Terrain Phnom Penh

#29 Street 173, Toul Tom Pong II
Cham Kamoh, Phnom Penh

Trash Talkers Collective
Curated by Chelsea Middendorf

Terrain Phnom Penh activates the front balcony space of a Khmer flat in the capitol city of Cambodia. Local and foreign artists teamed up with Trash Talkers to create a mobile made out of trash. The 4 foot mobile protrudes off the 3rd story balcony for neighbors and passerbys to see throughout the exhibition. The view from the top of the installation resembles an over-sized and overfilled trash bag, which is an overwhelmingly common site on the streets of Phnom Penh. From the side and bottom views, the installation resembles a baby’s mobile. The hanging pieces that make up the mobile are made of mostly garbage that has been collaged, sculpted, manipulated and completely transformed into a work of art; a far more pleasing however an unlikely encounter in the public space of Cambodia. Each decorative element of the mobile is a unique design of the creator who communicates a message about Cambodia’s severe trash problem.

Trash Talkers is a group of Phnom Penh primary and high school children, who observe issues in their community then research, question and discuss how to better care for their environment. They can often be found taking action in reducing trash in their neighborhoods by transforming garbage into art.

Chelsea Middendorf lives and works in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Prior to embarking on her current endeavor to teach in a developing country she resided in Chicago, where she earned her BA at Columbia College Chicago in 2012. She has collaborated in several group art shows such as Art on Track, FEAST: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art and RISK: Empathy, Art and Social Practice. She also has curated the Critical Encounters Student Showcase: Rights, Radicals + Revolutions and Columbia College Alumni on 5: Teaching Artists in Chicago. Middendorf co-lead the social art group Potluck: Chicago, where she helped conceive and implement the multiple-grant-winning Chicago Recipe Box Project. She was once the Assistant Director at Terrain Exhibitions and helped produce the inaugural Terrain Biennial. Currently she teaches Book-Binding at Phnom Penh Community College, English at USA International School and co-facilitates projects by the Trash Talkers Collective.