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17000 Islands

A crowdsourcing project on the propagandistic “Taman Mini” amusement park, in which the films made by visitors lead to a dialogue about Indonesian history.

Former President Suharto of Indonesia had a dream. Despite constant tensions between various tribes and religions, he wanted to unite his people under a single nation. This is why he built the “Taman Mini” amusement park in the 1970s, one that is still open to this day. Suharto’s nationalist propaganda fascinated the Norwegian documentarian Thomas Østbye and the Indonesian director Edwin (known for fiction films like Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly and Postcards from the Zoo). Together, they made a film about the park in which they deconstruct the ideal of national unity. In this interactive version, the filmmakers invited the audience to destroy the film and create their own version. On the homepage, Indonesia appears as a mosaic of 17,000 islands, each of which consists of a film scene. Visitors to the site can pick the clips and use an online editor to cut them together, leading to the creation of a personal film. Gradually, the director’s cut of the original film is destroyed, as audience members provide their own visions of how the theme park represents Indonesia. Suharto’s one-sided picture of things makes room for the raw reality: a cacophony of voices that converse with each other. Or in the words of the filmmakers, “Break down the old image, and be part of a living map.”

Project details

Year of development :2013
Created by:Thomas Østbye & Edwin
Full project credits

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