META 3.0: A NEW CHAPTER
A NEW CHAPTER
Located in the heart of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, the German Cambodian Cultural Center — known as the Meta House Goethe-Center — is just a few minutes away from the Riverside and Royal Palace.
Boasting more than 400 square meters of event space, the two-story building comprises a large gallery, a semi-open-air cinema and the restaurant Art Café. The ground floor also houses the German Language Center, operated by the Goethe-Institut. This non-profit German cultural association, represented by us in Cambodia, is operational worldwide with more than 150 institutes, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations.
Meta House was established in January, 2007 by German filmmaker Nicolaus Mesterharm, who continues to oversee its operations. In the Cambodian language (Khmer), “Meta” means “loving-kindness”. It is the first of four foundations of Buddhist teachings. But it also refers to the Greek preposition and prefix meta- (μετά-) meaning “after” or “beyond”. It is used in English to indicate a concept, which is an abstraction behind another concept, used to complete or add to the latter.
Over the course of the last decade, Meta House established itself as Phnom Penh’s #1 meeting place for artists and art lovers. Our award-winning center actively supports Cambodian artists and promotes the development of contemporary art in Cambodia through local and international exhibitions, film screenings, community-based projects, artist exchange programs and by fostering links with South East Asian and international universities, galleries, curators, non-governmental and governmental organizations. Meta House also hosts regular dance, theatre and music performances, as well as providing space for meaningful public events where NGOs are invited to conduct workshops and seminars.
The country’s rich artistic culture was destroyed in the 1970s by Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. Today, a revival is taking place – and it is gaining international recognition. The arts play a particularly important role in helping Cambodians reclaim their heritage, heal their souls and engage in an emerging renaissance. Creative people from around the globe are invited to contribute to the development of the young Cambodian contemporary art scene and help the Meta House Goethe Center put Cambodia back on the artistic map.
Meta House is sole partner of the “Goethe-Institute” in Cambodia. “Goethe-Institut” (German) is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, promoting the study of German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange. Together with its partner, Meta House actively supports Cambodian artists and students to promote the development of contemporary arts/media through local and international exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, community-based projects and exchange programs.
Meta House is a creative platform for meaningful public events, workshops and seminars by national and international NGOs with a strong focus on human rights and freedom of expression. Furthering expressive art forms is crucial to the development of any society, none more so than Cambodia where individuals are desperate for a voice.
Since 2014, Meta House’s umbrella organization “Cambodian-German Cultural Association” (KDKG) is registered as an I-NGO with the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” (MoFA) of the Kingdom of Cambodia and has signed Memorandums of Understanding with the “Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports” (MoEYS) and the “Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts” (MoCFA). The Berlin-based partner organization “Kambodschanisch-Deutsche Kulturgesellschaft” (KDKG e.V.) was registered a year earlier, in 2013. The German Foundation and the Cambodian entity share similar statutes and goals. KDKG e.V. advises the Cambodian I-NGO in terms of policies with a focus on intercultural dialogue between Germany and Cambodia, German funding possibilities, as well as facilitating volunteer exchange.