POST A – Postmodernism in New York, Britain and Indonesia

Let us romp through the desolation of modern architecture, like some martian tourist on an earthbound excursion…bemused by the sad but instructive mistakes of a former architectural civilization

– Charles Jencks (2002, p9)

The era of Postmodernism is described as the “unstable mix of the theatrical and theoretical…the colourful to the ruinous, the ludicrous to the luxurious” (V&A, 2011, para 1). It arose in the 1970s where the introspection and scientific reasoning of Modernism could not longer explain such a multi-facetted world. Design was transformed from a disciplined, linear process to a spontaneous bricolage with multiple, subjective meanings.

New York in the 1970s was buzzing with people from all over the world with all sorts of backgrounds including Latinos, Jews, African Americans, Russians, Dominicans and Italians. There was also a huge gap in socio-economic statuses, where the homeless squatted on the doorsteps of billionaires. This had a prodigious impact on the great artists and designers of the era. Jean-Claude Goude’s “Maternity Dress” was the outfit Grace Jones wore to her own baby shower in 1977 at a 4am gay club in New York. Borrowing elements of cubism, Russian Constructivism (Milliard, 2011, para 5) and even Orientalism with a hot pink fan, the outfit is not particularly emotive or typically fashionable but coalesces its own, unique meaning. The outfit and the context of its use represent the ‘Big Apple’ in the 1970s – diverse, multifarious and unattached.

Grace Jones's 1977 'Maternity Dress' (Milliard, 2011)
Grace Jones’s 1977 ‘Maternity Dress’ (Milliard, 2011)
Sex Pistols singer wearing the
Sex Pistols singer wearing the “I HATE Pink Floyd” T-shirt (Sex Pistols Experience, 2012)

Likewise in 1970s Britain, the punk movement was taking hold. British punk movement rejected authority and emphasized autonomy, liberating individuals to design their own personal identity. “The do-it-yourself impulse by ordinary fans provided a range of styles … Chains, dog collars, and plastic bin liners (trash bags) were transformed from utility objects to style statements” (Muggleton & Brill, 2011, para 13). A prime example was when Sex Pistols front man John Lydon donned a ripped, safety-pinned jacket, with his Pink Floyd T-shirt personalised with “I HATE” in 1976. Unlike New York, the power was given to the individual audience member rather than the elite designer and had a strong anti-establishment sentiment, coining the term ‘antifashion’. This was a direct contextual rebellion against the conservative English government and implicit power of the monarchy.

Indonesian design label Unkl347 amalgamates well known logos (Luvaas, 2008)
Indonesian design label Unkl347 amalgamates well known logos (Luvaas, 2008)

Subcultural movements reoccur in surprising contexts for a variety of reason. Indonesian youth culture is quite unique, as its relationship with the West is partially limited. However there is a huge ideological division between the progressive younger generation and the conservative older generation. Indonesia’s punk movement is led by passionate youths who also rebel against political hegemony. They collaborate with communities, farmers, workers collectives and activist campaigns to “create real and meaningful change. However big or small.” (Melville, 2014, para 23). Independent fashion label Unkl347 pays homage to British punk in its graphic designs that amalgamate and edit well-known logos, including the Nike tick and the Xerox logo. “DIY practices of punk-rock… surfaced in Indonesia in the 1990s through mail-order catalogues and imported magazines and has been growing since” (Luvaas, 2008, para 12). Like the ‘Maternity Dress’ and the ‘I HATE Pink Floyd’ T-shirt, Unkl347 bring various elements together to form a post-modern pastiche. The Indonesian context is unique, in that it “can account for a contingent, fractured, intermittent, yet powerfully influential relationship between globalization and subjectivities” (Boellstorff, 2003, para 3).

Post-modern design manifests in many different ways that involve all sorts of people, evidentially in New York, Britain and Indonesia. “Postmodernism, even if it had originally been a story that was invented by white men like Charles Jencks, rapidly became something that everybody could participate in” (Milliard, 2011, para 5).


Boellstorff, T. 2003, ‘Dubbing culture: Indonesian gay and lesbi subjectivities and ethnography in an already globalized world’, American Ethnologist, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 225-42.

