De Balie: History, Memory, Commemoration: Java

Film screening and talk at De Balie, Amsterdam

External location Film 

Note: this event will take place at De Balie in Amsterdam.

  • Hans van Houwelingen
  • Iswanto Hartono (ruangrupa)
  • Yoeri Albrecht

During this event the film History – Memory – Commemoration / Java (2024) will be screened, followed by a talk with artists Hans van Houwelingen and Iswanto Hartono.

The research project History - Memory - Commemoration is a long-term collaboration between Dutch artist Hans van Houwelingen and Iswanto Hartono and Mirwan Andan, of the Indonesian artists' collective ruangrupa. Together they are making seven films about specific locations from the colonial history of the Netherlands and Indonesia: Java, Aceh, Nias, the Netherlands, Moluccas, Sulawesi and Papua. What influence do location, politics, religion, education, family, historiography and the spirit of the time have on the way history is remembered? How is history passed onto future generations? The film series sets aside a one-sided view and shows the wide variety of meaning within one shared colonial history.

At the base of the film is the Van Heutsz monument in Amsterdam, renamed as the Indië-Nederland monument, and the Van Heutsz monument in Jakarta, demolished in 1953. After the independence of Indonesia, president Soekarno ordered almost all colonial statues to be demolished and streets to be renamed. The past had to be quickly forgotten, so the nation could look forward. In the Netherlands, colonial memorials were preserved and became controversial. What does the presence, or absence, of these monuments mean? How do people commemorate in the absence of memorials or in the presence of controversial statues? Perhaps it's time to change the traditional protocols of commemoration?

History – Memory – Commemoration / Java is part of the exhibition Searching for Oneself Outside.

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