Humans of Ankor Wat

On Ankor Wat and its camera-wielding company.

Every day, thousands of people make their way to Ankor Wat. They wake up at five, join a sleepdrunk tuktuk convoy to the ticket line where they wait until the booths open. They ride on, five forty now, to the elephant path up to the ponds to wait for ninety minutes and watch the sunset hit the five towers. Afterwards, they stroll through the Wat’s intestines, their romantic gaze firmly activated by the ancient spectacle of rocks displaced by fig and cotton trees, begin their quest to take pictures of the temple in isolated fakery, framing them so it looks like all the others like themselves are not there. Anthropocentric self-hatred, inverted by the camera’s

But Ankor Wat stares back. The real spectacle is of the human variety, a dance of evasion and obstruction, of knees bent to improve perspective and heads arched backward to prevent inclusion in someone else’s solitary simulacrum. These times are good: the colors of their clothes invigorate the brown walls, their fragile and scattered waves of attention thicken the air; the place is alive, now more than ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *