance. Let’s *make* something. Let’s play?