Saving the White Building: storytelling and the production of space

Potter, Martin, and Louth, Jonathon (2015) Saving the White Building: storytelling and the production of space. In: [Presented at the Inaugural Conference for the IABA Asia-Pacific Chapter]. pp. 1-29. From: Inaugural Conference for the IABA Asia-Pacific Chapter: Locating Lives, 1-3 December 2015, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

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Abstract

The White Building is an apartment complex in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was built in 1963 as a keystone of the Sihanouk governments' urban social housing scheme. After the fall of Khmer Rouge in 1979, the few surviving artists were called to live in The White Building due to its proximity to the National Theatre in order to re-build Khmer culture (the National Theatre has since been demolished). After decades of no maintenance and ongoing restructuring of the exterior, the White Building is in poor condition. However, behind the fading facade and dilapidated infrastructure there lives a complex community of over three thousand people including artists, musicians, community activists and everyday city dwellers. This paper explores the role of recent projects to document the everyday lives of the Building's inhabitants as both a means of resistance and to enable critical reflexivity among participants. Through the development of a number of initiatives across a variety of mediums and media platforms including the very successful Humans of Phnom Penh series, whitebuilding.org and the Sa Sa Art Projects artists' collective based in the building there is 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. By utilising a Lefebvrian analysis we argue, first, that the dominant discursive acts of the more powerful can be challenged through the expression of the 'lived' and the elevation of everyday life. And, second, we argue that the very perception of the space and the sense of place is (re)produced through these interactions across these new and diverse mediascapes.

Item ID: 46064
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: geomedia; media for development; Cambodia; Cambodian art; Cambodian film; online documentary; everyday activism; everyday life; autobiography; spatial practice; participatory media; participatory art
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Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 23:31
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190205 Interactive Media @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl Planning) @ 20%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200103 International and Development Communication @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media @ 30%
89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8904 Media Services > 890403 Internet Broadcasting @ 20%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 50%
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