History Then and Now: Who is Who? is a series of works that question the impact of materialism and technological advancement on the embodied social hierarchy and outdated beliefs regarding identity.

Like other postcolonial zones around the world, power struggles and the quality of human resources remain common issues in Indonesia. While we have been consuming rapid technological changes from the 1960s to today, this instant way of living results in many distractions. We are not always aware of what we dedicate our lives to, thus this way of living puts us in the position of constant survival mode.

While formal education is seen as a requirement to attain a proper job or higher social status, the making of history and social structures is still perceived as the former colonizers’ responsibility. In fact, many current social conflicts are the results of our own shallow understanding of where we came from and how we were built into a cross-cultural society. Moreover, the toxicities of our social hierarchy, which are deeply rooted in our colonial past, have preserved an inferiority complex that affects how we negotiate with those whom we consider more powerful.

In the past, there was a visible line between the traitors and victims, who could be identified  simply through their physical traits and places of origin. However, our current conditions show that we have also failed to foster healthy negotiations even with people who share our physical traits. Both of the roles—traitor and victim—seem more blurry nowadays, but the core of the problems still come from the same place. We feel the need to be seen as more superior and capable than others, merely to survive as humans.

So, who is who? Aren’t we always alternating between these roles for the sake of humanity’s survival?