Vuth Lyno captures the ghosts of the White Building

Sa Sa Art Projects artist-in-residence Vuth Lyno brings together abandoned spirit houses for his work-in-progress show.

Phnom Penh art lovers were given a fascinating glimpse into Vuth Lyno’s next project on Sunday afternoon, as the artist opened up the studio to the public to peruse a “found object” collection of spirit houses.

Rescued from the iconic White Building, still slated for demolition despite widespread protest, the spirit houses were all left behind by families who have either been forced out or left early to rebuild their lives elsewhere.

What are Spirit Houses?

Pre-dating Buddhism, spirit houses are used all across Southeast Asia to honour the “spirit” of the home. By paying respects and leaving offerings, families believe that the resident spirit will help to bring them good luck and protection – but the spirit can’t follow them to their next home, and neither can the spirit house.

This means that, as families are forced out of places like the White Building, they essentially leave behind the ghosts of the home – and their houses.

What Happens Now?

Having painstakingly brought together these eerie relics, Vuth Lyno and his collaborators at Sa Sa are still deciding how best to use the spirit houses for an overarching installation or exhibit, but here is a sneak peak of the collection in the meantime.


Vuth Lyno’s Work-in-Progress Show @ Sa Sa Art Projects, St 350; viewings available by appointment.

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