A screening and talk with the artist Tintin Wulia on her 2017 video work A Thousand and One Martian Nights, part of her ongoing research into the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66 and their reverberations over time. Taking as a point of departure an internment camp on Mars, the film presents a series of stories told in the year 2165 by the survivors of political turmoil that took place one hundred years before. These stories are adapted from the artist’s and actors’ own experiences and memories and are interwoven with NASA footage documenting interplanetary research in 1965.
A short excerpt of the full video work is viewable in the first video below (see the installation setup here). The second video is a recording of Wulia’s April 15th discussion of the film and her continuing engagement with this subject matter shortly thereafter. Guiding this discussion was Karen Strassler, Professor of Anthropology at CUNY’s Queens College and the Graduate Center. Their conversation further contextualized Wulia’s work, drawing on Strassler’s own research into visuality, violence, and memory in Indonesia.
This screening was dedicated to the memory of Tedjabayu on behalf of Tintin Wulia.
Tintin Wulia (b. 1972, Denpasar) works with video, installation, performance and public interventions. Her works, addressing sociopolitical issues particularly of the border, are often interactive and participatory. She has shown in major exhibitions including Istanbul Biennale (2005), Jakarta Biennale (2009), Moscow Biennale (2011), Gwangju Biennale (2012), Asia Pacific Triennale (2012), Sharjah Biennale (2013). Collected amongst others by Van Abbemuseum, Singapore Art Museum, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art and He Xiangning Art Museum, Wulia represented Indonesia at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). She is currently Principal Investigator for the Swedish Research Council fundedProtocols of Killings (2021-23), where she draws aesthetic parallels between the Indonesian mass killings 1965-66 and drone warfare’s technologies of the future.
Karen Strassler is Professor of Anthropology at CUNY’s Queens College and the Graduate Center. Her research interests include photography, visual and media culture, violence, and historical memory in Indonesia. She is the author of Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java(Duke UP, 2010), a study of the role of everyday photography in the making of Indonesian national identity. Her recent book, Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event in Indonesia (Duke UP, 2020), explores the political work of images in post-authoritarian Indonesia. Her current research investigates images and the politics of visibility in relation to Chinese Indonesians.
Video Credits: PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, EDITOR: Tintin Wulia, LINE PRODUCER: Arie Oramahi, PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Robby Wahyu, CAST: Ratrikala Bhre Aditya, Dialita, M.H., Cecilia Aditya Indradjaja, Mikael Johani, T.K., Ita Fatia Nadia, Nadia Ng, Hersri Setiawan, Ken Setiawan, Tedjabayu, Tintin Wulia, with various members of the entire production team; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Syauqi Tuasikal, CAMERA: Ratrikala Bhre Aditya, Putra Arif Hidayah, Indra Nurfiansyah, Ridwan Rudianto, Tintin Wulia, Achmad Zaki; ASSEMBLY EDITOR: Ratrikala Bhre Aditya MUSIC COPYIST: David Kristiawan, PIANISTS: Cecilia Aditya Indradjaja, Tomoko Nishizawa, Tintin Wulia; TRANSLATORS: Nadia Ng, Erich Round, Tintin Wulia. Stories adapted from: Contributions to “Living 1965/1965 Setiap Hari” from Mikael Johani, Ken Setiawan, Tintin Wulia and various anonymous contributors; “Memoar Pulau Buru” I (Hersri Setiawan, 2004); “Diburu di Pulau Buru” (Hersri Setiawan, 2006); “Pearls in a Grass Land: memoir of a survivor” (Tedjabayu, work in progress). Footage of space exploration from “Highlights 1965: A Progress Report” (1966), Norwood Studios, Inc. (for NASA), available through a Creative Commons Public Domain License from Prelinger Archives. Music: “Venus, The Bringer of Peace – The Planets, Op. 32″, by Gustav Holst (1916).
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
A Thousand and One Martian Nights Screening with Tintin Wulia is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.