For the first event in the Colonial Spectres series, researcher and filmmaker Janilda Bartolomeu is joined by historian Caroline Drieënhuizen, curator Amanda Pinatih and scholar Robin Hartanto Honggare. They will discuss the contested histories of object collection in, during and after Dutch colonial rule in the former Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and how this practice helped forge Dutch identity.
The starting point of Colonial Spectres is the speculation that the Dutch colonial elite brought haunted objects back to the Netherlands from the Dutch East Indies, coupled with a close reading of Dutch writer Louis Couperus' 1900 novel De Stille Kracht (The Hidden Force). The aim of this three-part series is to develop a cultural reading of the spectres which, in concrete form and as memories, are interwoven with bodies, material spaces and objects in Indonesia and the Netherlands. These themes are examined from the perspective of object collections, spectral tropicalism, pre-colonial folklore and early 20th-century occultism. In this programme, the colonial spirits take centre stage and are replaced by de-colonial perspectives.
Caroline Drieënhuizen is a cultural historian. She obtained her PhD at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in 2012. She works as a teacher in cultural science at the UvA and as an assistant-professor at the Open University. In her work, she researches the development of the European colonial elite of the Dutch East Indies between 1811 and 1957, by looking at the material collections of these families. Drieënhuizen’s research into their collections not only shows how the elite functioned in Dutch and colonial society, but also how objects played a role in the achievement of status and prestige.
Amanda Pinatih is Design Curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Here, she provides the vast design collection with new perspectives. Her experimental working method is characterised by developing other forms of knowledge transfer and explores how historical collections can work participatively and associatively on younger generations. Through exhibitions and projects, she responds to today’s social, political, decolonial, environmental and economic issues. Simultaneously as a PhD candidate at the VU Amsterdam, Pinatih is researching what Indonesian objects, which came to the Netherlands during colonial times, afford in contestations of belonging for young people who self-identify as Dutch-Indonesian.
Robin Hartanto Honggare
Robin Hartanto Honggare is a writer and curator, and, presently, a PhD student at Columbia GSAPP. His current research focuses on the architectures of cultivation and the histories of colonial modernities in Southeast-Asia. He is a visiting scholar within Het Nieuwe Instituut’s research team for 2021-2022. He curated the Indonesia Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice (2014); A Conservation Story, an exhibition of five awardees of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation in Indonesia (2014); and the Universitas Pelita Harapan Architecture Triennial Waktu Adalah Ruang in Kota Tua, Jakarta (2015).
Colonial Spectres #2
And Other Spectres x TNL!
In the second event in the Colonial Spectres series, researcher and filmmaker Janilda Bartolomeu talks to filmmaker and professor Sophia Siddique Harvey and film studies professor Rosalind Galt about the position of women in Indonesia during the Dutch occupation.
Colonial Spectres #3
And Other Spectres x TNL!
In the third and closing iteration of the Colonial Spectres series, researcher Theo Paijmans and filmmaker Janilda Bartolomeu and will provide an in depth look at how the rise of Spiritism in the Netherlands coincided with the Dutch colonial occupation of Indonesia. They will continue to discuss how Couperus' novel serves as a departure point to address how spectres arise from both colonial oppression and colonial guilt.