Since forming The Cambodian Space Project in 2009, we’ve often been invited to perform at fundraisers for NGO’s in Cambodia and this has always provided exciting opportunities to perform but also a great insight into amazing things happening at grassroots level. Cambodia’s Got Talent? sure it has, especially raw talent and often from unlikely places, people coming from backgrounds of real hardship and struggle – Kak Channthy’s life and legacy is a real testament to this – and shining through in spectacular ways. While Cambodia’s a relatively small country, it’s creative capacity is huge! For these reasons and more, I’ve happily become a co-founder and mentor through the creation of Fish Island Community Arts Centre. I’m loving this role in life, being around young (and old) artists from the countryside is enriching and feeds into my own creativity as a music and arts producer. Sure, it’s not without it’s challenges but each step just leads to something even more unexpected and there’s some wonderful stuff happening at FICAC right now.
The next big challenge for me is to support fundraising and the building and completion of a Digital Media Arts Studio that will soon allow our young creatives access to training and skills sharing in the digital media production – heck! they’re already great at the analog stuff, hands-on things, visual arts, cuisine, cooking up ideas out of thin air and now, in it’s 2nd year, FICAC’s Salt Fields Trash Fashion Show is getting set to go on the road. We love taking the team on vocational trips and have previously done this with our Junior Chefs program but this year it’s all about design and performance to showcase the creative output and to help us reach out for funding and support to make a giant leap forward – to equip FICAC with a permanent teaching and training facility where young students can jump into the world of digital media and design and not only find meaningful employment opportunities but create amazing new work with all the skills and equipment necessary to take pepper corn ideas into outta space! With the right tools and knowledge, the sky’s the limit! To this end we’re launching a Kickstarter Campaign to make this dream happen.
In 2009 we launched FICAC on a reclaimed rice paddy and kicked things off with food and a concert. Since this time much has happened and not only is our not-for-profit kitchen kicking some great goals – there’s talk of a Food TV channel keen to work with us and produce a series of 6 cooking shows – this potentially feeds right into plans for in-house digital media production but there’s still a long way to go before we can reach these kinds of opportunities. We’re still at ground level and skills sharing through great projects like Salt Fields Trash Fashion and first up we’ve got to work on funding this work to go on the road and thereby share the bigger picture. Our Kickstarter Campaign is an all-or-nothing target of just $3000 Australian dollars – seems like a small amount but it’s still a challenge to independently raise funds and support ongoing costs so we need all the help we can get. Visit the campaign for details and budget breakdown.
In the longer term, what we aim to create is a Media Arts School that will also bring in real working relationships with international schools, teachers, mentors and traveling students. To this end we have begun a great working relationship with staff and students at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and are already working on ideas of hosting RMIT sound and video production students at Fish Island, and at the same time, bringing our Cambodian projects into the high quality studios at RMIT. This is all moving in an exciting direction and we’re sure to see many years of great results ahead but this makes it all the more important to build a strong foundation right now!
Score some brilliant original merch and perks and help FICAC grow
Needless to say, most of the sales and income generated by music and art activities at FICAC and via The Cambodian Space Project are re-invested and help sustain new work – equip the studio, stage gear, build a professional kitchen, visual arts studio, produce a new exhibition, press a new release, take artists on tour, support live-in students, accomodate volunteers – it’s all part of the eco system of building communities through creativity and it’s an amazing journey. All of the very tasty perks on offer via Kickstarter reflects this – you can score a beautiful vinyl pressing of the CSP, get yer groove on with a Fish Island Records T-shirt, have you name in the credits of a graphic novel about our Salt Fields Trash Fashion tour, even book in a virtual Kek Soon cooking class to prep up a delicious banquet of Soon’s amazing Sino-Khmer cuisine for your next dinner party.
Doin’ it for the Kids!
Food for thought
I’m happy to say we have not only survived these last few difficult years – not least COVID when we were forced to shut down but continued to supply food relief packages to many of the very poor and disadvantaged – but now we’re back guns blazing! The kitchen at FICAC is going from strength to strength, the visual arts program is prodigious and showing amazing results, our recording studio is banging out great stuff and has brought together all kinds of excellent musicians and new material, not least new material for the re-launch of The Cambodian Space Project. Our young artists’ design work and performance Fashion Week-style has been wonderful to watch as the Trash Fashion Recycled Art project continues to evolve. We’ve even had the chance to fire up the old soundsystem and stage – Fish Island Opera House – here at FICAC and kick off live dates for the CSP right here in front of the studio door. Yes, I’ll continue to describe the little studio as the Muscle Shoals or Black Ark of Cambodia as it’s already punching above its weight and we’ve got great releases coming up, some of the best performances yet. All this is shaping up to be inspired ‘brain food’ and helping us build not just the bricks’n’mortar side of FICAC but its creative capacity. So support this great little happening and we’ll send send you the handwritten recipe to the Fish Island Seafood Laksa via Kickstarter
Oh…and did I mention our Kickstarter Campaign?
Seriously, this is a great way to support a brilliant community arts project and something that has been created out of the work and vision of The Cambodian Space Project and many related arts projects and individual talents contributing to creating a whole style, scene, sound, and community… your support goes along way and if you contribute via Kickstarter you can score wonderful things created by all of us here in the CSP family and Fish Island Community Arts Centre .