top of page


Teruntuk Kancil Jawa di Kebun Binatang Artis di Amsterdam

(To Javan Kantjil in Artis Zoo, Amsterdam)

On going project

Have you ever heard the Indonesian saying “Elephants fight with other elephants, a kancil dies in the middle"? The meaning of this proverb is that when people in high positions fight or fight with each other, then the victims are the lowly people.

- Excerpt from Kantjil script by Ratu R. Saraswati



I will tell you about the landscape outside this cage you live in, in this small mammal house pavilion with heating system and humidifier. It is very cold outside. It is -1 degrees Celsius. It’s below the freezing point, the plants covered by crystalized evaporated water. It is so cold for someone like me who came from Java and used to be under the sun all year long. There, my forefathers and foremothers lived and are buried. I believe yours too.

In East Java, last week, Mount Semeru erupted. It is raining volcanic ash. These ashes covered everything. You can not see what is underneath them. You better close your eyes before the ash gets in

In these lowlands, they can grow many things, but they cannot grow mountains. Let alone volcanoes.

You may never have lived near any volcanoes, but I believe it is in the genes, right? We will always sense it and know when to run from danger, to survive all these.

A tall guy with blonde hair, who does a volunteer job here has just talked to me in front of this cage. He told me that animals’ minds, this kancil’s mind, is very simple, unlike a human’s, “They probably live just happy inside that cage. As they are a solitary animal and roam only in a small area in the wild”, he said. 

“How do you know?” I said to him, “They do not know what a tropical jungle is. They do not know how to sense a mountain.”

Manusia pikir mereka tahu semua hal. Humans, like me and him, think that we know everything in this world.

- Excerpt from Kantjil script by Ratu R. Saraswati


Presentation at Between Four Walls, PrintRoom, Rotterdam

Photograph and script by Ratu R. Saraswati

Performance documentation by Willem Mes

bottom of page