Contesting colonial (hi)stories: (Post)colonial imaginings of South East Asia

Moschovi, Alexandra and Supartono, Alexander (2020) Contesting colonial (hi)stories: (Post)colonial imaginings of South East Asia. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 51 (3). ISSN 0022-4634

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This paper seeks to explore the impact of digital technologies upon the material, conceptual and ideological premises of the colonial archive in the digital era. This analysis is pursued though a discussion of creative work produced in the context of an international, multidisciplinary artist workshop in Yogyakarta, Indonesia that used digital material from colonial archives to critically investigate the ways national, transnational and personal (hi)stories in the former colonies have been informed and shaped by the colonial past. The analysis focuses on how the artists’ use of digital media contests and reconfigures the use, truth value and power of the colonial archive as an entity and institution. Case studies include: Thai photographer Dow Wasiksiri, who questions the archive’s mnemonic function by substituting early twentieth-century handcrafted association techniques with digital manipulation; Malaysian artist Yee I-Lann, who compresses onto the same picture plane different historical moments and colonial narratives; and Indonesian photographer Agan Harahap, who recomposes archival photographs into unlikely juxtapositions disseminated through social media. By repurposing colonial archival material and circulating their work online such a re-imag(in)ing of South East Asia not only challenges the notions of originality, authenticity, ownership and control associated with the colonial archive, but also reclaims colonial (hi)stories making them part of a democratic, expanding, postcolonial archive.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Culture > History and Politics
Photography > Photography
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design
Depositing User: Alexandra Moschovi
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2018 16:15
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2021 10:45
ORCID for Alexandra Moschovi: ORCID iD

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