“Memories” is an ongoing personal photographic archive of the Khmer Rouge regime and of the stigmata of the past.
Between 1975 and 1979 the totalitarian Khmer Rouge regime killed almost a quarter of the population. Since their creation in 2003, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have cost 300 millions US dollars; though only 3 Khmer Rouge leaders have been sentenced. Meanwhile the country seems to have already moved on. Two-thirds of the population are less than 30 years old and have never lived under Pol Pot’s regime. The strong economical growth leads towards a dazzling development, which alike a juggernaut, washes away all traces of the genocide.
I went in search of those/ of what is left before it all disappears in 2019 and hope to return with your support.
Once there, I realized that in Cambodia more than anywhere else in South East Asia, memory is polyform. One can find it in the edifying silences of former Khmer Rouge soldiers, through the wandering souls in the terrible killing fields, or even in forced labor places that seem to have absorbed the tragedy they witnessed. Memory also perpetuates in the rituals of the Buddhist country and in the memorials designed and financed by the Cambodian diaspora. Above all, memory survives in the epic yet common narratives of the survivors. The photos montages, which portray some of them, use as background the image of a place that is important to their story.
I listened to the stories the Khmer red earth and its people told me about the past, with no judgment. I photographed what their narratives evoked me, in an organic way: because in Cambodia, the memories –hence the resilience, are diverse and cultural and deeply anchored into the land.
The photographs of landscapes, either political or vernacular, become the symptomatic places of the fading memory.