An ongoing visual guide to the myths of the mountain, including infographics and editorials.
Closer to nature, the caterpillar sweater arises from the other-worldly textures of flora and fauna — from forest floors covered with moss to fuzzy tiger manes. The so-called 'caterpillar' technique decorates this sweater with a rare plush embroidery, consisting of fuzzy white loops. By embroidering these two words on a garment, we aim to materialise the mythical place we hold dear: Macan Mountain.
On 35 mm, 120 mm and diafilm, shot by: Joost Bremmers
Model: Niels Reinders
Once, Macan roamed carefree on the island of Java. Their natural habitat spanned the area’s entire length, thriving on the Western shores and forests of Ujong Kulon up to Gunung Raung’s volcanically-sculpted surfaces in the East. Human encroachment and poaching quickly destructed Macan’s ability to move freely. As a last resort, the Striped One vanished into the remote and rugged mountains of Meru Betiri. Rumour has it that this subspecies has been spotted again several times. Where and when these tiger encounters took place (perhaps, luckily) remains a mystery.
The Indonesian Islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali were once home to distinct tigers. These subspecies evolved differently from other tigers due to the unique and isolated habitat of each place. The narrower stripes of these island tigers provide the perfect camouflage to mimic light reflections on the forest floor. While their smaller bodies allow agility when moving through dense jungles and fast-changing terrains.
Tiger Subspecies of the World
The science of classifying species into distinctive groups (taxonomy) is a questionable process. At times, differences between tigers tend to be marginal, while later on considered significantly unique.
Taxonomy is a human construct, rooted in colonial history, used to systematise and (ultimately) control nature. But figures and facts cannot fully account for the mythical and dynamic aspects of nature. In 2015, National Geographic reviewed that the extinct Caspian tiger became too closely related to Siberian tigers. Were previous examinations inaccurate or did these tigers evolve towards each other? Can one subspecies live on in another? Is “extinct” forever?
Note: the Caspian, Javan and Balinese tiger are currently labelled as extinct. Others are on the verge of extinction.
Jawa Tee / Virtual Forester
A modest ode to a mythical island. Visualising Java’s natural contours of volcanic craters and mountainous forests. Worn by our virtual forester, the guide to mountain myths.
Jawa's Natural Surface
Instead of frequently seen maps of streets and cities, this topographical map visualises some of Java’s natural contours — from volcanic craters to forested cliffs. What mythical species are taking shelter at the crooks and crannies of this island?
As the Javan tiger got lost out of sight, how does clothing continue to embody its mythical presence? Macan Mountain’s first chapter introduces its namesake inhabitant: the mythical Macan. Traces of the tiger are translated into illustrations on garments, turning them into wearable memories of Javanese myths.
Photographer: Patrick Ravoo
Models: Giulia and Sanno
Macan Mountain is a place haunted by afterimages of mythical creatures. Among them is the Javan tiger, also known as Harimau Jawa or Macan (pronounced as ma-chan).
The Macan got lost out of sight in 1976 after humans forced them to flee to mountainous forests, where it vanished into extinction. Until recently, when reports and rumours suggested a potential resurrection. Did the Javan tiger reappear? Or does tiger media merely reflect the haunting presence of species pushed to extinction?
Macan Mountain's first chapter introduces its namesake inhabitant through illustrations on garments. Creating wearable memories of Javanese myths.