Creative-Phnom-Penh-Explainer

Breakfast in Cambodia by  Dipika Kohli (Kismuth Books / 2016). DK is now writing a guide to the arts scene in Phnom Penh (forthcoming, April 2020).

It took me six years to get into flow. (I didn’t want to pretend like I knew something about Cambodia since I’m not from here, so I just wrote something else, in 2016: Breakfast in Cambodia. That was a book I felt I could write, because it was first-person, an account based on personal reporting and observation, and there I was, just me, writing about my own experience.)

Specifically, I wrote my heart into a 99-page eBook. It was my fifth book. It was about what it’s like to arrive in a place, and find your own identity in a swirl of mixtures that render the term ‘identity’ obtuse. I know. A lot of wordy-words. I’m changing it lately and writing more accessibly. Over here and here, for example. I’m still making my salons and workshops, too, but they look more scruffy than you might image, and the showcase of my favorites is here.

I’ve been taking pictures around Phnom Penh…

And I’ve been dreaming about a way to compactify ‘what I feel when I think about the arts here’ into a guide. A pocket guide, of sorts. Yes.

Now then.

I want to talk about Phnom Penh, specifically the spaces that are creative (according to me) and doing things that I think are provocative and intriguing (according to me). I did this once in Ireland, a set of gathered stories around the theme, Creative West Cork. I still remember that special-issue we had put together for the paper I was with, at that time, which was called the West Cork Advertiser. What a beautiful result of so much query, reaching-out, and learning.

Now I’ll create a guidebook, Creative Phnom Penh [working title] for Phnom Penh. I have allocated a set of fixed time for this, so here we go. Getting started by reaching out, little by little. I have been in journalism, photography, and I’ve written 50+ issues now of S P A C E. So I’ve got some practice. And the subjects that I pursue: design and discovery.

So let me discover now, the design, that I so love, here in Phnom Penh. 😉

WHOM TO PROFILE. Six years is a while. I’ve heard things, seen things. Watched people come and go. I’ve been snubbed, I’ve been welcomed, and everything in between. Those things are not part of the story. What is part of the story is the honest reporting, reviewing what I have seen to be immensely curious. People all around the world—jewellery makers, woodworkers, painters, illustrators, type designers, fascinating theater playmakers, you name it– that I’ve met on my travels in N. Europe and Central Europe over these last two years for Atelier S P A C E ask me why Cambodia? Why do I live here? So many visual reasons could do wonders to explain it to them, and this is part of why I plan to finish writing this guide. I can tell them. I can take. pictures. And share. And give it a nice review, if I feel like it. What I want to do is throw a light on that which I have found here by personally just existing and going around and learning, by mostly bicycle, and popping around to ‘things.’ Things that worked, for me, are rounded up in a list I’m going to be adding to over the coming weeks, as we build out our directory of Creative Phnom Penh.

No ads. No sponsors. No BS.

 

Writing the things I see, as I see them

This is just me, writing what I feel is good, about here. I do not accept ‘gifts’ and I do not expect anything in return for any listings, either. It’s a community space for people who, like me, are looking for something that they can feel great about supporting. Not just those things that are happening because someone somewhere thought it would be a ‘good idea for Cambodia.’ If you catch my drift.

Here we go.

This week, I’m going to start with a set of interviews with architects, designers, and software developers. I will share some Q&A interviews through our e-mag, S P A C E, when we get to them in April.

For now, a quick go at this. See something missing? You’ll need to fill out the contact form here to let us know what you think we should include. We reserve the right to deny requests for listing. We have our own criteria, not something that we need to put here in public, because, guess what? No one is funding this, and we don’t have to answer to them. Amazingly, we can just write what we feel is good. That is the point, anyway, of all that we are making here at DK. Ever since the start it was like this, so yeah.