Brill, D. and Muggleton, D. 2011, ‘Subcultural Dress’, Part 9: Peoples and Dress, Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, vol. 8

Jencks, C. 2002, The New Paradigm in Architecture: The Language of Post-modernism, Yale University Press, Yale

Luvaas, B. 2008, ‘Global fashion, remixed’, Inside Indonesia, viewed 29 April 2015 <;

Melville, K. 2014, ‘Indonesian Punk: Punk’s not dead!’, radio transcript, viewed 29 April 2015, <;

Milliard, C. 2011, ‘PoMos in Paradise: 6 Views of Postmodernism From the V&A’s New Show’, Artinfo UK, viewed 29 April 2015, <;

Victoria and Albert Museam, 2011, ‘Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990’, exhibition introduction, viewed 29 April 2015 <>

Image 2: Sex Pistols Experience, 2012, ‘Old News’, viewed 29 April 2015, <;

POST C – Cross-cultural experiences of politics and religion

Maddy Wilcox-Kerr is a 21-year old UNSW student who is currently studying in Yogyakarta. She is halfway through a six-month exchange program and feels somewhat settled into the Indonesian lifestyle. As someone with the same age, cultural background and social demographic, she is the perfect subject to interview as her observations are contextually applicable.11152676_579572738852554_969386313303435239_n

Religion and politics had a conflicting relationship in 20th century Indonesia. Following the ban of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1996, Indonesians avoided any leftist persuasion and were therefore united by the moral groundings of Islam. Javanese “abangan”, a looser, syncretic branch gradually merged with the orthodox “santri” Islam (Hasan, 2014). Today, Indonesians have adopted a unique and practical rendition of this ancient religion. Maddy points out that “women will wear jilbab’s and cover there shoulders, but are happy to breastfeed in public “.

Over the past fifty years, younger Indonesians have become less politically grounded, perhaps because there is no experiential fear of genocide. As Maddy says, “I hang around students a lot and politics is rarely talked about. I have noticed that the younger students are more liberal and don’t believe in the death penalty etc. However if you talk to someone of the older generation he or she treat his or her president like a god and assume that any decision he makes is correct”.

Corruption seems to be systemic in recent Indonesian governments. Transparency International (2015) places Indonesia 107th worst out of 177 countries for institutional corruption. Kurniawan (2012) describes communist parties as “stationary bandits” and governments moving towards democracy as “roving bandits”, whose corruption is intensified by its limited timeframe.11034227_10153148019207629_7743584389382622920_n

The past few governments – particularly the previous one led by Yudhoyono – have hardly aligned with the democratic goals of the current Reformasi era (Kurniawan, 2012). The Indonesian Constitution states that it protects religious freedom (article 29 [2]), however instead of helping Ahmadis and Shiite refugees, “Yudhoyono’s religious affairs minister asked them to convert to Sunni Islam” (Rafsadi, 2014, para 10). Maddy’s experience confers “there is a political pressure to identify as a certain religion because a citizen has to have it written on their ID cards even if they aren’t practicing. This is because the government is yet to accept atheism”.

Recently, political parties seem confused as to whether they identify as Muslim leaders promoting faith or secular parties protecting religious minorities. The 2008 Pornography Act sought to dissuade public displays of affection and Islamic principles such as sex before marriage (Pausacker, 2008). But such an extreme and ambiguously worded law is hard to implement. As Maddy observes, “to be honest I haven’t even noticed the implementation of this law… I know that it is common for young people to have sex before marriage and even though people dress conservative and put up a super innocent front a lot of the youth do quite ‘naughty’ things”.

Maddy’s observations have informed the notion that Indonesia is ideologically conflicted in regards to religion and politics. In the younger generation, there is a shift towards indifference; “most of the young people I hang out with don’t care what the Quran tells them to do”. This is only reflective as the next stage in Indonesia’s historically volatile religious and political current.



Hasan, P.A.R, 2014, ‘Why Islam matters in Indonesian politics’, The Conversation, Paramida, viewed 27 April 2015, <;

International Transparency, 2015, ‘Corruption by country/territory’, viewed 27 April 2015, <;

Kurniawan, B. 2012, ‘Democracy and corruption in Indonesia’, The Jakarta Post, Bandar Lampung, viewed 27 April 2015, <;

Pausacker, H. 2008, ‘Hot Debates’, Inside Indonesia, viewed 20 April 2015 <;

Rafsadi, I. 2014, ‘Is a new law enough to protect religious minorities in Indonesia?’, The Conversation, Paramadina, viewed 26 April 2015 <;

