Issue 24.1, February 2009

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Editor's Introduction

Remediated forms of money reveal Indonesia’s emergent political imaginaries as they coalesced in a time of crisis, when signs of authority and authenticity were at stake and up for grabs. That the face of money acquired such currency during Indonesia’s post-Suharto transition was due to its legibility, mobility and reproducibility as a public form and to its status as already a medium of political communication. The 50,000 rupiah bill effectively crystallized a range of discourses that circulated around the figure of Suharto and his use of political power for economic gain and economic power for political gain.  In street protests, performance art, cartoons, illustrations, popular songs, and campaign stickers, people took money’s messages out of the exclusive hands of the state and made it speak, in various ways, in the name of post-Suharto Indonesia’s “real.”