AT the Institut Francais du Cambodge, (formerly the French Cultural Centre), five artists are attempting to tackle the big-money question: what does the future hold for Phnom Penh?
At Phnom Penh 2058, which runs until October 1, Théo Vallier, Dominique Tardy, Ian White, Peap Tarr and Meng Syporn use a combination of paintings, photographs and video to explore what the city will be like in the year 2058.
Why 2058? “It’s just sounds good,” says organiser Théo Vallier, a 31-year-old former graffiti artist who has lived in the Penh for four years.
And while there are sadly no flying cars in view, the artwork in the exhibition is extremely diverse. Dominating the main room is a huge black and white picture of central market with skyscrapers inserted into the background, created by Dominique Tardy, while next to it is Ian White’s Return to Zero – a painted black rectangle with a white ghostly face in the corner.
Olivier Planchon, “attaché cultural” at the Institut Français, said that he believes the essence and architecture of the city will survive the oncoming decades.
“In my opinion, the singularity of the city will stay, because of the notion of 19th and 20th century heritage awareness.”
Peap Tarr, on the other hand, thinks that changing the face of Phnom Penh would be a positive step. “I think it’s cool that there is a more modern style in Phnom Penh. Even if it’s not ‘Cambodian’, at least it’s happening in Cambodia.”