Robert Jelinek - Indo Visions

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Introduction by Robert Jelinek
I like coincidences. On the way just before Prambanan in Java, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, twenty meters from the main road stands an unusual house for the area. The house consists of two circular cylinder-shaped towers that are joined together and the two pointed roofs are made of palm leaves. I asked my driver Ikke Ramadhani Arswendo to make a short stop there. Right after we had parked the motorcycle, we were warmly greeted by the owner Iswanti Suparma and her family. There was a house inspection and my driver and I learned that this house was made with soil bags. With sandbags we associate mainly images of floods, war zones, or sacks of grain in relief supplies in famine regions. In Java, thousands of people died at the earthquake in 2006, hundreds of thousands lost their home, even the Prambanan temple was thereby largely destroyed. The sandbag is not only a symbol of war and misery, by »Earth-Bag-Building« he gets a new dimension. Sandbag as a building material of the future for inexpensive and safe houses. And the plaster is usually made of cow dung. With more than 90% humidity and almost 30 degree heat, the house provides a pleasant cool temperature inside.

We exchanged addresses and stayed in touch. Iswanti Suparma was a feminist activist of student and women's movement of the 80s and 90s in the military regime of former Indonesian President Suharto. She organized protests and demonstrations, wrote in newspapers about social injustices in Indonesia and is now projected as Director of Yayasan Mitra ImaDei. A institution for humanitarian and social movements for gender equality, based on the values of equality, solidarity, respect for human dignity and for human rights.

From a developing country to a emerging state it was since Indonesia's recognition as a democratic state in 2004 a short way. Probably a much too short, too many old and new problems have remained lying on the roadside. Despite globalization boom, economic boom, ratification of human rights, laws on equality between men and women and liberal Islamism it still lags behind in many social needs in the local and world community.

But Indonesia is in many ways already world champion. A country with the world's largest Muslim population, with nearly 240 million inhabitants, it ranks fourth among the most populous countries and with more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the largest island-state in the world. It is the country with the most active and dangerous volcanoes. With Borobudur is the largest ever built Buddhist temples in Indonesia. This land has the most dangerous fauna, as well as the largest monitor lizard lives on Komodo Island. Indonesia is among the top 10 manufacturing countries, leads with Kopi Luwak the most expensive coffee in Papua is the largest gold mine Grasberg and Indonesians have always been the best badminton players. And no country in the world lumbers more forest than in Indonesia - the clearing of the rainforest advances massively ahead, the majority
of the space is converted into oil palm plantations, animals and plants are eradicated.

Away from the known facts Indonesia has the world's largest and intact matriarchy in Minangkabau / West Sumatra, the first nursing home for transsexuals in Jakarta and the biggest swinger community in Genung Kemukus where monthly thousands of pilgrims and preachers meet each other for having sex.

After three weeks of research on various topics, places and people I inevitably came back to Iswanti because I realized she was the first interlocutor for my questions. In my further research, especially by the support of Mira Octaviani and Ikke Ramadhani Arswendo I came across Daniel Alamsjah, a man with divine inspiration. In 1990 Alamsjah had a vision that prompted him to buy near the Borobudur temple on the highest hill in the jungle one hectare of land and build on it, a kind of church in the form of a chicken. First, the completely secluded from the outside society system »Chicken church« has been used as rehabilitation for therapy for disabled children and drug addicts. Meanwhile, the location in the valley village benefits through the visitors' fees and maintains thereby the temple.

The third conversation resulted from my concert of the formation Jogja Noise Bombing. The collective around the musician Martinus Indra Hermawan sonicated mainly the streets of Yogyakarta with DIY synths and amplifiers. As in Indonesia, the Noise music evolved from the protest and punk movement of the nineties, is now thanks to social networks one of the flourishing scenes for Extreme and Independent Music throughout South East Asia.

Yogyakarta, April 2016

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