All images courtesy of Maddy Wilcox-Kerr

POST C- Interview with Theresia

I was able to have a conversation with Theresia, a 3rd year Product Design student at UTS who migrated from Jakarta and now lives in Pyrmont, Sydney. We spoke about the life in general and education after coming to Australia and how it feels in comparison to living in Indonesia

We were able to have a great casual conversation. We started of with talking the time she came to Australia with her parents and her younger brother at a young age about more than 10 years ago. We went straight into talking about visiting Indonesia, which she visits nearly every year in the holidays and said she is planning to visit there again at the end of semester. “When asked how it felt to have arrived in Australia for the first time? “She was to the point on the fact “it was basically hard for the firsts time…because everything changes, we have to say bye to friend to indo and I had to take care of ourselves” as when she was in indo “there were elderly to take care of me” and now that she was starting to live the typical Australian lifestyle as parents go to work and kids are alone at home “she had to take care of herself” which she expressed as huge change in her life.

As we moved on there was interesting revelation as we spoke about her expectations in the education system in Australia that in comparison to Indonesia. She went on to say her expectation were different starting of with her studies in 5th year of primary schooling. She pointed out there was a needed to “catch up with the grammar” and the Australian slangs. It was also put into my attention when asked further about the intensity of entering schooling in Indonesia that the education system was harder in comparison and examples given were “if your not doing well, you had to repeat” and study period was “intense where we have to go early at 7 O’clock (am) and finish at 5 O’ Clock (pm), and the fact that tutors were needed for primary students as well as high school students. Theresia mentioned that she failed a year in Indonesia, but when she started her year in primary she was allowed to progress to fifth year straight away. This shows the different levels of intense study being practiced between the two countries, where one is strict the other being more lenient. One of the reason for this intensity is due to the fact that the Indonesia education system is a dismal enterprise because of corruption, a lack of resources, bad teacher training, bad teacher attitudes and practices (Readers Forum 2010, Jakarta Post). But the new administration under President Joko Widodo are fixing the issue with help from his new education secretary, Anies Baswedan, a former university president and creator of a programme that sends graduates to teach in remote areas ( The Economist 2014)

Primary students studying
Primary students studying.


Reader Forum 2010, “Letter: Bad education practices”, Jakarta Post, viewed on 1 May 2015 <>

2014 “School’s In”, The Economist, Viewed on 1 May 2015 <;


2014 “School’s In”, The Economist, Viewed on 1 May 2015 <;

Post D: The People of The Coral Triangle

The Coral Triangle – An underwater amazon that encompasses an area half the size of the United States and harbours more marine species than anywhere else on the planet. For centuries, it has been home to a Bajau ethnic group, a Malay people sprawled across the mass of ocean between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia (Matador Network 2014). Born and raised at sea, their entire lives are spent wandering beneath the waves. Their bodies have amazingly adapted to physically harvest the ocean floor; they are the underwater ballerinas; the Bajau Laut sea nomads of Indonesia.

1122The origins of the Bajau settlement are not entirely clear, however linguistic evidence has traced the ethnic group back to the 9th century, to what is now the southern Philippines (Matador Network 2014). Thought to have migrated south in considerable numbers, they are believed part of a regional trade prospered under the wealthy Malay sultanates from the 15th century onwards (Matador Network 2014), although the Bajau recount their origins through a different tale. Their legend tells the story of a Malaysian princess who was washed away in a flash flood. Her grief-stricken father ordered his subjects to depart the kingdom, only to return once they’d found his daughter. They’ve been wandering ever since (Matador Network 2014).



Incredibly, over the generations, the Bajau have adapted to their maritime environment, learning from an early age how to hold their breath for minutes at a time. They have even been commonly known to deliberately rupture their eardrums so that they can eventually dive without pain (Matador Network 2014). For the most part, they are sustained completely by the ocean. For centuries they lived on small, dilapidated boats, but in the recent decades controversial government groups have forced them to settle on land (James Morgan Film and Photography 2013). Reluctant to give up the ocean, many remain inseparable from the sea and have built their homes – fragile, wooden-stilted dwellings in the shallow bays on the waters edge (Matador Network 2014). To the Bajau, every reef, tide and current is thought of as a living entity; that the ocean is filled with spirits that govern their lives (Matador Network 2014).


It is hard to believe that this group of people who have such a sacred regard for the ocean, play a detrimental role in the common practice of destructive fishing techniques amongst the coastal populations of the Coral Triangle (James Morgan Film and Photography 2013). Using homemade fertiliser bombs and potassium cyanide, they have decimated reefs but also claimed many lives and injuries within their community (Lost in Internet 2014).

