Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy

Film screening and debate: “A Thousand and One Martian nights”

Patricia Spyer, Karen Strassler and Tintin Wulia
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Online and at Maison de la paix, Auditorium A2

To participate in the event in-person in the Auditorium, please complete the "Registration" on the event page.

PLEASE NOTE: Access to indoor public events is limited to attendees with a Swiss or European COVID certificate. In addition, face masks must be worn to all in-person events at the Graduate Institute.

Participants who are joining online may watch the film from the following link during or before the public event (it won't be broadcasted on Webex).


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This event is based on the screening of artist/researcher Tintin Wulia’s film “A Thousand and One Martian Nights” – originally part of a telematic installation with surveillance cameras, interconnecting two places simultaneously. The film weaves together a series of stories about the aftermath of a political turmoil taking place in the year 2065 that led to an internment camp on Mars, discussed by the survivors and their children’s generation a hundred years later in 2165. The stories are adapted from the artists’ and actors’ own personal experience and memoirs of the mass killings of 1965-66. These were large-scale, military-sponsored killings and civil unrest that targeted Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) party members, Communist sympathisers and leftists, including ethnic Chinese. An 500,000 people were killed and thousands more were imprisoned without having been formally charged with a crime or tried.  Among these about 12,000 men were sent to a notorious prison camp on Buru Island. Interspersing footage from the US space program’s Mars mission, the film alludes to the Cold War context of the killings and imprisonments, which were supported by the United States and other Western democracies.

The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the political, social and cultural implications of the genocide. This event will be a hybrid event, with some panelists joining virtually.


  • Patricia Spyer, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology & Faculty Associate, Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy, Graduate Institute Geneva


  • Karen Strassler, Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Tintin Wulia, Artist and Researcher, HDK-Valand/Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg, and co-founder of the transnational collective 1965 Setiap Hari.

Information for the audience:

For the public who will attend the panel discussion in person in Geneva at Maison de la Paix, you will be able to watch the film in the auditorium at 12.15pm CET.

For the public who will attend the panel discussion online and who has registered for it on this page, you will receive a link to watch the film directly, at the time of your convenience. You will be able to join the panel discussion on the day of the event, from 12:55 pm CET onwards.

This event is sponsored by the Image App project and is part of the programme organised by the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy during the Geneva Democracy Week.

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Biographical notes:

  • Patricia Spyer’s work explores visual and material culture, media, image and violence. Her latest book, titled Orphaned Landscapes: Violence, Visuality and Appearance in Indonesia, will appear with Fordham University Press in 2021. She is the Principal Investigator of the research project Images, (In)Visibilities, And Work On Appearances (ImageApp) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2020-24). This ethnographic project investigates how image-makers in four Indonesian cities address and redress a crucial dimension of sociopolitical change by making and deploying images.

  • Karen Strassler is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on the social lives and political work of images. Her research interests include images and visual culture, media and mediation, memory and violence, specifically in Indonesia. She recently published Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation and Image-Event in Indonesia (Duke University Press, 2020), a book on the work of images in Indonesia’s post-authoritarian public sphere.

  • Tintin Wulia is an internationally practising artist/researcher. Her training in architecture and music as well as practice-based research in art contribute to her transdisciplinary works that are often taking place across mediums. In 2017 she represented Indonesia in the 57th Venice Biennale with a solo pavilion 1001 Martian Homes. She is also the Principal Investigator of a 2021-2023 Swedish Research Council-funded Protocols of Killings: 1965, distance, and the ethics of future warfare at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


© banner photo by Tintin Wulia, courtesy Milani Gallery

This is a hybrid event. Please register below to attend the event online or in person.