Interview with Dirmawan Hatta

Interview with Dirmawan Hatta

Dirmawan is a filmmaker, screenwriter and co-founder of Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat based in Central Java.

Born in 1975 in Central Java, Dirmawan Hatta is a screenwriter, researcher, and director. Since his documentary debut with The Story of Pink People (2000) his films have been widely shown in Indonesia. Having worked closely with the likes of Indonesian cinema luminaries Garin Nugroho and his daughter Kamila Andini, Dirmawan has a developed cinematic interest in the vast cultural diversity that comprises the Indonesian Archipelago. Dirmawan co-founded the Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat (Growing the People’s Cinema) initiative, which conducts screenwriting workshops, filmmaking training and participatory filmmaking programs in various rural and marginalised communities across Indonesia. Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat works with communities, non-profit organizations, industrial producers, arts and community development enthusiasts as well as academics and social activists for the development, production and dissemination of films in various corridors of interest.

We were introduced to Dirmawan Hatta’s filmmaking and his work with Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat thanks to Hikmat Darmawan, who recommended that we get in touch with him after we asked him about alternative filmmaking practice and Indigenous representation in Indonesian cinema. According to Hikmat, Istri Orang, a feature film made by a small community in Kangean and facilitated by Dirmawan, is one of the greatest achievements in Indonesian cinema of the past decade, following a strict method of participatory filmmaking. Watching Istri Orang and speaking with Dirmawan has been revelatory for us.

Throughout our research and creative work we have been preoccupied with questions of representation and participation. How do we best involve the community being represented in the filmmaking process? What does total participation look like? These are the fundamental questions addressed and tackled in the Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat approach to filmmaking, as they attempt to work outside of the industrial film mould and challenge structures and hierarchies of industrial production methods. 

In our conversation with Dirmawan, he uses specific examples drawn from his own experience to discuss the ethos and methods of Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat, as well as the practical challenges and cultural prejudices they face. The underlying mindset is always about empowering community storytelling, facilitating a filmmaking process that puts the participants' voice at the centre of every activity, be it writing, casting, filming, editing and even distribution strategy. Dirmawan insists that language is very important to the principle of self-representation in media and film, and is a central to their process.  

Hearing Dirmawan’s experience has inspired us to think more laterally about collaboration, about involving our Torajan collaborators more meaningfully and actively. It’s encouraging to know that filmmakers like Dirmawan and initiatives like Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat exist, and produce films regularly and successfully. 

Thanks Dirmawan for an inspiring discussion, we hope to stay in touch and we’ll be following your future activities closely.

Sam: Thanks for joining us Dirmawan, we really appreciate you taking the time. We have a few questions for you, but we'd also like this to be an open discussion, so please let us know if you have any questions or thoughts about our project.

Dirmawan: Thanks! So, why did you choose Makassar for your project?

Sam: We met many people in Makassar before heading to Toraja, and we met a lot of young people, young artists, through Rumata Artspace.

Dirmawan: Yes, I know of Rumata Artspace. 

Sam: We wanted to link up with Indonesian artists because we thought that our perspective on Toraja was not particularly interesting and in-depth without the contribution of Indonesian filmmakers. And so we started talking and working with young filmmakers from Makassar, one person in particular, the more we became inspired in our own practice and it became an exchange. We've also been working with this videographer in Toraja as well. So it's an exchange between three video makers. We met Afifah because she has good English and shares our passion for cinema.

Are you in Jakarta?

Dirmawan : No, I am in Magelang, which is about 40-50km from Jakarta. It is near Yogyakarta. 

Is your decision to choose Toraja related to the idea that Toraja still relies on oral traditions? Thus a project involving video and image-making became important for you guys in Australia? You mentioned digital archives as a way to transform knowledge. When people have no scripture or written texts, only oral, video becomes important, is that the reason?

Sam: That's what we were interested in theoretically. Materially, there's a very interesting difference in the transmission of local and cultural knowledge through a video and that in oral tradition. And the way that preserves culture, tradition, or some kind of knowledge and how that changes the way people understand it.

Dirmawan: For me, it is much more interesting if there’s postcolonialism involved. Even at the place where we had our film workshop in Java, we always find written history as something rare. Java is the centre of knowledge of Indonesia, more or less, but we’re still very dependent on oral histories, especially the memories of old people. Sometimes they refuse to recount memories of certain subjects, so it’s very interesting to me when somebody tries to investigate this dynamic in oral history. 