The destruction is predominantly driven by the live fish trade – an industry with a global worth estimated at one billion US dollars. A devastating 50% of all imports come from Indonesia (James Morgan Film and Photography 2013). Reef-bombing is not isolated to the individuals in the Bajau community, it is a regional phenomenon (Aljazeera 2012). With a significant depletion of marine life, the Bajau have to some extent been forced to resort to these illegal methods of fishing in order to sustain their biological lifestyle. Nonetheless, it is truly saddening, for what was once a rarefied, untainted species of man, who for centuries nurtured their beautifully complex respect for the ocean, has been infected with the toxic nature of the modernized man.

77James Morgan 2011, People of the Coral Triangle, motion film, Vimeo, viewed 1 May 2015, <>.

Matador Network 2014, Last of the Sea Nomads, Johnny Langenheim, viewed 1 May 2015, <;.

(James Morgan Film and Photography 2013), Bajau Laut: Last of the Sea Nomads, viewed 1 May 2015, <>.

Lost in Internet 2014, Bajau Laut: Last of the Sea Nomads, James Morgan, viewed 1 May 2015, <;.

Aljazeera 2012, Poverty and Development: Indonesia’s Last Nomadic Sea Gypsies, viewed 1 May 2015, <>.


Matador Network 2014, Last of the Sea Nomads, Johnny Langenheim, viewed 1 May 2015, <;.

Blog Post A – Indonesia Fashion Forward

Blog Post A

Indonesia, a developing country that, at 12.7%, houses the largest Muslim population in the world (Map of the world 2015), have a very significant impact on the Muslim fashion industry. With a little over 202 million citizens (Map of the world 2015) that identify themselves as Muslims, the traditional Muslim dress has taken the spotlight in Indonesian fashion scene and is being revolutionised by designers into stylish, modern pieces.

The Indonesian fashion design industry is beginning to be noticed by the government, resulting in the implementation of the Indonesian Fashion Forward Program (Jakarta Fashion Week 2015). The reasoning behind the support of the government is due to the enormous economical benefits that the fashion industry provides, with the employment of 3 million designers and garment traders and an estimate worth of nearly $100 billion in the industry (New York Post 2013).

Jakarta Fashion Week 2013, Rony Zakaria 2013
Jakarta Fashion Week 2013, Rony Zakaria 2013

The Jakarta Fashion week in 2013 highlights the revolution of Muslim wear with designers such as such as Nur Zahra, which showcased Muslim clothing could be modest while also being fashionable and modern (Nur Zahra 2014). The company’s vision is to expand Muslim Fashion to women who are new to the Hijab and those who aren’t by creating intricate yet modest designs through the use of a special Japanese tie-dying technique called Shibori (Nur Zahra 2014).

Sacagawea Collection, Nur Zahra 2014
Nur Zahra 2014, Sacagawea Collection

Another technique making a come back is Batik, meaning ‘to dot’ in Javanese (Batik Box). Batik is a traditional fabric dyeing process that involves either ‘batik tulis’, or hand drawn, and ‘batik cap’, stamped, designs (Batik Box). The Batik is special in that every different region has it’s own unique symbols, prints and processes that have been part of their local culture for thousands of years. However, many young Indonesian regard the Batik as an “old fashioned” technique and look that isn’t modern or trendy. Fashion Designer Dian Wahyu Utami took a different approach by modernising the traditional batik prints through the use of bright, rich colours in cuts that are both comfortable and fashionable.

Indonesia’s government is pushing fashion forward with a focus on their local designers, while Indonesian fashion designers continue to examine the modernisation of traditional Muslim garments through both traditional techniques such as Batik and cross cultural methods such as Shibori. The result of this revolution could push the Indonesian fashion scene to take the main stage globally especially in countries such as India, estimating to take over Indonesia as the highest populated Muslim country by 2050 (The Times of India 2015)

Batik Box, About Batik, Indonesia, viewed on 20 April 2015, <>

Jakarta Fashion Week 2015, Indonesia Fashion Forward, Indonesia, viewed on 20 April 2015, <>

Maps of World 2014, Top ten Countries with Largest Muslim Population, viewed on 20 April 2015, <;

Miller, T 2009, Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population, Pew Research Center, America, viewed on 20 April 2015

Muslim Village 2012, Muslim Fashion light up Jakarta Fashion Week, Indonesia, viewed on 20 April 2015, <>

New York Post 2013, Indonesian designers aim to lead Muslim fashion industry, New York, viewed on 20 April 2015, <>

NurZahra 2014, About us,  Indonesia, Viewed on 20 April 2015, <>

The Times of India 2015, By 2050, India to surpass Indonesia, will have largest Muslim population: Study, India, viewed on 20 April 2015, <>


NurZahra 2014, Sacagawea Collection,  Indonesia, Viewed on 20 April 2015, <;

Rony Zakaria 2013, Jakarta Fashion Week 2013, Jakarta, viewed on 20 April 2015, <;

POST C: Daily Life and Design.

