The single greatest issue facing the residents of the White Building is housing security. As Cambodia rapidly urbanises, it is the urban poor that are forcibly removed from their homes to make way for shiny new apartment towers they cannot afford. During a residency at the building, McCracken chatted to the residents of the building about their housing concerns and asked them to teach her how to cross stitch. The cross stitching of pictorial tapestries was a popular hobby during McCracken’s stay and an effective way to connect with the residents of the White Building. Moving away from the images provided in the tapestry kits, McCracken stitched the grates, bricks and vents that residents had added to the building to make it an effective home. She then gifted these small bespoke tapestries to some of the residents she got to know.
During a residency at the White Building (a medium density apartment complex for working class Cambodian’s) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, McCracken worked with members of Sa Sa Art projects, and the children that lived in the building, to create costumes filled with LEDs. Due to their lack of light the hallways of the White Building are considered unsafe and are one of the few areas that children do not play. By filling the dark hallways with their lit costumes the children filled these spaces with light and laughter. Over a couple of hours, the participants played glow stick hopscotch, danced an exuberant conga-line, and skipped to the beat of an LED rope, all within the apartment complexes tight, internal hallways.
In 2014, artist Clare McCracken and photographer Pia Johnson, spent two months exploring Fawkner, a suburb in Melbourne, Australia. This artist book documents the people they interviewed, the stories they collected, the photos they took and the illustrations they drew. It is a record of the people, objects, architecture and stories that make Fawkner unique – the narratives of place.
To order a hard copy of the book, or get a free PDF copy, please email Clare McCracken: firstname.lastname@example.org