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Eve Watling
Eve Watling: arts magazine editor

My Phnom Penh: Eve Watling

Eve Watling is the founding editor of MILK magazine, which published its second edition this month. We chatted with the 25-year-old Brighton native about the things that inspired her to stick around the Kingdom and establish its newest arts and entertainment publication.

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Art space
Definitely Sa Sa Bassac. They have a space in the White Building, but they also have a gallery space near the riverside [#8E2, Sothearos Boulevard]. I think they’re just great, because the Phnom Penh art scene is really small and it’s mostly based around cafe galleries that are informal in how they curate things. But Sa Sa is really trying to push it to a more international level, and they have a lot more interesting concepts, curatorial concepts, and they do a lot of things around the shows, roundtable discussions and symposiums and stuff like that. The people that run it are very switched on and serious about it – it’s not just: “Oh, I have a cafe – let’s put up some pictures.” It’s actually very hard to say who’s my favourite artist, because there’s a lot. But Khvay Samnang [pictured] is really good. He’s the photographer who does the series of photos of sand and water buckets over his head. He’s great because he makes really powerful images – there’s kind of protest art, but it’s a lot less one dimensional than that. You can sort of feel the abjectness: he’s putting his body through so much s—t, and he’s really expressing what’s actually happening to the landscape, which is very nice. It’s quite powerful.

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Cinema
The Lux Cinema [#44 Norodom Boulevard] is great. Me and my friend went the other day. While we were driving past, we just saw the poster in Thai of this demonic baby’s head and this coffin with a mouth, and a guy riding a zebra and we thought: We have to go to watch this film. It was divided into stories, and the first story was about this haunted GPS that was driving the wrong way and stuff like that. It was a Thai movie dubbed in Khmer, so we could kind of get what was going on – this GPS was f—ing with people and that story ended, and then there was another weird story.

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Neighborhood
So far, BKK1 wins. I first moved to Tuol Kork, which is really boring. I also lived on [Street] 240 for a while, which was nice, but kind of too nice, and our house was broken into constantly. I had like 10 bikes stolen from that house. Now I live in BKK1, which has more variety. It does have this reputation for being very fancy though, and sometimes I catch myself being a total BKK bitch – “I’m going to go to Brown’s and then I’m going to do yoga.”

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Places to buy used clothes
Definitely Japanese recycled stores – Toto and Sakura are really great. The [Cambodian] markets are also really great. At Psar Kandal, they just pile the clothes into huge mounds, and everything is 2,000 riel. It’s kind of a mission to look through everything, but every once in a while you’ll get some really good stuff. But that’s for the really hardcore clothes hunters. The recycled stores are a little bit easier, because everything is on racks, but it’s a little more expensive. At Colour Vintage [#168 Street 13] you really don’t need to hunt very much because they’ve picked everything nice out for you.

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Local film
Probably a film from the 1970s called Snake Girl – it’s got Dy Saveth in it. It’s basically the story of a little girl who is half-snake, half-human. Instead of hair, she has snakes like Medusa. It’s just a really cool movie, really imaginative. I interviewed Dy Saveth, and she said they were real snakes in her hair and they kept biting her face. Everyone was telling me I had to watch 1970s films, it was like a duty for me, and is very entertaining, very funny. You can see it at Bophana, and it’s on YouTube as well.

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