For my interview I was lucky enough to interview Kimberly, originally from Jakarta, Indonesia she moved to Australia as it was seen by her and her family as a better education, and now studies Architecture at UTS.

To start of with I asked a few general questions about culture and life on the street in jakarta , I asked about how they use public space:

“Public space is used to build shopping malls as people tend to hang out at malls. There’s almost no place in the street to hang around, as it is not a very safe area.”

I also asked about how a typical day would be living in Jakarta, and if anything is different or similar between life in Australia and Indonesia.

“The campuses around jakarta are usually located near the malls so that people will hang out at the malls after classes. Its slightly different from Australian’s life style as i have to work here and do everything myself like doing my laundry, catching public transport, whereas in Indonesia we have maid and driver of our own. “


I found these two questions really interesting, which seems from the answers as if pretty much of the social life in Indonesia is around the malls. ( for youth anyway)

To move on from these more general questions I wanted to ask her more about her experience with design in Indonesia since she is involved in design in her culture, I asked what her favourite designer was from indonesia and she said it was a group of Architects called Willis Architects located in Jakarta. The reason for this choice was:

“They designed a lot of famous restaurants in indonesia, jakarta and bali in particular.”

“I love the way they designed it and the material they chose.”

(Wills & Kusuma, 2015)
(Wills & Kusuma, 2015)

They have designed such interiors such as the Ocha Bella(), which in the names means East meets West, and the materials they chose reflects this heavily in the design.These architects are creating fantastic interiors and buildings, symbolising the rise of indonesian architecture, alongside its art and design(Wills & Kusuma, 2015). There is a distinct western influence in most of the design they do , when I asked kimberly if there was an increasing influence from the Western world on the culture/design in Indonesia she said:

“They do influence Indonesia in those areas, such as the modern building and interior design. However, in the recent years, people to start combining our own culture (such as batik) with the western world resulting in a distinct outcome.”

I think Batik is an interesting example although the process it is made with remains the traditions using a negative dye process, the patterns have adapted over time which  can portray designs from fairy tales and movies.(Hollie,G. 1982) and even now the Indonesians are doing Batik Friday, there version of casual friday.(Hasyim Widhiarto, 2011)

I also found a unique difference between the street scapes of Australia and Jakarta with my last question asking to describe both Australia And Indonesia in 5 words or less:

Australia: Democratic. Free. Independent. Settle. Safe. Laid back.

Jakarta: Beautiful. Hierarchy. Patriotism. Developing. Social gap. Busy.


Wills & Kusuma, 2015. “Works – Viewed 01/05/2015<>

Hasyim Widhiarto, 2011, “ Administration calls for all-in batik day this Friday” Viewed 01/05/2015,<>

Hollie,G. 1982, “Indonesian batik: artistry by design.”The New York Times, July 11, 1982, Vol.131, Accessed 01/05/2015

Blog Post B – Food Wastage in Australia

Australian households “ throw away food worth $7.8 billion a year” (Foodwise 2013, para. 4), which amounts to 38% of all household waste in NSW. With over $158 billion spent on food, australian throw as much as 20% of it in the rubbish bin every year (ABC 2013), it has become a significant issue both economically and ethically. Fortunately, two not-for-profit organisations in Australia is trying to change that, with both statistics, education and food trucks.

