Cambodia’s longest serving Prime Minister, Hun Sen has for the last 25 years been the driving force behind the country’s growth and development. In April 1975, the fall of Phnom Penh took place when the US military evacuated the city paving the way for the ruthless Khmer Rouge. The consequences of the fall was widespread death and destruction. Today, the rapid pace of “development” that the city has been making, renders those memories forgotten. Old buildings are being rapidly pulled down to make way for high rises.
“Workers are moving in from the provinces and building landscapes of columned mansions, fountains and manicured gardens,” Marylise Vigneau says on her website. “Satellite cities are mushrooming, and these gated communities epitomize the aspirations of an emerging middle-class. There is recklessness in the air, a very palpable thirst for a modernity that appears to be built on layers of oblivion. Oblivion of history, oblivion of the squalor that lies just two steps away from the golden decor of the latest Karaoke bar; as well as an enduring poetry.”
Raised in Paris, Marylise Vigneau studied Compared Literature at the Sorbonne and her thesis was about cities as characters in Russian and Central-European novels. Her education is essentially literary but photography became her language during her life’s journey. Over the past eight years, Vigneau has been documenting life in Asia. Her work focuses on cities and on what time and development or isolation do to them. Her work has been shown at the Angkor Photo Festival, Foto Istanbul, Yangon Photo Festival, Nairang Gallery in Lahore and Focus Photography Festival in Mumbai. She has been published in Pix Quarterly (India), Asia Life and Milk (Cambodia).
Phnom Penh Of The Future is part of the exhibitions line-up for this edition of the Delhi Photo Festival starting on October 30 at the IGNCA, Delhi.