Colonial exhibition and a laboratory of modernity: Hybrid architecture at Batavia’s Pasar Gambir

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Abstract

At the beginning of the twentieth century in the Dutch East Indies, as technology and the consumer society were “modernizing,” the cultural development of the middle class led to the demand for and implementation of progress and modernity. This article investigates Pasar Gambir, the colonial exhibition held in Batavia during the 1920s–30s, which used Indonesia vernacular architecture as its main idea. The author argues that colonial exhibitions like Pasar Gambir contributed to the creation of the space of encounter between the colonizer and the colonized that offered an opportunity for visitors to experience different cultural and social situations. In each exhibition, hybrid architecture that combined both vernacular and modern themes and features was a successful means of expressing the intention of organizers and connecting visitors to modernity. Batavia’s Pasar Gambir was, in effect, a laboratory of modernity for the colony, and an important step in modernizing and negotiating cultural and social conditions in the colony. Hybrid architecture presented at Pasar Gambir became a lingua franca that was meant to connect various conditions of colonial society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-103
Number of pages27
JournalIndonesia
Volume2015
Issue number100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

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