The Bajau Laut or Sama Bajau are known to be expert seafarers and lived nomadically within the coastal waters of the Coral Triangle since 800AD. This is a region that covers Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. Crossing borders in this day and age is an intrusive act, as states have difficulty placing power and control over them. Due to the Nomadic lifestyle, it is hard for state governments to identify their citizenship and overtime they fall into statelessness. This means that they do not belong to any country nor get any benefit as a citizen such as identification, legal jobs, education, and medical.
Within this large region, investigations was focused towards Kg Bangau-Bangau, a water village in Semporna, Sabah.The village is legalised by the local Government, however basic infrastructure are poor and the representation on issues of statelessness and nomadic seafaring culture are often being overlooked.
This project uses ethnographic research to reconstruct and record digital models of their settlements, lifestyles and experiences and uses architectural research as a tool to explore ways to create the ‘Sama Instruments’.
The first instrument is a space for representation (The Exhibit centre) that displays and tells the story of the Bajau and their Boat making culture.
The second, are two cultural mobile education instruments for the young Bajau, which are the Modular School and Boat Workshop. This is to allow access to education and boat making skills wherever the Bajau children are located. Whilst the Boat Facility hub provides the Bajau a space to build and maintain the boat instruments.
The last series are the Biofuel Facility Instruments. Which proposes to improve the sewerage and pollution issues within the settlement by Anaerobic digestion methods and biofuel process.
Together, these instruments aims to celebrate the Sama-Bajau’s Seafaring Nomadic lifestyle and improve the facilities of the Sama-Bajau without losing their liminal heritage.