Category Archives: Religion

Church : Time

Exploring the abandoned former French colonial era church on Bokor Mountain in Cambodia recently. In 1978 the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia, toppling the murderous Khmer Rouge in a matter of weeks. There was however a stalemate for a time on Bokor (and other locations) as the Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge battled it out- fighting between the church and nearby casino. In recent years the church has had occasional use- it’s first in nearly four decades. “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”

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Momentary Suspension of Disbelief

https://vimeo.com/149908307

Shot and edited in 4K ultra high definition by Gunner.

We’ve been interested to communicate with former students at this church school who have corrected some of our assumptions, and shared their memories inspired by our images. We don’t make any claim to be historians ourselves, and so, rather than add to an editorialisation, here are some of their responses:

” . . . it’s incredible seeing the ‘wardrobe’ and dressing rooms when we used to put on huge shows that toured around the country . . . When I was a student there . . . there were exactly 31 pianos on campus, and one concert grand piano, a weights room . . . and the dormitories were fully air-conditioned, and heated. The cafeteria was pretty awesome too, and so totally was the in-door heated olympic sized swimming pool. We knew we were lucky to go there.”

“Whilst attending there, I was told on several occasions that Three Nephites watched over the place and protected it from harm and danger. It seems that they too have abandoned it. Perhaps they also ran out of money?”

“I haven’t been back to my Alma Mater since it closed. These pics are eerily beautiful and sad at the same time. So many memories that stir so many emotions. When it opened in 1958 it had the best facilities in the country and remained like that until recently when other schools started to follow suit. Loved my time there. Shame my kids will never know what I felt. This was so much more than a school,it was an experience!”

“State of the art it was. Home away from home. Still miss the toast, sausages and tomatoes for breakfast, and the raspberry cream buns at the canteen. And what about the Friday night basketball matches.”

Petit Ossuary

https://vimeo.com/148964951

One’s ability to walk freely into this ossuary is somewhat unsettling and confronting in relation to patterns and codes of behaviour around human remains that exist elsewhere. However, the artful calligraphy on the skulls, and our desire and that of others before – and presumably after – us to leave them undisturbed affords some welcome sanctity. Memento mori: we remember death both as a concept, and the personalisation of it, in these individuals who have passed away. Shot and edited in 4K ultra high definition by Gunner.

The Farm

Inside an abandoned former catholic girls school/farm/’rehabilitation unit’ we visited in mid 2013. Founded by a French sisterhood in 1953 -“the girls who came into the care of the sisters often had problems that could not be resolved in their normal environment and needed the loving care of others to restore their sense of self-worth.” The first residents stayed at the ’13’-room Manor built by its previous owner; and over the years the Catholic order embarked on a building program that included a 25-girl dormitory, two-story working/training block, visitor accommodation and sports facility. The last building was an expanded convent for the growing number of sisters at the facility. At it’s peak there were apparently up to 50 nuns in the house, and at least 70 girls. The farm/school/borstal/convent finally closed down in the early 1980’s.