The Beauty and the Beast

Hahn Hartung

2015 - 2016

Indonesia is located between the Pacific, Eurasian, and Australian tectonic plates. This region is known as the ‘ring of fire’, and is regularly affected by natural disasters which include frequent occurrence of earthquakes, volcano eruptions and tsunamis. Indonesia has approximately 130 active volcanoes, the tsunami threat is constant and earthquakes with a magnitude of around five or six on the scale of Richter happen almost on a daily basis. Yet the Ring of Fire does not only bring death and destruction. Farmers move next to volcanoes because the soil is specially fertile due to the volcano-ashes and the material of the eruptions is sold as high-quality building material. There are tons of tourists waiting in jeeps on the volcanoes or lying with all-inclusive cocktails in the sun on tsunami-endangered beaches. Some are highly attracted by volcanoes and come to see ongoing eruptions.

On the other hand, visitors value the feeling that everything is well prepared for an emergency. In some places there are so-called tsunami warning buttons with which the hotel staff can trigger an alarm. There are also shamans. In some places their word means more than the data of the scientists. Their attempt to empirically track down the forces of nature with sensors, seismographs, and international research teams is the opposite of the traditional view of blaming human sins and not the unfavorable geographic location for the forces of nature.

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  • A crewman of search and rescue in Bali.

  • Emergency switch in a hotel in Bali.

  • Golf course on Mount Merapi in Central Java.

  • Noer Cholik, a volcanologist and his porter working on top of Mount Merapi

  • Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Java.

  • A boy during a tsunami exercise of a school in Jimbaran on Bali.

  • A sulfur mine in the crater of the Ijen volcano.

  • The Shaman of Banaran Keningar, one of the highest towns on Mount-Merapi. In case of an upcoming eruption many villagers rather listen to the advice of a Shaman than to the official authorities.

  • A Quran recovered from the ashes of the 2010 eruption of Mount Merapi.

  • Chinese tourists in Nusa Dua, Bali.

  • A fisherman in a town of Sumatra. The word Tsunami is Japanese and originates from fishermen who, only when coming back from sea noticed that there has been a Wave in their Harbour.

  • A car destroyed by the 2009 earthquake in Padang, West-Sumatra.

  • A man in front of a residential house in the so called Teletubbie-village. The village was built after an earthquake destroyed an older village nearby. The houses are designed to be earthquake proof.

  • Across Padang city there are areas of subduction, which can trigger a powerful earthquake and generate tsunamis in the near future.

  • A women in front of her old house in Painem, Central-Java. After an Earthquake it was destroyed and she was displaced.

  • [:en]
    Tourist on top of Mount Ijen. There are lots of tourists walking up and down the crater all night and all day long, together with the sulfur miners who are working there.

  • Tsunami-shelter in Padang, West-Sumatra.

  • Parma from Imogiri. He was injured during the 2006 earthquake in Central Java.

  • Bapak Gimin in his living room, showing how his father "hid" from a pyroclastic flow of an eruption of Mt. Merapi.

  • A sulfur miner in the crater of the Ijen volcano.