Mass–killings have been an indelible part of history. In various ways, many are forgotten, systemati- cally or unintentionally. Many of the stories were remain too small of a scale to be inscribed as memories in the mind of many. Perhaps it was shocking at one time, but it was trivialized, effaced by many other surprises, perpetually hitting us. The stories then vanish without a trace. I want to remember that everything has happened, that a massacre had once happened somewhere on the other part of the world. That within the vanished, within the thing that never leave a trace in our memory, there exist a history, but forgotten…

Or the stories of mass-killings in my surrounding that I am not aware of, as they are so obscured. I am trying to be aware of them all, reminding myself about the untold moments. I create a train full of victims in human form. I imagine the inter-human massacres were done out of the necessity deemed fundamental: honor, superiority, or even just a matter of greed. So, I choose sugar as a point of departure. Sugar, which during the 11th century is known as a delicacy for upper-class European, was once dubbed as ‘white gold’. It also became one of the pretext for the colonialization in the extreme locations with perfect climate to grow sugarcane. Then colonialization took place.

Titarubi | “Kisah Tanpa Narasi” | Ceramic, iron, wood | Variable dimensions | 2007

 

Not only to conquer the lands, but also to exploit the cheap labor power, sometimes even without wages, to accumulate the profit promised by the ‘white gold’ industry. The sugar mill was the one of the biggest factory yet built by VOC, the precursor of the extended colonization of Nusantara by the Dutch empire. That is why I made a replica of a flatcar built by VOC to transport sugarcane. I hang people orderly inside the flatcar. It represents bodies that are arranged, organized and disciplined, so that the industry would prevail in making their profits.


Titarubi | “Kisah Tanpa Narasi” | Ceramic, iron, wood | Variable dimensions | 2007

 

And the bodies, the people’s bodies that I have hanged, are made from earthenware, ceramics resulted from low-heat burning, in its premature solidity, soft, crunchy, brittle, and yet vulnerable like human body, feeble and enfeebled. VOC has gone. Some of the old rusty flatcar are still being used, moving shakily trying to sustain the sugar industry, gradually replaced by other transportation means which are quicker and more effective. The industries in the sugarcane-land are flourishing, multiplying and expanding with new tools and means. But, the colonization is yet to end.