• Abdo Rinbo (Je est un autre)

Millar, Jeremy, 2015, Show, Exhibition or Event, Abdo Rinbo (Je est un autre)

Abstract or Description:

Like a comet shooting through the space, Arthur Rimbaud’s career glared so rapidly and passed by so fast. His collection of poems, which he wrote in his teenage years, dazzled Europe and inspired great writers, artists and musicians in the 20th century. Before he was even 21, Rimbaud stopped writing and travelled three continents. He joined the Dutch army and was sent to Java. On 10 June 1876 Arthur Rimbaud left the Dutch port of Den Helder on a three-masted steamship, the Prins van Oranje, his eventual destination Batavia, or as it is now known, Jakarta. He travelled as a recent conscript of the Dutch Colonial Army, a brutally-efficient mercenary force which had been crushing small revolts that had threatened to disrupt the flow of produce from the Dutch East Indies. Upon arrival in Batavia 10 days later, Rimbaud and the other recruits remained in local barracks for a further 10 days before boarding a steamer to Semarang; there followed a train to Tungtang before a march to Salatiga where his battalion was garrisoned. On the morning of 15 August, nearly two weeks after his arrival, Private Rimbaud failed to attend chapel; that evening he was absent from roll-call, also. Rimbaud had deserted. Disappeared.

'Abdo Rinbo (Je est un autre)' is not so much about the fact of Rimbaud’s disappearance — especially as so little is known of it — as it is a reflection upon what it is to disappear. Indeed, who had disappeared? For whom was the Dutch Colonial Army searching? Who was Rimbaud during this period? The former Communard was now a mercenary soldier in a brutal imperialist force. Can we even describe him as a poet, as he had already written what was to be his last work (and maybe he knew this already)? As he had written in a letter some five years previously, ‘Je est un autre’, I is an other, and we are all of us something other than ourselves. Through a series of personal reflections, and material gathered throughout Java, this film considers who this other might be.

Today, Rimbaud is remembered as the pioneer of French surrealism. He believed that a poet has to explore uncharted physical, psychological and mental territories. This became Rimbaud’s working credo. According to him, it is only by utilizing all the senses that a poet can reinvent themselves—Je est un autre or I is someone else.

With his film, Millar explores corners of the cities Rimbaud had been to: from London, Paris, Jakarta, Tuntang, Salatiga to Semarang. He attempted to uncover Rimbaud’s journey in reinventing himself, and how the journey was related to the zeitgeist of the era in the places he visited. In his endeavor, Millar uses symbols taken from Rimbaud’s poems and letters—lyrical and poetic at some points, rough and suggestive at others—which often highlight the movement of people and objects from one place to another. Some of those are the coffee beans that Rimbaud sold in Yemen, and his own self as a traveller, whether in a role as a rogue boy, a poet, a merchant or a soldier—like the European migrants.

Jakarta Biennale 2015Jakarta, Indonesia15 November 2015 – 17 January 2016Mixed show
Official URL: http://jakartabiennale.net/en/jeremy-millar-2/
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Creative Arts and Design > W600 Cinematics and Photography
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts
Creative Arts and Design > W800 Imaginative Writing
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Funders: Arts Council England / British Council, through the Artists' International Development Fund
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2016 19:48
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2019 15:26
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2461
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