I believe that cinema can have a role that goes beyond mere spectacle.

Sam: We’re very interested in the idea of memory and creating collective memory. In my own personal experience, a lot of what I think of as memories are memories of watching videos or seeing photographs. I remember places and events because I watched them as a child. This new dynamic of image creating memory and then being able to preserve that image and memory in one particular perspective.

Dirmawan: This is my understanding of what I saw in the videos you guys sent me a few days ago: there is Torajan tradition, then there is a Torajan videographer who captures these traditions on camera, then there is an Australian filmmaker making a video about the Toraja videographer. Is that correct?

Sam: Yes, that is essentially correct.

Afifah: So Sam and I have read the Tumbuh Sinema resume. It was said that this concept came from four friends with film backgrounds who are driven to explore the creation of social justice oriented media, driven by human values. Perhaps you could tell us how Tumbuh Sinema came about and how this idea moved the four of you?

Dirmawan: Three out of four of us are film professionals in Jakarta who work in the 'industry.' Our job as filmmakers emerged from our enjoyment of making pictures where the opportunities presented by the industry were unsatisfactory. For example, we are constantly involved in projects that make films about a specific area, such as Makassar, but from the perspective of Jakartans. How do we get out of that circle? We tried to imagine a production process that would involve more of those being filmed and we, the filmmakers. Hence the term Workshop Sinema Rakyat was born.

My filmmaking experience from 2002 to 2015 was disappointing. Industrial opportunities didn't exactly meet our expectations of the filmmaking process. There were numerous issues that we wanted to discuss based on what we saw and experienced throughout Indonesia on our journeys. We saw a remarkable diversity, a visual and cultural richness that vastly surpasses the depictions in tourist brochures. And we felt that if Jakartans continued to represent local peoples and talk about an imagined Indonesia, then this major issue would continuously arise .

Afifah: Why, in your opinion, is the approach (at the Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat workshops) of involving participants and members of a certain community regarded as an important practice to apply?

Dirmawan: Let’s take the example of the film Istri Orang. No one can represent Kangean problems except the Kangeans themselves. Yes, from a filmmaking standpoint, if the film was conveyed in Bahasa Indonesian, for example, it will take on an entirely new dimension than when presented in Kangean. Who speaks Kangean best? Of course, the native Kangeans. So it is crucial to involve them, at the very least, in the language they use regularly. While the approach of this film, on the one hand, is fiction, it also departs from facts - from what indeed occurred to the people in that region where the fiction was born. So it is them who best tell the story.

If these workshops and this practice is not conducted it will always be Jakartan or urban indonesian that deal with the problems of the area rather than natives. Indonesians are  ethnically ambiguous and divers, so if the loudest opinions originate from Jakarta, thus the majority rule is from Jakarta. Take for example, the film Denias (2006). The film featured a teacher character who was employed from out of town, and this (in Indonesian cinema) occurred frequently. And, in my opinion, it’s important to address the problem of language first. 

So, when there is the need to develop a workshop in which the participants could also play as actors, crew, or even the director, we expect it to have a more genuine response to what we say about the area.

Afifah: When I was a kid, I remember watching films that represented the stories of people in remote areas; there was always the involvement of, whether it’s the characters or the actors, from the City. 

Dirmawan: That's true. I've even been involved in projects like that, one of which is the Laut Bercermin (2011) by Kamila Andini. There is a character played by Reza Rahardian who is perplexed [unsure how to engage?] when interacting with the Bajo children.

Sam: I supposed my question to you is about your personal history and how you got there from where you started. I know that you're a writer as well as a filmmaker, how you got from working in the broader film industry and fiction with industrial means of production and then transferring that to -- how you got there personally?

Dirmawan: As I told Afifah that this is part of my creative personal quest. As one of the Indonesians, I imagine that I have many cultural sources, yet my ability is limited as a creator to do it on my own. So I want to expand my creative horizon by enabling participants in our workshop to work together. Part of me is saying industrial (cinema) is very limited. I cannot propose a story in which the roles are, for example, played by only the natives of Papua or Makassar. There's always a Jakarta association here and there. I want to be more genuine with my films, which is why I conduct the workshops for People Sinema (Sinema Rakyat).