FoodWise, a national educational campaign run by Do Something, an American non-profit organisation, who’s vision is to “ to reduce the environmental impact of Australia’s food consumption” (FoodWise 2013, para. 6). They have created a series of infographics that inform the public about food wastage in Australia, and provide statistic to measure food wastage such as “up to 40% of Australia household bin is food” (FoodWise 2013, para. 3). They express the importance of sustainbility in the context of food by purchasing and eating seasonal foods, and to reduce food waste such as household organic bins and compost. Jon Dee, the founder of FoodWise expresses that the way to “eat our way to a better future” (FoodWise 2013, para. 13) is a long process that can be resolved by educating the Australian population how frightening “the energy and resources it takes to get food all the way from the paddock to the plate.” (FoodWise 2013, para.5)

Fact Sheet, Foodwise 2013
Foodwise 2013, Fact Sheet

OzHarvest is another significant non-profit organisation that attempts to solve the food wastage issue in Australia. OzHarvest is the “first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia” (Ozharvest 2014, para. 1) which collects excess food from commercial outputs such as restaurants and delivers it to over 600 charities all around Australia to provide for people in need (OzHarvst 2014).

They deliver the excess food in what is now called a “food truck” (Weekend Notes 2014) with over 32 million meals delivered, saving over 10,000 tones of food being wasted (OzHarvest 2014). The founder Ronni Kahn founded the organisation in 2004, with the intention of revolutionising the food wastage issue in the hospitality industry. In order to ensure the quality of food that is being donated to OzHarvest, Kahn had managed to change the existing legislation of “supplying excess food under the Civil Liabilities Amendment Act and Heath Acts” (OzHarvest 2014, para. 2) to protect the recipient from eating food items that have gone bad.

OzHarvest Tree Of Goodness, Weekend notes 2014
Weekend notes 2014, OzHarvest Tree Of Goodness

Both organisation strive to change the food wastage issue in Australia through different means, and highlight the issue of how much food both household and the hospitality industry waste. It is a very important issue that should be pondered upon as there are many people starving in Australia, and need to be taken care of, especially the homeless population in Australia (FoodWise 2013).


Dee, J 2013, ‘Australia needs a food waste strategy’,ABC, 5 June 2013, viewed 15 April 2015, <>

Fact Check 2013, ‘Do Australians waste $8 billion worth of edible food each year?’, ABC, 15 October 2013, viewed 15 April 2015, <>

FoodWise 2013, Food Waste Fast Facts, Australia, viewed 15 April 2015,< >

FoodWise 2013, The Campaign, Australia, viewed 15 April 2015,< >

OzHarvest 2014, OzHarvest: What we do, Australia, viewed 15 April 2015, <>

Weekend Notes 2014, OzHarvest Tree Of Goodness, viewed 15 April, 2015, <>


Factwise 2013, Fact Sheet Infographic, Australia, viewed 15 April 2015, <;

Weekend notes 2014, OzHarvest Food Trucks Deliver Produce to Charitable Organisations in Adelaide, Adelaide,  viewed on 15 April 2015, <;

POST D- Documentary: China Benteng- A Poetry

This documentary looks to capture parts of the vibrant life of the Chinese Benteng community. The filmmaker explains at the beginning this minority group referred to a community of Chinese Indonesians residing in Tangerang Area, in the province of Banen. Which was one occupied by the Dutch colonists. They have been known to live there since 1407 CE. This post will follow on the various lifestyles lead by this mix cultural populace and try to understand their perspective in short.

Keep in mind the people living in Tangerang are mostly farmers who have been following the family business since their arrival to the land and are quite isolated in the sense, by their environment; which is mostly of pastures, livestock and green-calm surrounding which in comparison to a rough, crowded, loud city life of Jakarta (Donenfeld, J 2013) which is an hours away. What’s more interesting is the fact the Benteng Chinese upholds to both the old Chinese and Betwai traditions which has been passed down from generations to generations like that of Lim Tjoan a 75 year old farmer who have retired from farming with his “…field work is now handled by my children” (Leo. P.J 2012), which is quite impressive in this day and age where many of the traditional understanding and knowledge is lost as new technologies and influences take its place. This show of cultural richness is further evidently shown at the start of the video where the people celebrate the ‘Dragon Boat’ festival, which started 2300 years ago when the Chou Dynasty ruled China (1122 – 256 BC) and has been celebrated to this very day as rememberence. And if you look in further there is a second layer of family traditions showcased when the “bride is combed by her brother three times in a row” (TheKotatua 2013, 9:20) a ritual with the filmmaker explaining that each comb has a meaning. In other times there is the traditional values that you hold on to as an individual which is shown in the video when the ducks are released into the water and the “people jumps into the river to catch ducks, which is believed will bring luck” (TheKotatua 2013, 22:43). It seems absurd to watch these occurrences being performed but if you look closely at its core reasoning, a sense of unity can be seen being bought to the community. It echoes togetherness and show of strength in a mental and physical sense towards the hardships and suppression the people of Tangerang had to endure over the past.

