Image by jendoelhadisantosa.


Please note that this episode discusses gender violence that some people may find disturbing or triggering. Listener discretion is advised.

Images have always played an important role in Indonesia, not just in everyday life, but also in its ever-changing political landscape. Terms like pencitraan (political image building) are commonly heard during election season. On social media, buzzers actively attempt to shape the public image of various social and political issues. Meanwhile, posters of murdered human rights activist Munir Said Thalib have become almost as iconic as the man himself.

What role do images play in political life in Indonesia? How do the public consume political imagery? Why do certain images gain political significance?

In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Annisa Beta discusses these questions and more with Karen Strassler, Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York. Professor Strassler’s work focuses on the social lives and political work of images, looking into the relationship between visuality and political imaginaries. Her second book, Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event in Indonesia was published in 2020. The book investigates how public images affect the political arena during the turbulent period of political upheaval and technological transformation following the fall of Soeharto.

In 2021, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Annisa Beta, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


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