I believe that cinema can have a role that goes beyond mere spectacle. In other words, the workshop is not simply about transferring knowledge or expertise in filmmaking, but also how they are involved in their own issues and beyond, which enable them to make critical points about their problems in their daily lives.

Afifah: I found from the resume that the fourth workshop held in Central Sulawesi faced several challenges, both geographical problems and even from the theme itself. How did the Sinema Rakyat as an outsider looking to collaborate with friends in Central Sulawesi, adapt to these challenges? Or perhaps, to put it in other words, how did the Sinema Rakyat team help mediate in dealing with these challenges? 

Dirmawan: The case in Central Sulawesi is unique because the resulting film is a self-deprecating type. The premise is based on a true story in which one person cheated almost an entire sub-district. There were numerous parties involved, including personnel, bureaucrats, and the sub-district head, who were all tricked. So when the film finished and watched, we were surprised that it didn’t cause that much uproar. In fact, I believe it serves as an outlet for their frustration with situations that they cannot fully resolve.

For the workshop itself, the first is the apparent nature obstacles. Secondly, participants had to leave their jobs because we had to create a boot camp that lasted an entire [unclear]. However these problems are not too significant; other minor issues were concerning schedule, crew availability, etc. So, why then were we able to "win the trust" of these participants to process the problem? That is a critical role consigned to us by our (host). They are trusted by the locals there. Often, the host has a lot of influence on how well the workshop goes.

We felt that if Jakartans continued to represent rural peoples and talk about what they imagined as Indonesia, then this major issue would continuously arise. Thus, how can film contribute to a more fair and equal conversation between Indonesians? Until that happens, I believe that inequity will remain.

Afifah: I read Kurniawan Adi Saputro's journal, in which he conducted a research on Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat. And from my understanding of the journal, participants are central in the selection of themes, so when people watch, there is an awareness or assumption, that what they're viewing is somehow inherent  (normal to them).

Dirmawan: That's right. So the way our workshop works is we'd explore stories from participants, then in facilitating them, we would make a variation of themes that could be developed. Which ones are feasible and which ones are not is determined by the film's technical requirements. Then we discuss the theme's appeal or urgency. Participants, of course, have a variety of themes, topics and stories. However, we at Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat believe that we have a duty to establish "corridors" for these stories. The story becomes a critical point that takes more time than the making of the film because we are constantly discussing whether or not this issue is important, how to actually achieve it, who among our workshop friends could serve as cast members, and so forth. These are very technical talks that determine the execution of the film.

That case is different from the film Istri Orang in Kangean. Our hosts wanted us to talk about tourism, which is indeed a program of the NGO that brought us there. But, when presented at the workshop, we found that tourism is merely a program that does not take in the dynamics of the workshop's participants. What then arises are issues such as marriage, arranged marriage, the origin of people's occupations; which then become our work Istri Orang. So, there are many different cases.

Sam: What are your projects at the moment?

Dirmawan: We're unable to go as far as our previous projects due to pandemic. As of now, we have projects in Kulon Progo, which is forty kilometers away from our base [I'm assuming Yogyakarta]. Apart from the matter of pandemics, we think that we should have a permanent project. Instead of making a single film in one location and then returning to Java, we'd investigate more than 'media issues,' as we believe media interconnects with the economic, political, and other issues.

Sam: Do you live near Yogyakarta?

Dirmawan: I live in Magelang, forty kilometers from Yogyakarta. While Kulon Progo is one of the regions in Yogyakarta province.

Sam: Where are you from originally? Do you come from Magelang?

Dirmawan: Yes, like an hour drive to our site (in Kulon Progo). 

Sam: You previously mentioned the urgency of the themes. Can you explain do you mean by "urgency"? Urgent relative to what? 

Dirmawan: To the concern of the participants. For example, when we make the film Istri Orang in Kangean our host was telling us to make a film about tourism because they have an agenda to promote their new local tourist destination in their village. But, I think it's only the maneuver of the leader but not participated by the people. So on the day-to-day basis of our workshop, we came across an important issue for the participant. There is about young marriage in which underage girls are forced to marry by their parents. And also about poverty, what do they think about their future prospects. And that's what makes Istri Orang.

Sam: I look forward to watching it! What I'd love to hear is also how you conceive of the audience. When you make films in communities, when you ask for the community to participate in the filmmaking, what audiences do you have in mind? How do you communicate the idea of an audience or what an audience will be to participants?

