Urban seam

the making of a cambodian city

Currents | Phnom Penh | March 21 - 31, 2019

#65, Street 446, Sangkat Toul Tom Poung I, PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

Photo by Mathieu Eyméoud

Photo by Mathieu Eyméoud

Urban Seam: the Making of a Cambodian City was presented at Currents 2019 art and urban festival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as part of the regional festival Topographies of Mirror Cities.

With this unique opportunity to bring the work back to its origins, Primary Voice presented the everyday life of Cambodian factory workers and the global forces that shape their lives through our three interactive workstations. Visitors are engaged through the gestures and actions of workers via the interactive workstations to become part of the daily life in an industrial economy.  

In collaboration with designer and researcher Mikaela Kvan, filmmaker Sok Chan Rado, technologist Mathieu Eymeoud, and designer Jean-Alex Quach, Primary Voice presents Urban Seam: the Making of a Cambodian City.


The Exhibition

Urban Seam does not simply show you Phnom Penh, you are immersed in it. Like the factory workers, you understand the process of the city’s development through their work. While you hammer, glue and sew—repeating the same gestures as the factory workers—documentary video footage is activated on the screen in front of you. Thanks to a little coding and some imagination, you explore a new everyday in a rapidly growing city. 

Urban Seam delves further by exploring the hidden social and urban connections that fuel one of the worlds fastest developing industrial economies. While unpacking over 150 years of international history related to industrial development—beginning with the establishment of a French protectorate in 1853 and tracing evolution of international investment including essential U.S. Government aid funded national infrastructure—Primary Voice reveals the capital city of Cambodia and the lives of its citizens through an urban lens. 


The workshop


To continue this exploration of urban labor Primary Voice ran the Urban Seam Workshop on March 23, 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Building off of our research on the everyday life in the industrial outskirts of Phnom Penh the workshop was an opportunity to examine life inside one of Phnom Penh’s central hubs–Toul Tom Poung Market. This research gives us plenty of inspiration for future interactive workstations!


Our Partners + Sponsors

Many thanks to our crowdfunding supporters. especially to Mike Hash + Buck Waller, Jason Johnson + Nataly Gattegno, Hank Koning + Julie Eizenberg, the Eyméoud Family and the Kvan Family.