The number in the title of this work, 15.000.000 Parachutes, refers to the population of Jakarta, Indonesia. It was estimated that around sixty percent of the 15.000.000 inhabitants were unemployed at the time of filming. Diaz Morales’s video is an allegory, telling the story of one man, a ‘parachutist’, as a metaphor for the plight of those unemployed. The cyclical structure of the narrative mirrors the cyclical life of an anonymous would-be worker. Each morning, the voiceover tells us, the parachutist wakes up, finds the taps at his sink do not work so washes his face in bath water and summons the courage to ‘attempt another jump’. These jumps are made from the national monument of Jakarta, Monas, an obelisk topped with a gold flame, which was built in the 1960s and 70s to symbolize Indonesia’s independence. The narrative delivered over the images in 15,000,000 Parachutes complicates the status of the film. While the images document social poverty in Jakarta, Diaz Morales presents the story in a way that is surreal and fantastical. The parachutes that are launched throughout the film are in fact miniatures, weighted down with toy figurines.
This work was filmed and edited within a period of three weeks in the inner city and surroundings of Jakarta. Morales montaged together segments of video in a way that maintains the immediacy of the medium. The roughness of Diaz Morales’ film adds to the urgency of the story of Jakartan inhabitants’ struggle for survival and dignity in the face of devastating unemployment.