"Neak Ta" is a contemporary arts project, based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Designed and conceived by Incidental (see our profile), the project will work with young Cambodian artists to:
1. Develop skills in community arts in Phnom Penh, and mentor Cambodian artists as they design and realise their own participatory art projects.
2. Develop new forms of music that combine traditional Cambodian instruments with electronic music and resampling techniques.
The project will culminate in live music performances and a series of art events held on the streets of Phnom Penh.
All materials and equipment purchased using Kickstarter funds will be left in Cambodia for ongoing use by the Cambodian musicians and artists working on the project. Backers will also recieve limited edition CD compilations from the shows, photographic prints, etc ...
PLEASE NOTE - EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE NOW REACHED OUR GOAL, ADDITIONAL FUNDING WILL STILL BE INVALUABLE IN PURCHASING EQUIPMENT (and rewards will still be available) so please do contribute.
During the four years of the Khmer Rouge's rule, Cambodian society was decimated in brutal genocide. Cambodian culture and arts were one victim amongst many during this brutal period - with the wholesale elimination of teachers, writers, artists and Cambodia's intellectual elite. In four years, the cultural and artistic traditions of the country were almost completely obliterated.
20 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the legacy of these events in contemporary Cambodia remains powerful and complex. In the cultural sector, the limited resources that are available for the arts are almost entirely directed towards the recovery of endangered traditional artforms - dance, sculpture and classical music. Whilst these endeavours are clearly vitally important, it also means that there are very few opportunities to explore connections between traditional culture and more experimental approaches to art and creativity.
Based upon our experiences in Cambodia and our ongoing conversations with Cambodian cultural institutions, we believe there is a huge opportunity - and need - to explore how experimental arts can be fostered in Cambodia.
Over a six week period we are running a series of workshops with the Royal University of Fine Arts, Cambodian Living Arts and Java Arts Cafe in Phnom Penh, working with local musicians and artists to develop a series of public arts events. These are skilled practitioners within their field, but we will work with them to extend their experience into improvisational and electronic music, and participatory artistic practice. Although there is clearly an element of education here, this is about exchange - building on local skills and knowledge in Phnom Penh to create uniquely Cambodian social interventions and artforms.
The entire process will culminate in a series of performances and public art, which will be recorded and photographed. These materials will be used at the end of the project to create a series of documentary pieces - including a commercially available CD release and photographic exhibition.
What will it sound and look like? Well, that depends on what happens. As far as the music goes, expect a diverse selection of master Khmer musicians, combined with found sound and digital resampling. And the rest? Well, that really depends on what inspires our Cambodian partners. But take a look and listen to some of our other projects at www.theincidental.com to get a sense of what we do.
We're also seeing this is as the first part of a bigger story - once phase 1 is complete, we will be working with our Cambodian partners to approach larger international institutions, fostering a process of self-sustaining cultural development.
At Incidental, this project is something we feel passionate about. We are personally covering all costs associated with our flights and accommodation, and donating our time to run the workshops throughout the 6 week residency.
But we need a bit more to get this project going. In a country where money and resources are in short supply, we need some support to help purchase equipment vital for the project. A laptop and music software for the local musicians to use. A materials budget to help the students to realise their art projects. This money is crucial - even though the institutions we are dealing with are influential within the city, this is a developing country and the funds are stretched for basic university courses, let alone a project like this.
So - that's the project. Your money will be spent in developing capacity and opportunities for artists and students in a severely under-privileged country. You'll receive a unique collection of music and photography, and the knowledge that you are helping to provide education and ongoing opportunities for Cambodian artists to capitalise on in the future.
Thanks for listening.
Video and stills footage from Incidental and Cambodian Living Arts.
- (36 days)