Angela Mayrina

MDes ADPD

MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize

A Guidebook to an Empty Land: Kalimantan and the Shadows of the Capital

Advised by Malkit Shoshan

Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. The map of the moving capital from Jakarta (in Java Island) to East Kalimantan (in Borneo island)
Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. The trope of empty land in the history of imperialism

Indonesia is an archipelago of 17 thousand islands that were once made of separate kingdoms. The history of the islands and their political recognition is linked to their colonial past and practices of extraction. Years after its independence, the colonial legacy has continuously influenced the way the nation looks at its people, nature, and resources, as well as the interaction between its islands within the national planning, initiatives, and policies. Today, the legacy of past forces is especially prominent in the government’s decision to move the capital from Jakarta (in Java) to East Kalimantan (in Borneo). None of the proposals for the new capital talk about the impact of the move on the current social and environmental ecosystem in Kalimantan. The island is mostly discussed in terms of potential: an empty faraway land, a perfect location for the nation’s new capital—but of whose visions? Throughout history, the “emptying” of the land becomes a method of claiming space by ignoring its existing memory, history, and cultural practices.

Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Representations of the Dutch East Indies in nineteenth century’s traveler’s guidebooks

A Guidebook to an Empty Land is an ongoing research project that seeks to archive the lives of different inhabitants of Kalimantan that are shadowed by the grand narrative. The archive attempts to reveal the complexities of human and nonhuman beings that are constantly intertwined in the conversation of this empty land. By de-emptying the land with stories, the archive provides an alternative where the history and inhabitants of Kalimantan should be considered and included in the conversation of the moving capital.

Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Author’s documentation on the local’s
Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Sinking Jakarta versus proposed location for the new capital
Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Map of land ownership and forest zoning in the new capital area
Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. The mention of “empty land” in government’s transmigration policy and agricultural development
Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Map showing the long-term effect of The Mega Rice Project, one of the government’s largest agricultural scheme and peatland development in Central Kalimantan.
Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Kalimantan’s timber boom facilitated by government’s claiming of forested areas
Angela Mayrina, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize.

Karan Saharya

MDes CC

MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize

In the Name of Heritage: Conservation as an Agent of Differential Development, Spatial Cleansing, and Social Exclusion in Mehrauli, Delhi

Advised by Susan N. Snyder and George E. Thomas

Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Conceptual diagram indicating spatial cleansing and social exclusion around Qutub Minar monument
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Street separating the Qutub Minar Conservation Zone from Mehrauli urban village

I intend to study the impacts of the architectural conservation of the Qutub Minar Complex on the urban village of Mehrauli, New Delhi, because the manner in which national- and international-level preservation and planning frameworks operate reveals underlying sociopolitical conflicts and instruments of spatial cleansing. The thesis seeks to develop a new framework for the examination of “heritage” in the post-postcolonial milieu that contextualizes the designated monument within the larger urban fabric and can inform policy using a stakeholder-centric approach. I hypothesize that the appropriation of “heritage” in contemporary urban India is a tool to develop elite tourist destinations while displacing local communities, expropriating land, and reiterating colonial-era identity politics.

Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Boundary wall separating the designated monument from informal housing in Mehrauli urban village
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Theoretical framework for thesis project
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Map of Mehrauli depicting historic designated monuments and conservation zones
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Bustling streetscape of Mehrauli urban village with a protected monument in the background