“Phantasmagoria (făn-tăzˌmə-gôrē-ə, -gōr-) is a sequence of real or imaginary images, like those seen in a dream: constantly changing scenes composed of random elements.”
In this case about the Indonesian heritage and The Hague. In Dutch we say Indië, this is half of the original name of the former Dutch East Indies. This already refers to a politically heavy time frame of colonial times. It was an eventful time with many different perspectives on what happened, both politically and in the personal lives of the population. This ensures that almost all information to describe this period is written from someone’s perspective rather than pure factual information. Yet we live together in harmony. There are many hidden links and hints that reveal traces of Indonesia in the Hagues daily life, in the forms or architectural monuments and in the many shops that are representative of the food culture (toko’s), but also the personal objects and photographs remaining of that time. Sometimes the Indonesian traces beautifully intertwine with the culture of The Hague, sometimes it seems they don’t mix at all. And everyone approaches these traces from his/her own perspective. But these worn memories are all that is left from a generation almost going extinct, the memories and stories will fade and blend with those of the new generation. This is why this Phantasmagoria has arisen here, a meeting of all perspectives.
In this Historical Information Point (HIP, where the installation is located) is the Indonesian Family Archive (SIFA) located. They set up an archive and information center that collects and manages genealogical, biographical and iconographic data about European and Indo-European families from former Dutch Indonesia. All without judgment.
I take you into the hidden Indonesian world of the city of The Hague. The heritage that is not always visible in landmarks, architecture, culture and recognise the personal legacies around you. Become visually triggered by the information relevant to you and find your perspective. A conversation starter with the collective memory of the city of The Hague with it’s Indonesian heritage.
This installation is a bridge, a conversation starter with different forms of heritage. It provides a context for the factual information and objects that can be requested for inspection at the IFA. Because the new generation can search for information, but the factual information lacks context because they have not experienced it themselves.
The images do not provide a narrative perspective (as with a film), but atmospheric fragments that stimulate searching for personal relevant information. It takes place in recognisable parts of the Indonesian-Hague elements, but also shows the lesser known elements. When you walk back into the city and see certain elements again, this project starts living, it is essentially a motivator to search further, for more personal and factual information that can be requested at the IFA.
Indonesian culture is often regarded as the best integrated community in Dutch society. Yet much has been concealed or never discussed about the old colonial merger in the Netherlands. Many people have a superficial idea but do not know the details. General social information can be shared among each other, creating more understanding for both sides.
The HIP already is the bridge between historical archives and the public. But is quit unknown, impersonal and therefore unreachable. To appeal to young audiences and to make them aware of the history of the city that is sometimes not recognisable or visible in the city itself. To make the information more relatable for every individual without forcing a perspective. The Phantasmagoria is an informal and light medium to wonder around in. A atmospheric way of getting in contact with history and hopefully triggering curiosity. Because discovering more personal information yourself is way more satisfying then having it presented on a plate.
Some publications about this project:
With special thanks to the Indonesian Familie Archief for using there material and working space in ‘HIP Spui’. But not only the IFA helpt, at several locations I could film and use images for this installation.
So thanks for the hospitallity of :