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Dirty hands

chains, lamps

2010

I always ask myself what kind of processes are involved in the creation of history. Why does an event become a memorial and why does a memorial event turn into history? We are able to create history because we are able to compare. History is made because of contrasts. Events or cases that are worth remembering create History, or in other words, only the most extreme events and cases are memorable. Can we simplify history this easily, by dividing everything into black and white, positive and negative, pro and contra? Do we only remember because of experiences that are extreme / new / outstanding/ different? Is history a memory of facts of the extremes, such as the cruelest and the most refined? It must be more then facts related to our senses and legendary moments. Civilization is shaped by the compilation of historical moments. History and the ones in charge are heroes and villains. I read in a book about the East Indies Company that the ones who make history often have the so-called VOC-mentality, i.e., calculated, energetic, and ruthless. The Dutch traveled the world; a salesman before the clergyman, or in other words, trade is more important then principles. Currently, it is trade versus religion. We need monuments and documents (in the wide sense) to keep history in the public memory and influence the interpretation of history. But… the collective memory is short of memory. In Indonesia, its inhabitants experience case after case, scandal after scandal, disaster after disaster. For example, politicians who have dirty hands from the former regime are easily forgiven (or forgotten?) and the candidates themselves run in the presidential elections without shame. Nothing is what is seems, behind every story is another story. In Indonesia, you have to dig up the history behind the stories. The work Dirty Hands is related to black and white images; contrasts of light and dark which catch our existence and the parts that we want to show and the parts that we want to hide. Private collection