Seminar: The Culture of Impunity and Alternative Memories in Films: A Comparative Study of Indonesia and Thailand
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME
Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series
About the Seminar
Political violence is not uncommon in Southeast Asia. This seminar looks at artistic articulations of political violence in Indonesia and Thailand. Two controversial incidents, namely the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-1966 and the bloodshed on 6 October 1976 in Thailand, were ignited by
anti-communism sentiments and resulted in acts of violence from respective states. The consequences of these two political events are gradually and slowly addressed today but the process of justice and reconciliation is still far from complete.
The seminar will discuss the construction of state narratives and describe how current forms of arts such as documentary films are used to counter the state’s narratives in both countries. These documentaries, directed by foreigners and local film makers, have played significant roles in giving voice to victims and exposing the trivialisation of violence. 40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (2009), The Act of Killing (2012), The Look of Silence (2014), Pulau Buru: Tanah Air Beta (2016), Silence-Memories (2014) and Respectfully Yours (2016) are documentaries revealing the stories and memories of victims and perpetrators from the two incidents.
This seminar will argue that these films have become testimonial artworks in revealing victims maltreatment and exposing how violence and impunity have become the norm. Such artworks are also responsible for paving the way for ‘alternative memories’ for the nation.
About the Speaker
Chontida Auikool is a lecturer from International Studies (ASEAN-China) programme, Thammasat University, Bangkok. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Southeast Asian Studies and completed her Master’s Degree in International Relations from Thammasat University. Her research interests include Indonesia, Chinese Indonesian, conflict and violence, and Southeast Asian film. She published articles such as “The Ambivalent of Chinese – Indonesian Position in Medan, Indonesia” in Journal Lakon (Airlangga University), “Ethnic Relations in Transnational Context: The Case Study of Chinese Indonesians-Indonesians in Medan after Suharto” in The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities proceedings, “Breaking Silence of Indonesian Mass Killings between 1965 and 1966” in TU-UGM Research Seminar Making Southeast Asia and Beyond proceedings and a short article “Indomie: Political Food and Hidden Hugger in Indonesia” in Sarakadee Magazine. She is also a member of Film Kawan, an informal group organising Southeast Asian film events in Bangkok. She also published film reviews for the ASEAN film column in a Thai Magazine, Bioscope. She reviewed films such as Yasmine, Cinta Tapi Beda, As You Were, Sayang Disayang, Lilet Never Happened, The Tales of Waria.