Bassac Project

Bassac Project

A visit to the new Cambodian Living Arts house today, near the National Assembly.
It’s the first time I’ve seen the new house, which will help with the transition as the Tonle Bassac community’s many artists move out to an uncertain future.

Cambodian Living Arts has a team doing a documentation projectPrach Ly, Silong Chhun, Thy Pech and Sharon May. Sharon’s big on Cambodian literature and we’ve been talking about contemporary writers and organizations.

Prach & crew are doing lots of interviews and end up getting some impromptu comments from me as well – about living in Cambodia, comics , the land boom (bubble?), and my perspective on the Bassac evictions. I try to contextualize things as best I can, it’s a complicated situation.

Prach asks if I think freedom of speech exists in Cambodia. I blurt out “Free speech is a natural condition, it exists everywhere. It’s like gravity. It’s just that there may be consequences if you speak freely.”

The truth is that we’re always free to talk. It’s just that you may recieve strong reactions or threats as a result. There are always going to be people who are afraid of open discussion, which I’ve seen in reactions to my comics and weblog. And there are of course, different interpretations of what is an objective ‘fact’.

A good day. It was great to sink my teeth into issues about art, and the conditions under which we create. Too often I’m working ‘near by’ art, but not directly doing art or talking about it.


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