Dirmawan: Ok, I think that's quite a tough question. So. We have been making films from a certain perspective that is (unclear) and unique compare to the major industrial approach. It could be participated by most people, non-professionals, to tell their stories. But we still have to distribute this film. That is the big question we've yet to answer; that is currently our big homework. We have stumbled upon some festivals and special screenings. We tried to hold screening events in a few villages, as well as contact special screenings from everyone who had pitched us screenings. Ideally, we would have a village film festival. So there are screenings in various villages, and they can exchange films or we can curate films that are relevant to the life of the screening location.

Who were we before we became Indonesians? Who are we before we are consumers of the world’s market? How the media allows us to express ourselves and act critically I believe strengthens our identity.

Sam: Part of my question is also about how you talk distribution with the participants.  How do you tell the participants and how do they react to it? If you say something like, "we hope that this film will be seen by people in different parts of Indonesia or even different parts of the world and how that cultivation happens."

Dirmawan: Our initial idea is to show the film to them in their village. But I also informed the participants that they have opportunities to screen it in other places, such as different parts of Indonesia and special screening for films like this. Furthermore, we hope to screen other films from other regions of Indonesia in their village.

Participants tend to be unaware of how distribution goes or what possibilities they can have with their own film. So, we don't tell them much about festivals or other fancy screenings, but when we do have, we let them know.

Sam: When we talk about our intentions for the film, we want to show our friends and our community the film that we've made, but we also want to share with that community as well. It's part of the exchange of culture, but it's difficult to explain, like film festivals and things like that.

Dirmawan: One of our experiences was in Jalan Raya Pipikoro (2018). Our host organized a huge event in the district capital for the first screening, and there are over three thousand people who want to see the film in the open air.

Sam: The next questions are about how you come to work in one particular community and decide not to work in another community. How do you decide to work with that particular place, and why do you choose to have a workshop there?

Dirmawan: We didn't choose the locations for Jalan Raya Pipikoro (2018) in Central Sulawesi, Istri Orang (2018) in Kangean, Sebelum Berangkat (2019) in Sumba, and then Di Tepi Kali Progo (2019) in Kulon Progo. So we have sponsors, and the sponsors have the programs in particular places. Basically, it is not up to us to choose; we would provide any participants with the same events and programs. In Sumba, for instance, the participants are primarily adults, whereas in Kangean they are teenagers, and in Kulon Progo are the mixture of teenagers and adults.  So, we don't choose the places. Somebody choose for us and send us there.

Sam: Who are your sponsor?

Dirmawan: There is an NGO program called Program Peduli that I believe is also funded by the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs of Australia. 

Sam: Interesting!

Dirmawan: They supported it through the Asia Foundation, which held the Peduli Lindungi initiative, which supports the program called Social Inclusion. They work on seven main issues: gender, LGBTQ+ issues, indigenous religion, and customary societies in isolated areas, among others.

We proposed to sponsor our project, and they took it to make the films. They choose the location and the issue for us, while the approach and how we deal with the issue is up to us because they don't often grasp what participatory filmmaking is or prefer to witness from afar and see what eventually happens. It is like an experimental project for them.

Sam: Cool. So, it gives you a lot of freedom, then?

Dirmawan: Yes! There's a lot of freedom. We are just provided with the budget, the location, and the issue. Even though we were told to make a film about the issue of tourism in Kangean, we made another film, and they were fine about it.

Afifah: It's totally different from what you imagine tourism would be because when you think of a tourism film, you think of advertisements. While Istri Orang appears to me as such a heartfelt film, I've read several reviews, one of which was written by Leila S. Chudori for Tempo and it compelled me to watch it right away. Unfortunately, getting access to it is still quite difficult. Is the film still screen or will be screened at more festivals?

Dirmawan: Not anymore either. Regarding distribution, we don't have a real way to do it; as what I previously stated, it is still our homework. Both Jalan Raya Pipikoro and Istri Orang are very loose in the sense of "okay, you'll go to Pipikoro. Okay, you're going to Kangean. There is a remote community which is then fulfilled in Jalan Raya Pipikoro. But for Kangean, make it about a tourism-conscious group, which did not "sound" at all when we got there, and so we made a different one and they were OK with it.I believe there is a sense that they are still in the dark about what this Sinema Rakyat is. So, they tend to accept it just as is. 

