bebas/be·bas/ /bébas/ n  Free, Independent, Released

terbatas/ter·ba·tas/ adj. Limited, Restricted, Demarcated

BEBAS TERBATAS is an oxymoron. It highlights the contradictory terms in which the postcolonial situation find itself in. We are free, but restricted. We are independent, but confined. We are, but. Bandung was a site where utopian aspirations and imaginaries of freedom of the earth's wretched were projected. This photo-essay explores the thin line between the utopic and the dystopic. 

The first Asian-African Conference in Bandung, 1955 was initiated by President Soekarno to gather leaders of Afro-Asian countries that had recently gained their independence. The agenda was largely based on how they can collectively build a new world - free from imperialism, slavery and exploitation. By drawing inspiration from Soekarno’s opening speech in the conference, Danishwara Nathaniel photographed the streets of Bandung to search for colonial wounds and the promises of that conference. Bebas Terbatas is accompanied by a music composition by Wahono that was made with drum synthesizers and digitally processed rebab to elaborate friction and tension in the narrative. The claustrophobic setting of this piece acts as a physical confinement while we gaze toward utopian imageries of freedom.

“Colonialism has also its modern dress, in the form of economic control, intellectual control, actual physical control by a small but alien community within a nation. It is a skilful and determined enemy, and it appears in many guises. It does not give up its loot easily. Wherever, whenever and however it appears, colonialism is an evil thing, and one which must be eradicated from the earth."

President Soekarno's opening speech at the 1955 Asian African Conference

Bebas Terbatas is one of the installations shown at Divisi 62: PARIPURNA Exhibition in RUCI ART SPACE Gallery in Jakarta, May 2018:

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