FMP Submission

mickyates Cambodia, Critical Research Journal, Exhibition, FinalMajorProject, FMPWeek24, Installation, Photography, Project Development, Unfinished Stories Leave a Comment

Here is a link to my FMP submission, meeting Falmouth University file size guidelines. This includes all of the images, video and samples of the book page spreads. It also includes exhibition display boards and installation shots used in the December 5th – 19th exhibition at Bath Royal literary and Scientific Institution, as well as some of the reviews and comments received.

Mick Yates FMP Final Compressed

Unfortunately the required compression slightly degrades the text embedded in the images. It would be helpful if Falmouth could increase the file size uploads allowed, as for a program focused on visual arts 15 mb is small.

A better version is here:

Mick Yates FMP Final Print

A recap of the Project Statement contained in the FMP:

Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 – 2.2 million people in their attempt to create an agrarian society cleansed of the urban intelligentsia. Forty years later the Genocide’s devastating impact on Cambodian society still resonates. What happened to the individuals that survived those horrific times has largely been left unspoken.

Our collective memory is driven by the images of ‘mug shots’ of victims of the Tuol Sleng torture facility and skulls from the Choeung Ek Killing Fields. Those accused were meticulously photographed, tortured until they confessed, and killed. The camera was in effect their executioner. Yet there are almost 20,000 grave sites which go unnoticed and are mainly unmarked. Prince Sihanouk tried to keep Cambodia neutral, but he allowed Vietnamese supply lines to cross the country during the Vietnam War. US bombs killed tens of thousands of innocent Cambodians in a vain effort to disrupt these trails. This helped push the population towards the Khmer Rouge.

The story of the Genocide is buried in an anonymous landscape.

Until the death of Pol Pot in 1998, part of the country remained under Khmer Rouge control. In 1999, Ingrid and Mick Yates founded a primary school program in the Reconciliation Areas. Working in collaboration with Save the Children, the Ministry of Education and even some ex-Khmer Rouge, the partnership helped rebuild the local education system. Keo Sarath and Beng Simeth, despite personal traumas of the Genocide years, led the programs towards a more hopeful future for children. 

Unfinished Stories uses photography, text and video to bring to light some of the previously unheard stories. The work uses first person accounts of the atrocities, with each photograph carrying a quote in Khmer from Sarath or Simeth describing the horror they lived through and anchoring the image in place. Infrared photography underscores the strange phenomenology of the now often beautiful landscape that witnessed the Genocide. Typefaces are clean and modern, reflecting the contemporary nature of the spoken words against memories of decades gone by.

The resultant series is complex, out of time and paradoxical. Individual images are calm, yet they are also intensely personal and horrific.

The project remains ‘unfinished’ for me and many others, including Sarath and Simeth. But it is nice to be able to ‘finish’ for Falmouth University.

Book Listing

mickyates Critical Research Journal, FinalMajorProject, FMPWeek24, Photography, Project Development, Unfinished Stories Leave a Comment

I am pleased to have ‘Unfinished Stories: From Genocide to Hope’ listed at Topping & Company, one of the UK’s leading independent bookstores. The book will be on sale at £30.

As noted in the blurb:

Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 – 2.2 million people in their attempt to create an agrarian society cleansed of the urban intelligentsia. What happened to the individuals that survived has largely been left unspoken. The true-life stories of those awful times, from Keo Sarath and Beng Simeth, have never been published before. They both dedicated their lives to education, for a more hopeful future for children.

Mick’s haunting photography of the aftermath of Genocide is combined with intensely personal quotes from these stories. This book starts with a short history of Cambodia, for readers not familiar with what happened. The book ends with a summary of the school programs led by Sarath and Simeth.

Foreword by Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Cambodia

The book has been registered with a Cambodian ISBN at the National Library, as we are seeking distribution there.

I have separately registered a UK ISBN via the Nielsen company, with LeaderValues Ltd (our long-established trading entity) as UK distributor. It is on sale at £30, also on my website via PayPal.

It has been a long process, but in my mind this marks a significant next step / punctuation point in the entire project.

And it is just in time for the end of the MA.