Afifah: With many films and workshops happening, do sponsors ever conduct evaluations? Wouldn't it be a problem when they realized that the end result was different from what was originally planned?

Dirmawan: It doesn't matter if it differs from the original plan. In fact, I feel like the excitement outweighs the problem. 

We also learned from Kulon Progo and Sumba, which the Asia Foundation directly promoted, that we had failed to imagine the distribution program. We were aware that we needed to create this program together with screening and distribution. That's what we missed and realised after,  because the program had come to an end and disbanded, we could no longer continue or try to distribute the works.

Sam: Is there an interest for Sinema Rakyat films in a broader Indonesian cinema going public? Not special events or festivals but in public distribution.

Dirmawan: Istri Orang, in particular, has a lot of exposure in festivals. One of the OTT companies contacted us about purchasing the film. We called the Asia Foundation, but they could not provide us with an answer because another foreign party also funds the film, so they cannot resolve the transaction. If we sell it, what kind of money is it? It is one of our problems, really. Because we think that if it is sold to public screenings, such as OTT or video on demand, it will be more widely distributed. Our attempt to conceive the problems of the Indonesian people could be spread in a much larger channel. It's very disappointing, but that's our problem.

Sam: Is it a problem of intellectual properties as well? Because there are so many authors, and that's another aspect of it. It kind of occur to me but like the idea of a film product belonging to the producer, the director, or the copyright owner. In this particular case, who owns the intellectual property? And who is the writer? I guess because you haven't distributed the film very broadly yet, but do you know what I mean?

Dirmawan: I don't think especially about the intellectual property because the film was funded by foreign funds, which is distributed by one of the ministries in Indonesia involving the funder, Asia Foundation, and an Indonesian NGO. The money is too complicated to define, as is who owns it. In terms of intellectual property, we have a solution because we can arrange such things like a joint venture or a legal buddy that define the cooperation between Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat and the people from where the film is coming from. It’s a program that is not supposed to make profit. They cannot define what kind of transaction it is. If there is a profit, what must we do with it?

What we ideally imagine. First, we will establish a network of film screeners, exhibitionists. These films will then be screened at special screenings, in Rumata Artspace or other venues for instance. And ideally, we hope that these venues will be able to show films that take a similar approach. So, if we were to have a permanent workshop, we would imagine that the workshop would be capable of not only producing films but also of being an exhibitionist (space), that enable them to host exhibitions which features their own films or films obtained from other places. That is the first. Second, we realized that these films have the potential to be in mainstream festivals, such as Busan or [Kyo/Gyo], resulting in an exposure. Based on the experience with Istri Orang, it's possible to sell the film if it generates exposure.  If someone wishes to purchase the film or if we offer it to them, the proceeds will, to put it simply, be split between the community and Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat to roll out further programs. So, how would that look? We are currently exploring whether this workshop could become some kind of 'embryo' for the formation of, for example, village cooperatives or village-owned businesses. So, overall, the question of the film's distribution raises growing questions (about other issues). That's what we envisioned.

Afifah: So, if films like Istri Orang can be marketed, the Growing Sinema Rakyat team will develop more extensive projects, such as the one you mentioned, village cooperatives, and other initiatives.

Dirmawan: Right. That's the direction we're looking at right now.  Because if it is funded by NGOs again, the film will be unable to be sold in the end, which is a pity.

Afifah: I don't really know how to explain to [Sam] about the idea of permanent workshop. 

Dirmawan: When we talk about "permanent workshops," it means that we're not just only producing a film within that area; we're trying to understand how this production can be sustainable by having exhibitions or even making films that are tied to the dynamics of political economy in that area, for example. It requires more effort than just one or two projects, which is why we chose locations that we could reach in order to create 'pilots.'

Afifah: Sinema Rakyat literally translates to Folk Cinema, which can also mean People's Cinema or Cinema of the People. How exactly would you define Sinema Rakyat? For you, is it a genre, an initiation, or a movement?

Dirmawan: For so long, people have been treated as spectators who are always amazed by celebrity and technological displays. All of which require substantial financial resources. These people remain spectators, even when there are technological developments that could allow them to become producers. How would they record and express their own experiences in this film? When asked what is Folk Cinema, yes, it's the cliché 'Cinema from, for, and by the people.' It's not cinema from the major studios treating people as ticket consumers, or as a part of a million-hit, or anything like that. The narrative belongs to the people. Yes, if you call this a movement, it could be so. We're also actually seeking for other people who are doing the same thing and share our objectives. I'm not sure if it's because we're not very sociable or not looking actively enough, but we don't see anyone else doing it. While there are numerous documentaries, for example, Kampung Halaman, that enable the community to participate, we have yet to see a similar method of approaching it with fiction. We actually wish to meet people who are similar to ourselves.

