LECTURE | 11 Dec 2018 | RCMC Nooterzaal
**This event was canceled**
Susie Protschky, our 2018 Tholenaar van Raalte Fellow, will give a lecture on her research at the RCMC. Together with curators of Indonesian and photographic collections at the NMVW, Susie has investigated how archives and museum collections articulate what we can know about past disasters through material culture (including photographs, particularly in the pre-digital era), and the ‘afterlives’ of photographs that (re-)circulate beyond their initial audiences for new purposes.
High resolution, low visibility: Searching for histories in photography
This presentation examines photographs from nineteenth and twentieth-century Indonesia as objects that provide unique insights into histories of living with disaster. Susie uses photographs from the Volkenkunde and Tropenmuseum collections of the Wereldmuseum to demonstrate methods and approaches for using colonial archives, in dialogue with contemporary images and other objects, to put Indonesians in the centre of stories about natural disasters as well as war and conflict. She will focus on volcanic eruptions, and photographs from the Aceh War and the Indonesian War of Independence. These are ostensibly different kinds of catastrophe, but a key theme that cuts across both is the Indonesians who were working in disastrous contexts. These labourers have been present, and in high resolution, for more than a century––sometimes they are looking right at us, as in this photograph––but the visibility of their everyday modes of persistence and survival has largely escaped scholarly attention. This talk thus reflects on how photograph collections can illuminate historical and present-day issues of social and economic marginality, environment and vulnerability, and the ethics of spectatorship in a global media and museum context.