Duration 05:17 mins

“Once you start to see the world through food, everything changes. Seemingly unconnected things turn out to be closely linked: apparently confusing relationships spring into relief.”

Draft video edit - Part of a selection of videos selected for Visual Ethnographic research for my MRes. The theme is based around the relationship between food and cities. Please feel free to add comments and observations of what you see in the videos.

This video was shot at around 3pm in 2010 in the ‘slum’ area in central Jakarta. Jakarta is one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia, with half the city living in poverty. We were warned these were dangerous places to visit, generally Jakarta felt unsafe, however these areas felt the most congenial. People were quite open to us filming. The location is a junction where a train crosses a river and road crosses the railway. Trains travel through very frequently, approximately every five minutes, there is no warning, so it can be very dangerous. Towards the end of the video, you can see there is a man directing the flow of the road traffic, interviewing him he works as a porter and in his spare time, volunteers for tips to direct the traffic.

There is a sense of social cohesion and respect in this community. The people are living on either side of the railway tracks in corrugated makeshift housing and socialise inbetween the railway tracks, it’s almost like a garden, communal garden or park. Food traders travel up and down the railway selling snacks and meals. The crossroads is an unofficial meeting point, looking at the traffic there is a mixed demographic of people traveling through. It is also striking that, considering there is such a lack of facilities, how clean they are: if you look at the children in school uniform, they are immaculate.

When we interviewed some of the local people, although they were homeless, living on the side of the tracks, they were generally content with their lives. When we prompted them to find out what they were unhappy about, their response was that their main concern was the local gangs that roamed around the area. The parallel with the inhabitants of Western cities, like London, was surprising.

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