Afifah: Are all of the films in the Sinema Rakyat taken from a true story and then fictionalized, or are they all not like that?

Dirmawan: Everything is based on genuine stories, stories that emerged from these workshops. It's also not always a complete story from a single person; occasionally we get stories from other accounts, from person A and person B, let's just say.  We imagine that the story could not have happened anyplace else, as if the story was tied to its location. And that location must have its own set of traditions, customs, and habits, as well as its own political and economic dynamics. While the story is the same as that of a wife whose husband left her, it will undoubtedly be different when told in Sumba, Kangean, or Java, for example.

Afifah: Is the method at Sinema Rakyat influencing how you create your own works now that you've collaborated and worked with so many communities? In fact, has your perspective toward filmmaking changed as a result of your involvement in Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat?

Dirmawan: Of course. I continue to work as a professional. For example, I am still under contract with Multivision, and they want me to do horror films, which I am willing to do. It's just that if I look back at my process over the last five years, I can tell which ones are better. There's just a large amount of homework that I have yet to answer. We are still limited in our movement because we do not currently have any funders or sponsors.

Sam: What this experience of working with different rural and marginalized communities has changed your approach to filmmaking generally? Or if it's affected the way you watch Indonesian films? How's it changed your approach to filmmaking and film-watching?

Dirmawan: It changed me much, but it didn't shock me. At least I can guess what I would be now from years ago when I started this project, this approach. Still, the question is the same: It's about sustainability. I believe what Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat doing is necessary for all communities of all across Indonesia. We have a lot to tell the world about ourselves that isn't limited to our industrial approach. I continue to believe that this approach can reach more people in the larger channel, and they are interesting stories to tell. So. It is about how bigger projects could rediscover themselves. It's the question of: why are our goals already global, but we still forget about our own village?

I always hear of myths about the project that is done based on a documentary approach. Like what you guys do is a very documentary approach. Maybe it would be much more interesting for us if the film could be done through a fiction approach. I mean, as part of Tumbuh Sinema Rakyat, I always hope for fiction projects, although using a documentary approach but set as fiction to be done together.

Sam: It's interesting to think in this way. Documentary filmmaking is a much more difficult process to be inclusive and participatory. Whereas fiction, people can tell their own stories. I never even considered it that way, but just speaking with you makes me think about it. 

One more question, if you don't mind. So we've spoken with a number of other people about Indonesian representation of rural and urban life, and how they interact with each other. How Indonesians living in the cities think about country/rural life in Indonesia and how it is represented on screen, on television, in journalism, and in cinema.  In a larger media representation of rural life. compare to like a change over the years how you've feel you contributed to evolution or shifted attitude of representation?

Dirmawan: I always see that once we become Indonesians, we are immediately required to leave our ethnicity. There is a pressing need for us to quickly become 'Indonesian.' During the Soekarno era, Indonesia wasn't completed as a 'project', in the sense that our nation has not finished. Then as we enter the Suharto period (which has been on the rise for more than thirty years), we were too preoccupied with trying to move from rurality to urbanity. It seems to me that our haste and anxiety, as a group of people in Indonesia, to become Indonesians and urban people have remained even now. Indonesia is often forgotten by people who are vying to become urban rather than Indonesian, which then aggravated when the so-called 'market' encroaches over this country. 

To become urban people is to become a part of an obedient market, becoming the perfect consumers. We purchase all kinds of things: our status, personal well-being, most of these things are determined by how we make ourselves consumers of this market. Well, this is our problem, because we’re facing an imbalance within the market; who are the producers and who are consumers? As we are majorly the consumers, we are aware that our product is being sold out to be used as goods, which are then sold back to us, that is a problem.

In that circumstance, media representation becomes critical to discuss. Because the media constantly tells us to become good customers or global market citizens immediately. We go back to the question of who we were before we became Indonesians? Who are we before we are consumers of the world’s market? How the media allows us to act critically, which I believe strengthens our identity.