An essay by Emiko Stock, postdoctoral fellow in Asian studies and visiting assistant professor of Asian studies, was recently published in the journal Southeast Of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia.
“Archiving the Difficult to Picture,” written as a poem, is summarized this way in the abstract: “Fathers who are not exactly yours but may well have been, lost best friends playing sisters, ancestors crashing the event of history. Sometimes, among some Cambodian Cham Muslims, the family photographic album becomes more than a collection of stills layering family frames. The pages situate lost images of long gone relatives in telling absences; the spreading of stills on the floor ties uncertain genealogies with glimpses of what could have been; the picture-perfect moment of yesterday becomes potential for a better yet-to-come. In conversation with family portraits from ‘before the war(s)’ era (1950s–1960s), what those words and images might be asking each other is this: can we really get the ‘difficult to picture’?”