Cambodian SpaceScapes

My first video pieces

SpaceScapes set out to fill the contradictory environments of Phnom Penh, Cambodia with movement. By moving, we hoped to better grasp these contradictions. Dancer Nget Rady and I picked four public and private locations throughout the city (two shown here) and developed ideas about framing, and movement by having conversations about how we each experienced the space in our daily lives and as artists.

Spatial disruptions in Phnom Penh included compromised buildings, broken floors, arbitrarily numbered streets, and property conflicts. Outside of the city, you ran into the constant threat of countryside landmines, or the ongoing border disputes with neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. Very few spaces were available for 'contemporary dance'. Contemporary dance often requires the freedom to slide and roll, and assumes unbroken floor space. Traditional Cambodian dance, in contrast, places feet directly on the ground and features standing poses, gestures, and acrobatics that can be performed on virtually any surface.

On the first day, we went to the Secondary School for the Arts. When Rady was a student, the government relocated the campus from the center to the outskirts of the city, on a property that often flooded and whose distance made it increasingly difficult for teachers and students to attend class. Rady went through the stretches and exercises that formed the foundation of his traditional technique, which he repeated every morning throughout his training.

On the second day, we went to the Olympic Stadium in the center of Phnom Penh. The Stadium was built for an Olympics that never took place - yet survived decades of war to remain one of the only open, public spaces for exercises in the city.