Participants of one of the dragon boats winning the race.
Participants of one of the dragon boats winning the race.

Today the Benteng Chinese culture is a mixture of Chinese and Betwai cultures, the Betwai being the indigenous people of Jakarta. These ties of mix tradition encourages a lifestyle which can be challenging but at the same time interesting to live by. Never the less there is no compromise for togetherness and that’s the key that holds this community together.


Donenfeld. J 2013, Back to City Life in Jakarta, Indonesia, weblog, viewed on 30 April 2015 < >

Leo. P.J 2012, ‘The life of Benteng Chinese’, The Jakarta Post, online, Jakarta, viewed on 30 April 2015 <;

Donenfeld. J 2013, Back to City Life in Jakarta, Indonesia, weblog, viewed on 30 April 2015 < >

TheKotatua 2012, China Benteng- A Poetry, Youtube, viewed on 30 April 2015<>

 Images and Videos

TheKotatua 2012, China Benteng- A Poetry, Youtube, viewed on 30 April 2015<>

Participants of one of the dragon boats winning the race“, taken from the video.  TheKotatua 2012, China Benteng- A Poetry, Youtube, viewed on 30 April 2015<>

POST A: Preservation in Java, dubbing in Jakarta – the value of understanding unalike framework

The importance of context can be viewed by a push and pull system between the new and the old. New and different experiences changing the shape of paradigms facilitate valuable deviations of everyday life – while the old framework keeps the momentum and stability going which maintains the foundation of the narrative to begin with. Designing can be a very isolated or applied action depending on your intentions, when designing for a particular context one’s intentions are far more direct and targeted to that particular framework’s wants and needs. Understanding the very fabric you are designing for is fundamental to the significance of said designs – an example of which is found when examining the response to the declining forests and landscapes in Indonesia.

Geological sketch of the Citatah Crater - Dr. Budi Brahmantyo
Geological sketch of the Citatah Crater – Dr. Budi Brahmantyo

Dr. Budi Brahmantyo, geologist and artist calls attention to the significance of preservation in Java with his hand drawn geological sketches. Belonging to a small production space in Indonesia, Brahmantyo harnesses the current environmental context of West Java with the traditional practice of hand rendering geological landscapes. With the art of preservation becoming wildly concerning to the Javanese, Budi Brahmantyo’s artworks and teachings have reared the concept of ‘Geotourism’. Budi and his colleges at the University have designed ‘Geotreks’ for students, journalists and other patrons to visit places of geological issues, and they are encouraged to capture the phenomenon through drawing. With this – artist and doctor Brahmantyo has reacted to the pressing environmental concern within Indonesian context and designed not only visually beautiful artworks but raised awareness landslides, volcanic eruptions, foresting, mining and many more.

GeoTrek Indonesia - Tour Snapshot from
GeoTrek Indonesia – Tour Snapshot from

“Geotourism is a way to convey geological issues to general public. It is actually intended to make people aware of environmental conditions in Bandung. People need to know and care about the problems that are arising and will arise” In this sense this individual has emerged from his context and facilitated the narrative in a valuable way through his designs – supplying something of designerly substance to framework that was demanding it.

Agora in Mall Taman Anggrek, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Agora in Mall Taman Anggrek, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Context is the way in which we are born and raised, it affects every decision we make and informs why we care about certain issues, whether environmental, social, economical, spiritual or political. AbdouMaliq discusses the value in introducing new ideas to contextual framework “bringing differences into some kind of relationship produces unforeseen capacities and experiences that are valuable-valuable because they extend what we think is possible.” While those who have been surrounded by the mountainous landscapes of West Java find its deterioration a pressing issue – the paradigm of Jakarta and its citizens is unalike and calls for a different design consideration. Immersed in its absolutely saturated ‘cityness’ – Jakarta faces problems with movement and consumption, and this is portrayed in their ‘cut and paste’ like artworks and clothing. The citizens of Central Java, being bombarded by consumerist culture and dense populations struggle to find economic autonomy and identity – as a result have taken to grasping at western logo’s and fusing them with other logos or motifs. This form of design can seem like a blind capitalist collage but with understanding of Jakarta’s youth – trying to navigate city life and globalisation – it is an attempt at entrepreneurship and urban politics.

