"Volcano News: Planetary Politics in a Volcanic Age"
Edited by Adam Bobbette, Mira Asriningtyas, Dito Yuwono
In 1952, the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia published the Berita Gunung Berapi (Volcano News) amidst a condition of near civil war. Indonesia’s first president and revolutionary hero, Soekarno, was struggling to hold the fledgling Republic together. Factions of guerrilla armies and separatist movements were taking up arms to establish their own mini-states. Parts of west Java had been declared independent. The little magazine about volcanoes, which included a unique blend of poetry and profiles of scientists along with gas measurements and reports of trembling grounds, was a surprising appearance in this scene. The editor, Georges de Neve, born in the colony and of Dutch parentage—and likely one of the first European scientists to take up Indonesian citizenship—claimed in the editorial that the Berita Gunung Berapi was a contribution to the nationalist cause. Volcano science, he argued, could unite the post-colony.
Here, we are republishing the Berita. But we make it our own. We make it speak to our own confused and tumultuous moment. Consider it the Berita re-considered. Berita Gunung Berapi, again. In the pages that follow we think about what it meant to publish the first Berita, and what it means to publish the Berita now. We situate volcanoes and science in broader conversations about the relationship between politics, the earth, and its interior. We think about unstable geologies, catastrophes and postcolonial futures. Our contributors are interested in how volcanoes are our ancestors, how they are social history materialized and what it means when they are exploited. We are fascinated by the intersections of spiritual and scientific geographies and how they made each other. And ultimately, we wonder what a “cheery” volcanic politics might look like.
The front cover of the 1952 edition of the Berita Gunung Berapi contained an image of Mount Merapi, a leading protagonist in the development of Indonesian and even global volcano science. Merapi is also an inspiring character in our (the editors’) lives. As such, Merapi is at the centre of the Berita, but it does not contain the whole magazine. Each contributor follows their own tangents into a subterranean space of heterogenous dreams and planetary futures.
Nigel Clark, Irwan Ahmett & Tita Salina, Adam Bobbette, Diandra Rendradjaja, Alyssa DeBlasio, M.I. Adnawidjaja, Theresa Ventura, R. Tanojo, Joko Piningit, Andeath, Dito Yuwono, Mira Asriningtyas, Dewi Candraningrum
Published by Reading Sideways Press (Leiden & Yogyakarta) 2023
Berita Gunung Berapi (RSP 2013) was designed by Maria Uthe and printed on Riso at KUNCI Copy Station by Maria Uthe and Hayyi Al Qayyumi.
Translator: Baiq Nadia
Special launch price: 30 euros
Strictly limited edition of 200 copies.
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