Tanah Di Bawah Angin (The Land Beneath The Wind)

Three-channel Video, Found Footages, Found Images and Machine Learning Algorithms


Tanah Di Bawah Angin (The Land Beneath The Wind) is a visual compendium of algorithmically found footages and AI-generated re-narrations of a bird known as the Straw-headed Bulbul, highly prized for its beautiful call and song. Facing extinction in the wild due to overhunting and unsustainable trade practices, the bird had mysteriously found refuge in Singapore, although prescribed as a non-native species.

Pivoting around notions of non-nativity and its elusive origins in Singapore, Syahrul unravels the ‘fictional’ Malay metaphors embedded within Straw-headed Bulbul. An oral myth of the bird’s animist midwife origins, an Islamic fable alluding to its intellectual qualities and Minangkabau pantuns which explores the notions of merantau (migration) within the Malay World.

Weaving the disparities and multiplicities between the 'factual' footages and the ‘fictional’ metaphors, Tanah Di Bawah Angin proposes the re-questioning and re-negotiation into the notions of Malayness, Malay History, of merantau, Islam and the animistic past.