Print design from Unkle347, commenting on consumerism
Print design from Unkle347, commenting on consumerism

Jakarta is a jungle of urban politics where the poor are picked at by local officials and must band together in Kampungs for social stability. Designer Dendy Darman discusses fashion label Unkl347 and image theft for means of creation. “What matters is whether a designer is ‘conscious’ of what they are doing. Consciousness, Dendy claims, is what separates the pirates – the low-level capitalists popping up in city streets and dimly-lit warehouses throughout the archipelago – from the cut ’n’ pasters like him.”

In this sense, as individuals navigate different communities and circumstances – the very things they try to comprehend and hold value to are fundamental to designing for context. Designing for different contexts means examining the unique concerns and details of a circumstance and producing something that resonates with these values. If you contrast these values often this can be a significant comment as well – but ignoring the details of a context often results in a redundant design that doesn’t permeate any viable need to anyone.

Bernadette Keil


– Bdg, J. (2011). Geotrek Indonesia ~ Kawah Cibuni (2/2). [image] Available at: [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

– Hawe Setiawan, H. (2013). Preserving landscapes – Inside Indonesia. [online] Inside Indonesia. Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2015].

– Luvaas, B. (2008). Global fashion, remixed – Inside Indonesia. [online] Inside Indonesia. Available at: [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

– Simone, A. (2010). City life from Jakarta to Dakar. New York: Routledge.

– Theunis, R. (2012). Agora in Mall Taman Anggrek, Jakarta, Indonesia. [image] Available at: [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

-Unkl347, (2011). [image] Available at: – [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].

POST B- Converting Plastic to Fuel

Land solid waste is known to be one of the major contributors of world pollution, and its an area that some countries both developing and non-developing struggle to find a solution to. Even though some countries such as Sweden with its ability to recycle 99% of its waste with its state of the art machines, other countries like India with its 1. 3 billion population compared to 9.6 million of the former is not having much luck. It’s no news then India is one of the largest polluters of landfill.

The urban India generates around 188,500 tonnes of MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) -68.9 million tonnes per year- and waste generation increases by 50% every decade (Annepu R). and the Landfill space dedicated to them is depleting as every days goes by, with many cities faced with having more waste than they can hold. This is due to the lack of the right kind of infrastructure to implement the waste separation methods that has lead to most of the by-products from the recycling process being diverted to water and air, adding more to the pollution cycle.

A municipal solid waste open dump site near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India Credit: Ranjith Annepu
A municipal solid waste open dump site near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Credit: Ranjith Annepu

The main reasons for the decline of infrastructure are the depreciation in financial input to the recycling programs and lack of Data and awareness of the problem at hand. That being said efforts are being made to look into cheaper alternatives by allowing ‘Waste to Energy’ companies from China and South East Asia to establish their presence in the country, which would allow India to gain access to their technology for more knowledge and expertise in this area.

As part of this increased understanding, a pilot program has been initiated in the State of Pune, under the Indian civic government body, Pune Municipal Corporation. The focus of the program is to convert plastic, one of the large waste culprits into fuel for power generators. “Rudra Environmental Solutions, the company behind the technology seek to convert 9000 kg of plastic a month into 5400 litres of fuel “(Waste Plastic to fuel pilot project in India), the process follows Gasolysis which is the decomposition of a condensed substance by heating, it does not involve reaction with oxygen, a catalyst for carbon emissions, to generate poly fuels, the result is high heat value without effecting the environment. “The residue from the plant comes out in the form of tart that can be used for road-repairing” making this an environmental friendly alternative to waste recycling.

Rudra Environmental Solutions will collect the waste plastic from the ward and sell the resultant fuel
Rudra Environmental Solutions will collect the waste plastic from the ward and sell the resultant fuel

In the many attempts involved in coming up with better waste management, the use of Gasolysis by Rudra Environmental Solutions is shedding a possible light to a more economical solution which could be used by other developing countries and lead ourselves to a better future of living.


Annepu R, A Billion Reasons for waste to energy in india, Waste Management World, Website, Viewed on 30 April 2015 <>

Waste Plastic to fuel pilot project in India, Waste management World, last viewed 30 April 2015 <>

2010, “Plant processing plastic into liquid fuel devised”, Sakal Times, Web, Viewed on 30 April 2015 <>


Annepu.R, A municipal solid waste open dump site near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India <;

Rudra Environmental Solutions will collect the waste plastic from the ward and sell the resultant fuel ,Viewed on 1 May 2015<;