A Home for the Ghosts: On the Diorama as Inhabited Landscape


This article investigates Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh’s deployment of dioramas in The Burnt Theater (2005) and Graves Without a Name (2018). It focuses on the status of these miniature tableaux depicting landscapes of the Khmer Rouge regime as a ghost medium. A frame within the frame devoid of human forms, the diorama calls attention to the missing graves and wandering souls of Pol Pot’s agrarian revolution; the shared spaces of the living and the dead in present-day Cambodia; visual amnesia in the form of unmarked killing fields and forgotten landscapes; and new practices of reading the inhabited terrains of the Anthropocene.

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