This article analyses explorations of social and environmental problems and solutions in artistic representations of the Indonesian countryside and rural society, culture, and wisdom. It focuses on urban–rural creative collaborations that combine traditional culture and knowledge with modern technology and media, such as drones and the Internet, to empower local communities, promote artistic innovation, and enhance environmental sustainability. It seeks to demonstrate that contemporary art and media strengthen the urban–rural network and the accessibility and exchange of creative ideas and information. At the same time, the author argues that some of the causes of cultural conflict and anthropogenic disaster are embedded in forms of audio-visual representation itself. The display of urban–rural encounters in art festivals and social media can even instigate new forms of surveillance, and power and knowledge hierarchies, or reinforce regimes of consumer culture, partially responsible for the very problems the audio-visual representations and collaborations seek to address.
Research on emotion in anthropology has been supplanted by an ethnographic turn toward ‘subjectivity’, ‘embodiment’, ‘personhood’, and ‘experience’. In this article, I explore how these interrelated modes of analysis can help ethnographers to better understand the cultural processes that constitute how people feel. I show that among my Christian Dusun interlocutors in Ranau, Malaysian Borneo, the interactive engagement between subjects and their environment determined the vectors of emotional possibility in terms of belief. The intersection of religious objects (God, the Holy Spirit, Satan) and mutual obligations in the community produce what I refer to as the ‘faith network’. I trace these collective attachments to consider how ‘believing in’ regulates feeling in relation to situations of crisis, impasse, and tragedy. The combined efforts of my interlocutors, I suggest, created an active commitment that pulsated through the faith network, which sustained an intensive and defining mode of their relational experience.
This article adds to the discussion on the figure of the taṇḍa in Old Javanese literature, recently revived by Jiří Jákl in ‘The figure of the taṇḍa in Old Javanese literary and epigraphical records’, published in Bijdragen 175 (2019). In this contribution, the author clarifies his position on some points criticized by Jákl, and adds a few more thoughts on the elusive taṇḍa.