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Bandung Design Residency: Travelogue #5

Evonne Mckenzie, Kendall Robbins and Sarah Colson © Sarah Colson

© Sarah Colson

Evonne Mckenzie, Kendall Robbins and Sarah Colson
 © Sarah Colson

© Sarah Colson

27 November 2014
by Sarah Colson

Another of Sarah Colson's projects developed through her residency in Bandung resulted in a video made by the community, mapping different characters and individuals in Pulosari, where Sarah was hosted. Sarah was joined by Evonne Mckenzie, Director Arts British Council Indonesia, and ADF's Kendall Robbins, Fashion Programme Manager.

Video mapping happiness

From the outside, Pulosari has all the typical characteristics of a self-built community.  It very much falls under the bracket of ‘slum’, ‘shanty town’, ‘favela’; sadly names of a derogatory leaning, but to many this is home.

The residents have worked harder than most to provide a life for their families. They have built their own homes, set up their own businesses and. against all of the odds. survived. Their community, from the outside, may look poor and unstable, but after spending time and meeting the people I realised this was not true.

Some of my time in Bandung has been spent delivering lectures to BA students: fashion, textiles, product design and architecture. Whilst delivering talks it became apparent to me the stigma imposed on these communities is fuelled by large misunderstandings.  The large mass that is considered to be regarded as a slum really has beautiful stories to tell.

I offered the opportunity for any of the students interested to participate in a collective project of ‘video mapping happiness’. I introduced the students to core members of the community and encouraged them to find other members they could build relationships with. The series of interviews spanned a diverse range conveying stories that suspired, inspired and motivated both the students and the community:

  • The small boy oozing confidence entertained the cameraman with dreams of wanting to be a footballer and a break-dancer.
  • The fisherman, who fished the waters for the past 30 years, was one of the founding members of the community.  He remembered the days when the river was clean and the catch provided a healthy income.
  • A local shop owner who has since opened 2 more shops across town, tells the story of his retirement plan.
  • And two young students talk of their dreams of becoming doctors and models in the years to come.
  • And a small girl shows us around her mother’s hair salon.

The film was screened at the annual youth event in the centre square of the community.  Over 100 people attended the event. The crowd filled with laughter each time a different member of the community appeared to tell their story. The community were proud to see their faces on the screen and excited to hear people from all over the world would hear about their small community.

 The film can be seen here.