Addressing developments in Indonesia since the fall of President Suharto’s regime in 1998, Kusno delves into such topics as the domestication of traumatic violence and the restoration of order in the urban space, the intense interest in urban history in contemporary Indonesia, and the implications of “superblocks,” large urban complexes consisting of residences, offices, shops, and entertainment venues. Moving farther back in time, he examines how Indonesian architects reinvented colonial architectural styles to challenge the political culture of the state, how colonial structures such as railway and commercial buildings created a new, politically charged cognitive map of cities in Java in the early twentieth century, and how the Dutch, in attempting to quell dissent, imposed a distinctive urban visual order in the 1930s. Finally, the present and the past meet in his long-term considerations of how Java has responded to the global flow of Islamic architecture, and how the meanings of Indonesian gatehouses have changed and persisted over time. The Appearances of Memory is a pioneering look at the roles of architecture and urban development in Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to move forward.
Abidin Kusno is Associate Professor at the Institute of Asian Research and Faculty Associate of the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory at the University of British Columbia, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Asian Urbanism and Culture. He is the author of Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space, and Political Cultures in Indonesia.
The essays draw on perspectives from diverse geo-cultural and theoretical positions including architecture, design theory and history, sociology, critical theory and cultural studies. The authors are leading and emergent figures in their fields of study and practice, and the geographic scope of the chapters ranges across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Pacific.
In recognition of the complexity of challenges that are now determining the future security of humanity, Design in the Borderlands aims to contribute to ‘thinking futures’ by adding to the increasingly significant debate between design, in the context of the history of Western modernity, and decolonial thought.
Architecture on the Borderline interrogates space and territory in a turbulent present where nation-state borders are porous to a few but impermeable to many. It asks how these uneven and conflicted social realities are embodied in the physical and material conditions imagined, produced or experienced through architecture and urbanism.
Drawing on historical, global examples, this rich collection of essays illustrates how empires, nations and cities expand their frontiers and contest boundaries, but equally how borderline identities of people and places influence or expose these processes. Empirical chapters covering Central Asia, the Asia Pacific region, the American continent, Europe and the Middle East offer multiple critical insights into the ways in which our spatial imagination is contingent on ‘border-thinking’; on the ways of being and navigating frontiers, boundaries and margins, the three themes used to organise their content. The underlying premise of the book is that sensitisation to border conditions can alter our understanding of the static physical spaces that service political or cultural ideologies, and that the view from the periphery opens up new ways of understanding sovereignty. In exploring these various spaces and their transformative subjectivities, this book also reveals the unrelenting precarity of contesting and living on the margins, and related spaces and discourses that are neglected or suppressed.