Conviviality, the Communication Bridge
Conviviality is an activity design project. The aim of this project was to build a bridge of communication between local children and tourists to bring the unforgettable memory and experience for both of them.
- the beginning of this story -
The idea of this project was generated from my trip to Cambodia in 2013. Cambodia is an incredible beautiful country with famous breathtaking temples, fertile plains dotted with rice fields, and a history unlike any other. It has so much to offer the international tourists in terms of a rich cultural, natural and historical heritage. But instead of the amazing scenery, what impressed me most was the local children.
As a tourist, I was curious about the culture and local lifestyle there. So I visited a local family which has 4 lovely children. They live in suburb of the city with poverty. Because of poor education on English, we couldn’t communicate with each other which hindered the further process of gaining insight of their living. So I began to take picture for them with Polaroid camera and gave them the pressed photos. Those children treated the photos as treasure. When I heard that those were the first photo of their life, I felt sad and eager to do something for them. Then the idea of this project came.
- Research -
Basic information of Cambodia
When it comes to the economy of Cambodia, tourism has been a means for accumulation of foreign currency earnings and employment for the Cambodian workforce. In 2012, Cambodia welcomed 3,580,000 foreign tourists.
In addition to researching information online, I interviewed three people - one of them is Cambodian, and two of them as foreigners were living in Cambodia at that time. I was trying to know the understanding of Cambodia from different perspective - from local people and from foreigners. During the research I found that:
- This country is in a very rapid economic developing process, and the gap between rich and poor is very big.
- Lifestyle there is very different between living in a city and countryside.
- Motorcycle is the main vehicle and the charge of electricity is very expensive.
- People living in Cambodia experienced a long period of war and tyranny and they are very afraid of war.
- Most of people live in a positive attitude towards to life.
- A lot of people believe in Buddhism.
- There is no policy to encourage or limit the birth. Some kids need to earn money for their family.
- project development -
When I put all of the data together for analysis, I found that for local children who live in countryside, the family economy condition and language could be a barrier for them to the outside world, but as kids their life are playfulness, innocence, and amazement as well and they are curious about the world. And for the tourists, they hope to have a chance to get in touch with the local people to know more about their culture. But most of time, language is a problem because the kids who live in countryside can only speak Cambodian which most of the foreign tourists can not understand.
Kids are curious about new things, tourists want to know local culture, they need to communicate, what can be the communication bridge?
Story, memory, moment... Those all are included in the little image and no need any word to explain. Children cherish the photos because they have very little chance to take a picture in their daily life. However, almost every tourist has a camera and sees taking photos as a "task" of traveling.
Lots of children living with their family in the village which is located in the only way that must be passed between downtown and scenic spots. We can contact with the local NGO groups and some travel agencies to organize activities like Cultural Festival regularly near the village. Although the communication activity would not bring some specific knowledge to children, it can take advantage of the unique local tourism to bring the world cultures around children, which may help them contact with other countries' culture and resources without going outside. For tourists, further contact with local people could not only understand a country better but also add some great memories for their journey.
Main tool needed in the activity is camera because almost every tourist takes camera along and photographs are very precious things for the local children whose families are relatively destitute. At the same time, people are more likely to record some meaningful moments by camera and these photos can be printed as postcards to mail directly or send to each other as souvenirs.
Activity is in the form of photo-related games. Because generally games appeal to children and can be held easily. In addition, the relaxed and happy atmosphere during the games is also suitable for those traveling people. When people take photos or draw a picture with others, they can express their meaning and feeling by gesture, facial expressions and image, which may reduce the pressure of communication breakdowns with people of other countries.
- Promotion -
Propaganda by QR Code (made of pictures)
The amplified QR Code is made of 304 photos of this activities and shown in huge advertising boards nearby scenic spots.