By Thomas Østbye & Indonesian director Edwin.
17000 Islands is an interactive documentary. The project explores different models of reality by looking at how an image of a nation is created and how documentary filmmaking takes part in this process. The original 17000 Islands film is shot in a propaganda park in Jakarta, the Taman Mini, built in 1975 to represent Indonesia. 17000 Islands Interactive is a website where users can break apart this original film and make new films and viewpoints out of its material. These user made films will then be curated and screened at film festivals.
The Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or “Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park” is a “Disneyland style” theme park in Jakarta built in 1975 by the Suharto regime. It attempts to present the diverse cultures of Indonesia in a condensed and manicured form – an idealized image of the 17.000 Islands of Indonesia to manifest the state motto: Unity In Diversity.
Fascinated by this idealized representation of culture, directors Edwin and Thomas Østbye set out with a camera to capture life unfolding within this controlled setting. Their film is presented as a map of impressions. In 17000 Islands, the filmmakers invite you to participate in the process of image making.
Now it’s your turn to reinterpret the filmmakers’ impressions. The web platform becomes, in many ways, a metaphor for the Park – a beautiful controlled environment that gives you the illusion of authenticity. Users are invited to break apart the original film, select material they would like to use and edit their own films, using our cutting-edge custom built editor. As clips are stolen, the original film will be destroyed and the archipelago will gradually disintegrate making way for a new living map. The way a user makes films in 17000 Islands is a totally new way of editing by making a collaged island, a sculptural way of editing, it includes several cutting-edge developments of Html5 functionality.
Just as the museum park exercises a power over the image of Indonesia, so does the filmmakers’ documentary exercise a similar power over the image of this park. The directors give away control over their film to users so that this simplification of reality can once again regain its complexity.
At 17000 Islands, people enter into dialogue by bringing their unique perspectives on reality. Tell your story through image, text, and your own voice-over.