Increasingly, we inhabit a world where messages from media and experiences of personal life are both imbued with, and often coalesce into, the same visual images. Thus, undertaking research with – and through – visual recording and the analysis thereof has become a compelling option, especially when research is of an interdisciplinary nature. CRISEA researchers acknowledge that research results presented in the form of documentary films available online, a website-based form of narration or a multimedia object foster cross-cultural and cross-generational communication and are much more likely to have an impact. However, as these forms are more widely seen, than written pieces are read, they need to be carefully crafted. Through such visual documents – constituted as a fundamental part of knowledge – the sensorial first-impact of sights and sounds can engage an audience in a way that written text cannot. With this in mind, CRISEA has planned the production of five web-documentaries, each of which will focus on one of the five research Work Package themes, while taking into account the project’s three transversal themes – gender, migration and security — in its treatment of material. The producers of the fourproposed video productions have been given total freedom to determine the format of their production and the different skills and disciplinary insights they choose to bring to bear on their subject.

WP 1 – The Environment
Title: Flow of Sand
Producer and Director: Monika Arnez

The film is set against the backdrop of Chinese investment in real estate in Malaysia and the political transition following the May 2018 legislative elections. Futuristic, large-scale land reclamation projects are visible expressions of these investments. Two case studies are explored, ‘Forest City’ in Johor and ‘Melaka Gateway’ in Malacca, both launched in attractive places by the sea. Both are part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Initially hailed for boosting the economy and creating jobs, the projects subsequently attracted criticism for exacerbating social injustices and for impacting on the environment.


WP 2 – The Economy
Title: Aceh, After
Producers: Silvia Vignato & Giacomo Tabacco

Aceh, After is a film about “regasification” in the region of Lhokseumawe, Aceh, a once fruitful site of extraction of natural gas subsequently planned to become a Special Economic Zone. Two women and their families embody this scenario. They talk of their lives as workers in the low-technology industries that stay untouched by the grand industrial plans. They speak as mothers, sisters and daughters of drug dealers, former convicts or still in jail, and mix the violence of drugs with their experience of fear and abuse during the civil conflict. They evoke the fear to talk that extends the shadow of past dictatorship onto contemporary issues of use and abuse of social media.

WP 3 – The State
Chinese Go Home
Producer: Rachel Leow

Between 1948 and 1953, over 20,000 Chinese people were deported from what was then British Malaya to China. Both the countries they were leaving and going to were embroiled in war and revolution. “Chinese Go Home” tells the story of this extraordinarily complex historical moment through the voices of two women whose families were sundered in its aftermath.

WP 4 – Identity
Malay Identity on Stage
Producers: Jan Van der Putten & Alan Darmawan

Malay Identity on Stage shows how Malay culture is celebrated in the Riau islands (Indonesia). This archipelago of over 3,000 islands is a heritage site of the Malay sultanate of Melaka and reputed as the ‘heartland’ of Malay culture. The film testifies to efforts by local authorities and social organizations to revive and reinvent cultural productions, including language, performing traditions, moral values and religious practice. Through cultural festivals, poetry contests and wedding ceremonies – and the active role of a recently appointed sultan who has introduced Islamic currency in economic transactions and propagates a strict way of religious obedience – Malay heritage is promoted as a transnational good, strengthening local identity and the region’s reputation.

WP 5 – The Region
ASEAN: Competing Perceptions on Regional Integration

The film presents the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as a project full of promise but also frustrations, asking: is the institution necessary when it does not produce the expected results? It retraces ASEAN’s history from its beginnings as a regional integration project designed in 1967 to strengthen nation-building among its members. The need to reinforce cooperation came after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the trend was accelerated, leading to the ASEAN Community with its three ‘pillars’: economic, politico-strategic and socio-cultural. But a gap persists between enthusiasm for ASEAN as an institution and the public’s understanding of ASEAN’s implications for their daily lives. The film concludes with a question about ASEAN’s resilience and cohesiveness for the benefit of its 650 million inhabitants in a context of growing geo-strategic rivalry and divergences between member-states.