Terang Boelan

Artwork Details
Site specific installation
Displayed at
JWD Art Space

The fall of colonialism and the birth of anew nation are the most romanticized stories told in the Indonesian history. Itis remembered as the moment of bravery and sacrifice deserves respect and honor.Historical nostalgia, as people may say, works well. The art work presents themixed feeling of nostalgia where beauty and chaos are interwoven, wherepersonal and historical nostalgia intersects.

Indonesia was only an abstract idea whenthe colonialism fell and the founding fathers had a lot to do to fabricate suchnarrative to bind the archipelago as one nation. At that time they needed to goback to another older romanticized story of 14thcentury MajapahitKingdom legacy to claim a huge portion of territory and somehow it works.

Soekarno, as one of the founding fathers,is the key figure for this job. Within 22 years of his authoritarian regime heworked hard to constitute a complex narrative of Indonesia as a nation, noteasy and bloody too. In this installation, the memory of Soekarno is presentedthrough the audio-recorded reading of the love letters he wrote to his 9 wivesin different periods of time which may reflects how his personal narratives seepsthrough his vision of nationalism.

The title,Terang Boelan (Moonshine), is borrowed from a folk song that deeplyrooted the memory of people in Malay Peninsula and Nusantara archipelago, the territorythat has been contested by different powers throughout the history. The song isbelieved to be originated from “La Rosalie” composed by French composer Pierre-Jean de Béranger in 19thcentury. The song revives the memory of losing, of longing, of victory, oranything else depends on who sing it.