This essay explores the political significance of Balinese death/thrash fandom. In the early 1990s, the emergence of a death/thrash scene in Bali paralleled growing criticism of accelerated tourism development on the island. Specifically, locals protested the increasing ubiquity of Jakarta, ‘the centre’, cast as threatening to an authentically ‘low’, peripheral Balinese culture. Similarly, death/thrash enthusiasts also gravitated toward certain fringes, although they rejected dominant notions of Balinese-ness by gesturing elsewhere, toward a global scene. The essay explores the ways in which death/thrash enthusiasts engaged with local discourses by coveting their marginality, and aims to demonstrate how their articulations of ‘alien-ness’ contributed in important ways to a broader regionalism.
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