Researched, filmed, and recorded on Bangka island in the Indonesian archipelago, Kasiterit is a video installation that explores the complex entanglement of tin with contemporary technology and the labour dynamics on the island. Branded as one of the major exporters of tin in the world, Bangka’s tin represents one-third of the global tin supply. Due to its low melting point and high electrical conductivity, tin is an instrumental foundation in all electronic apparatus and every digital screen. In Kasiterit, Riar traces the materiality of tin from the mine to the museum, from the tension between communities, politics, and mining, to the geophysics that shapes the daily life of human and nonhuman life on the island. From the moment it is extracted from the soil until it ends buried as e-waste back in the earth, tin travels around the globe as an actant that shapes our dependency on technological apparatus. There is a little piece of Bangka island in everyone’s pocket. - Hidden Space

Kasiterit consists of a film (colour, 18') and video installation.

Film synopsis

One-third of the global tin supply is extracted from Bangka island in Indonesia. Tin is the most impacted mineral by the upcoming technological development, which includes artificial intelligence and technology for renewable energy. Natasha is a solar-powered A.I. voice, and in this film, they trace their genealogy and the truth of their origin; from the capital liquidity to labour dynamic. With their feminised voice—as quite often performed by other AI-powered voice assistants produced by tech-companies, Natasha narrates the emergence of tin in Bangka island and their existence from the perspective of tropical anthropology of nature, value theory, philosophy of time, genetic mutation, geopolitics, and automation.

Film still

Installation view at solo show Hidden Space, HK 2019

Fabric screen, HD video 18'16

Kasiterit (extended)

iPhone 5, looped HD video 00'06

iPhone 6, looped HD video 21'38


Installation view at State of Motion 2021: [Alternate / Opt] Realities

Photos courtesy of Asian Film Archive