On Kabut Zaman by DIVISI62

By Jade Barget

Kabut translates as mist, or fog, and zaman as age. The title of the work by Jakarta-based label DIVISI62 can be translated as the mist of the ages, or the age of mist.

The opacity and haziness suggested by the title illustrate the label’s embrace of the murkiness of nature; its unexplainable, supernatural temper. Images of landscapes, spices and rock formations are distorted into abstraction, subverted beyond recognition. The textures breathe and bubble. A confusion of scale unsettles—visuals appear as human cells, atomic bombs and planets at once, both microscopic and macroscopic; interdimensional.

Delving into space mysticism, Kabut Zaman proposes to depart from an extractivist relationship to space. This approach stems from DIVISI62’s observation of the Global South’s exclusion from the conversation on the promise of space, space colonisation, and space mining, and the Westerncentrism of such concerns.

Breaking away from nature as a resource, Kabut Zaman is an incantation, a devotion inviting the supernatural to manifest. Its offering to the viewer is dark, ghostly and ominous, speaking to Southeast Asia’s reverence with spirits and the unknowable. Hauntedness appears as a condition, a way of existing together with the ghosts of the past—colonisation, corruption and tradition. But Kabut Zaman also looks toward ghosts of the future—neocolonialism. Here, specifically, the looming effects of Western exploitation logics of space.

The visuals are always morphing, taking shape and disappearing at once, alike sound. The audio is sourced by the label from metallic objects and instruments from the region—rare-earth resonating, and echoing DIVISI62’s proposal for a symbiotic and spiritual relationship to nature. 

Kabut Zaman
Single channel video
Stereo sound

Courtesy of the artist & A.I.