Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Abstract at ASEASUK Conference, September 2016

As you probably know,  I am co-organizing a panel at ASEASUK (Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the UK) with Tito Imanda. The panel's title is The Politics of Tastes in Southeast Asian Cinema. The conference will be held at SOAS University of London, 16-18 September.

unfortunately, last month, a presenter in our panel has withdrawn from the conference. So, we decided to put my own abstract as the substitute.

Here's the abstract:

 The Politics of Tastes of New Order’s Cultural Elites 

As non-state agents, cultural elites along with the government played important roles in cultural history of Indonesia in New Order period (1966-1998). Krishna Sen overviews history of Indonesian Cinema in New Order in one sentence: “The New Order inherited a cinema that expressed a highly individualist and elitist approach to society” (Sen 1994, 94). In the Indonesian context, culture elites are a group of prominent figures who share the same ideology and mostly belong to nationalist wing who try to play a role as, In Toynbee’s term, a group of “creative minority”. Krishna Sen describes them as “the tiny urban, educated, national political elites, which since independence had been bound by personal ties that bridged ‘conflict of interest’ and ideology” (Sen 1994, 27). The phenomenon can be read in articles written by most prominent film critics, journalists, historians, and academia such as Asrul Sani (poet, cultural thinker, prominent writer, award-winning scriptwriter, director), Rosihan Anwar (senior journalist), Sumardjono (filmmaker), Misbach Jusa Biran (film historian, founder of Sinematek Indonesia, filmmaker), and Salim Said (film scholar). They also played roles in some film institutions and organizations, such as Festival Film Indonesia, censorship board, National Film Council (Dewan Film Nasional). They wanted to frame Indonesian film to fit in the concept of film nasional (national film), where the goals were to “search Indonesian faces on screen” (1978) and should be “with cultural and educational purposes” (Film Kultural Edukatif, 1982-1983) (2010). In this paper, I will elaborate why and how Indonesian cultural elites in New Order era have tried to exclude local exploitation films from the discourses of concept and official history of national cinema and national film cultures, and tried to negotiate with various kinds of politics of tastes. By investigating archives such as film policies and media clippings, I will underline the taste battle between the government and cultural elites and other stakeholders, namely local film producers-distributors-exhibitors (including Layar Tancap/traveling cinema companies), and domestic mainstream audience, as well as international distributors.

To read all of  the panels and abstracts, click here
For the schedule: here
For film-related panels: here