The Batavia project were made on location and in response to the modernist Bijlmer neighborhood in The Netherlands. Batavia explores the interaction of two historical events: the establishment of Batavia, Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company as the colonial center of its Asian empire in 1619, and the Bijlmerramp, the 1992 plane crash into the largely immigrant Bijlmer suburb of Amsterdam. The flight carried a cargo of chemical weapon ingredients from the U.S. bound for Israel. The exhibition Regatta, at Munch Gallery NYC, centers around the video Whiskey Papa, where the image of a burning of a model boat is overlaid with the Air Traffic Control recording of El Al flight 1862, illustrating the interconnection of progress, catastrophe, and utopia, particularly in a post-colonial context. In Destroyer, Mao uses the knockouts from the boat model kit to create a large photogram mapping. A series of smaller works impose sail shapes from the boat on photogram imprints of public-domain images and data from the crash.
1619: The Dutch East India Company establishes the port city Batavia, now Jakarta, in Indonesia as the colonial capitol of Asia.
1960c: Amsterdam annexed an area south east of Amsterdam to build the Bijlmermeer, a complex of modernist utopian residencies.
1975: Suriname is decolonized, declared independent of the Dutch. There is a wave of Surinamese, Indonesian, and African immigration into the Biljmer.
1992: El Al flight 1862, on a stopover from the United States to Israel, crashes into the Biljmer neighborhood of Amsterdam.
1998: The cargo of Flight 1862 is revealed to be of chemicals used in the synthesis of Sarin nerve gas
“Whiskey Papa”, 2013, digital video, 5:43 ort [clip]
right: “Southern Cross and Pointers, Monday 13 May 2013 13:07, Bosscha Observatory, ID”, 2014, 8″ x 10-1/4″, archival inkjet mounted on aluminum