On May 5, 1923, the Dutch colonial government erected a VLF radio telegraphic transmitter in West Java, one of the most powerful arc transmitters ever built, with the mission of projecting airwaves back to the Netherlands.
In March 2020, the present-day Indonesian government embarked on its plan to reactivate the ruins of the station as a historic site and tourist attraction. Radio Malabar was originally constructed in an area traditionally known as Parahyang (the abode of hyang). “Hyang” has its roots in indigenous animism, describing either divine or ancestral entities who possess supernatural powers and invisibly inhabit high places such as hills, mountains, and volcanoes.
Tellurian Drama explores the living landscape surrounding Mount Papandayan and Mount Puntang, the complex stratovolcano in West Java used as a suspension point for the transmitter. It tracks the story of Radio Malabar’s enmeshment with cascading histories of colonial rule, ancient Indigenous spiritual belief, and ecological resistance movements across the 20th and 21st centuries. Examining colonial ruins as an apparatus for geoengineering technologies.
164 pages, 11 x 18 cm, softcover, Jordan, Jordan Édition (Jakarta).