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Alexander Zaxarov
Jul 8, 2021

Along the coast of Jakarta, a wall attempts to keep the rising sea at bay. From within the city, groundwater pumping sinks the city. Calvin Chow spent a month on the wall, documenting a cautionary tale for other cities.

A wall is an act of human intervention. In the north of Jakarta, Indonesia, a seawall that extends far beyond what the eye can see attempts to separate land from water. Constructed as a brace against the relentlessness of time and water, it is in hope that the seawall will bring security of the future. But at the same time, it is a naked reminder of the ruthless nature of progress.

With nature as my starting point and the wall as the anchor, I travelled along the north edges of Jakarta in search of fragments. The wall stands for many things, what was and what is, ideas, dreams, and even hope. But ultimately, the physicality of the wall is a construct too stark to ignore. Getting over the wall would entail climbing makeshift ladders, some constructed with rope and driftwood, just to find a spot to fish or find a connection between one’s eyes and the sounds of the sea.

The photographs are but only a fragment of time and place, and a connection to the world we inhabit and inhibit.

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Alexander Zaxarov
July 8, 2021

Along the coast of Jakarta, a wall attempts to keep the rising sea at bay. From within the city, groundwater pumping sinks the city. Calvin Chow spent a month on the wall, documenting a cautionary tale for other cities.

A wall is an act of human intervention. In the north of Jakarta, Indonesia, a seawall that extends far beyond what the eye can see attempts to separate land from water. Constructed as a brace against the relentlessness of time and water, it is in hope that the seawall will bring security of the future. But at the same time, it is a naked reminder of the ruthless nature of progress.

With nature as my starting point and the wall as the anchor, I travelled along the north edges of Jakarta in search of fragments. The wall stands for many things, what was and what is, ideas, dreams, and even hope. But ultimately, the physicality of the wall is a construct too stark to ignore. Getting over the wall would entail climbing makeshift ladders, some constructed with rope and driftwood, just to find a spot to fish or find a connection between one’s eyes and the sounds of the sea.

The photographs are but only a fragment of time and place, and a connection to the world we inhabit and inhibit.

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