Mapping Memory Landscapes in Nodegoat, the Case of the Indonesian Killings of 1965–66


In this paper we will explore the process of mapping memory landscapes by use of the web-based data management, analysis and visualisation environment ‘nodegoat’ ( We aim to dynamically organise fuzzy data, gathered during multiple interview sessions, in multimodal networks. We will use events connected to the 1965 anti-communist violence in Semarang as a case study. The digital recording of these events are the result of a series of workshops within the pilot project ‘Memory Landscapes; Anti-Communist Violence in Semarang  1965’ of dr. Martijn Eickhoff (NIOD - Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam) organised in cooperation with the Universitas Katolik Soegijapranata (UNIKA) in Semarang. During these workshops, students from UNIKA collected data on these events in nodegoat by combining oral history and anthropological site research. The data includes relations between people as well as locations connected to the events of 1965 (e.g. places of mob violence, temporary detention, interrogation, torture, murder and mass burial). LAB1100 has developed nodegoat, conceptualised the data model used during the workshop and supervised the data entry processes in the field.

The digitisation of individual and community memory in nodegoat discloses an alternative network of non-official places of memory. Using our object-oriented environment in the workshops, interviewers store information provided by the interviewees instantly, consistently and without limitation. Following Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2005), people/events/artefacts are considered equal: objects. This allows us to analyse individual accounts and map contradictory or conflicting connections within the collective. This establishes a process of self-identification of all objects involved, including all controversies that arise. The network takes on a rhizomatic perspective as any object can be connected to any other object by reference, as source of a relation, and for the configuration of location and date. The nonhierarchical workflow allows for various methodological approaches in mapping the nodes of the 1965 memory landscape. Our paper will expand on key features and issues related to the process of recording individual and community memory by means of the web-based research environment nodegoat.