The focus of our research project is art textbooks that are used in schools in post-Reformasi 1998 Indonesia. Following the Asian Financial crisis in 1997, poor economic performance, dissafection within various elements of society and burgeoning criticism of the regime culminated in the protests, violence and eventually riots in May 1998 that led to Soeharto’s resignation and the end of New Order after 32 years. To sum up, we are studying how art and knowledge of art are formed through education and art textbooks.
Alternative spaces have inhabited the local art scenes in Indonesia since the end of 1990s. Many artists in many cities have taken initiatives to built new galleries, art film houses, and spaces for discussions, alternative media, and libraries. All these efforts are being undertaken by people outside of formal institutions; locals who unite themselves in response to the lethargic development of art infrastructure in Indonesia. Different initiatives on education that are conducted by Ruang Rupa and Indonesian Visual Art Archive are cases in points. Ruang Rupa, a Jakarta-based artist initiative: publishing Karbon art journal, conducting curatorial and art writing workshops. Indonesian Visual Art Archive, a Yogyakarta-based organization focusing on art and archive: conducting art writing workshop since 2005, also created a project called the ‘Gerilya project’ where they brought artists to schools
What kind of knowledge do we want to gather from this research project?
The rise of alternative spaces on arts and culture in 1998 has been followed by reformation in alternative ideas on education initiatives. Focusing on the existing art textbooks will allow this research to do historical investigation for principle ideas which have formed formal art education at a wider level. Both state-made and alternative ideas on art education curriculum as well as the long-established experiments on art education at the local level will be compared. It will also allow this research project to examine further the translation of art during the colonial era into national art education as we have today. This research also aims to critically document relational position between state, education institutions, and alternative spaces on art and culture.
The Yogyakarta working group was initiated by KUNCI Cultural Studies Center. KUNCI Cultural Studies Center is is a non-profit and independent organization established in in 1999 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. KUNCI is working to create an Indonesian society that is culturally critical, open, and empowered. Its mission is to develop cultural studies with the spirit of experimentation and to advance its criticality into a wider movement through popular education practices.
The members of this working group are Ferdiansyah Thajib, Nuraini Juliastuti, Antariksa, Fandi Hutari, Syafiatudina, and Brigitta Isabella.
Ferdiansyah Thajib was born in Bandung, Indonesia (1978). He is working as co-Director of KUNCI Cultural Studies Center. Currently he is a Phd. Candidate in the Institut für Ethnologie, Freie Universität Berlin. After finishing his study at the Graduate Program of Religious and Cultural Studies, Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta in 2006, he has been actively working as a researcher in the field of cultural studies, on individual as well as collaborative basis. Thajib’s subject of interests weave through issues of media and technology, performance studies, critical sexuality studies, and anthropology of emotion as well as space and culture.
Nuraini Juliastuti was born in Surabaya, Indonesia (1975). In 1999 she co-founded KUNCI Cultural Studies with Antariksa and currently she is working as co-director. She graduated from Communication Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta in 2001 and continued her study in International School for Humanities and Social Sciences, Universiteit van Amsterdam majoring Contemporary Asian Studies (2007-2008). Currently she is Phd. Candidate in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology Department, Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Universiteit Leiden. Since 2003 Juliastuti writes many paper for academic journals and national media. In 2010 she co-wrote a research report titled “Videochronic: Video Activism and Video Distribution in Indonesia” with Ferdiansyah Thajib.
Antariksa is co-founder of KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. As a cultural practictioner, he has a widely experience researching about Indonesian contemporary art and culture, contributing for a number of publications. In 2005, he published the book Tuan Tanah Kawin Muda: Hubungan Seni Rupa-LEKRA 1950-1965. A member of ICAN (Indonesian Contemporary Art Network), he has been organising cultural events with a primary interest on reflections about art and society. He is now Fellow Researcher at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan (February-March 2013).
Fandi Hutari was born in Jakarta (1984). He studied at History Department, Padjajaran University, Bandung. He has contributing short stories and essays in many publication. He also has published some books, Sandiwara dan Perang; Politisasi Terhadap Aktifitas Sandiwara Modern Masa Jepang (Ombak, 2009), Ingatan Dodol; Sebuah Catatan Konyol (IMU, 2010), Hiburan Masa Lalu dan Tradisi Lokal; Kumpulan Esai Seni, Budaya, dan Sejarah Indonesia (Insist Press, 2011). Besides writing, Hutari also works as freelance journalist and magazine editor in Bandung.
Syafiatudina, or for short Dina, was born in Melbourne, Australia (1988). In 2012, she managed to complete her bachelor degree in Communication Studies, Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta. Currently, she is working as program manager and researcher in KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (www.kunci.or.id). Besides working on KUNCI’s project, she also writes for other purposes, such as exhibition catalogs and online publication. Her interests are ranging from music, technology, arts and culture to history, especially oral and local history.
Brigitta Isabella was born in Jakarta, Indonesia (1989). She studied Philosophy at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta. Since 2010 she work as junior researcher at KUNCI Cultural Studies. In 2011-2012 she worked as researcher for Empowering Women Artists program at Yayasan Kelola. Her research interest mainly in epistemology, media and popular culture and contemporary art. Besides working at KUNCI she also writes essays for some art exhibition catalogues and books.
Links for more information and current activities:
KUNCI Cultural Studies Center inhabits a precarious position of belonging to neither this nor that within existing disciplinary boundaries while aiming at expanding them. The collective’s membership is open and voluntary, and is so far based on an affinity to creative experimentation and speculative inquiry with focus on intersections between theory and practice. Since its founding in 1999 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, KUNCI has been deeply preoccupied with critical knowledge production and sharing through means of media publication, cross-disciplinary encounter, research-action, artistic intervention and vernacular education within and across community spaces.
SPACE/SCAPE is a project division of KUNCI Cultural Studies Center which is maintained as a critical engagement with ways of thinking around our contemporary conditions of space as forms of social practices. The conceptual-practical natures of this exploration weave through various issues ranging from architecture, geography, urbanism to experience of everyday life, with strong emphasis on collaborative approaches, open circulations, and knowledge-sharing processes.
Made in Commons is series of experiments on commons as categories in the making by ways of doing things together and exploring what we have in common. Made in Commons Indonesia will involves experiments in form of discussion, reading group, research, residency, events production which will be organize by KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in cooperation with artists, art collectives, researcher, dan communities. The whole process and discussions will be represented in form of exhibition and symposium on March 2014.
KUNCI is invited to take part in Hong Kong’s Migrant Domestic Workers Project–a new project of Para Site, a leading contemporary art institution in Hong Kong. KUNCI’s research culminates in the August launch of A Room of Their Own, a project which comprises different activities–reading groups, publications, and audio-book projects. As a start we conduct Afterwork Reading Club, a reading group of six sessions dedicated to the literature on modes of gendered migration. This event will be held in three locations: at Victoria Park (the main meeting point of the Indonesian migrant workers in Hongkong), in a center for domestic workers and in private housing. Focusing on the act of reading and writing prose, this reading group aims to study together the unruly aspects of migrant domestic workers’ life.