“Three generations ago, Swiss men colonised Sumatra, Indonesia. Not only land, but also women.
This is a story of one of them.
Of how she became a mother of three children,
Of how her sons were taken away from her,
Of how her Swiss husband returned to Europe with a new wife,
Of how colonised women disappeared into history.”
NYAI is a contemporary music composition and dance film by choreographer, composer and director Stefanie Inhelder (b. 1988 Switzerland). I provided the electroacoustic layers (electronics) and soundscape design for the music, and mixed and co-produced the overall composition.
segments of the composition coming soon
NYAI investigates the interlinked issues of colonisation, exploitation and deforestation through a personal family history. It tells the story of a colonised woman, Anne Lak Inhelder: a Nyai (bought wife) to Willhelm Inhelder in the Swiss plantation of Dolok in Sumatra, Indonesia, around 1900. She gave birth to one girl and two boys. The boys, while still children, were taken away from her to their father’s native country of Switzerland. When Willhelm Inhelder returned to the plantation with his Swiss wife, Anne Lak had to leave with her daughter, disappearing into history. The piece asks the question: who owns the body and the land in the context of the Swiss colonisation of Indonesia.
The film contemplates equally the deforestation in Indonesia, caused nowadays by palm oil production and its global demand. The Dolok plantation continues to operate today, but instead of rubber, coffee and tobacco, its land is being cleared for the palm oil now.
Artistic Director – Stefanie Inhelder
Performance – Kuan-Ling Tsai, Stefanie Inhelder
Camera Operator – Axel Töpfer, Youssef Chebbi
Composer – Stefanie Inhelder
Composition Mentor – Javier Munoz Bravo
Sound Artist – Ilpo Jauhiainen
Sound Engineer – Sebastian Fecke Diaz
Mastering Engineer – Gregor Zemljic
Pianist – Thea Soti
Produced by Splash & Burn, Studio Birthplace
Visual Artist – Ernest Zacharevic
Cinematographer & Editor – Nicholas Chin
Producer – Sean Lin
Art Assistant – Marsya Mohd Johari