Tags: urban development, education, sociopolitical reality.
SERRUM runs an open collaborative space for artists in Jakarta and its activities ranges from organizing alternative arts educations, collaborative murals and gallery exhibitions as well as arts-based urban development critiques. The Jakarta based collective initiated in 2006 fills in a refreshing outtake in the scene of urban-artistic engagement in Indonesia, as they apply community building approaches through experimentations, organic and practice-based ways to look at the issues that it seek to problematize.
This artist-initiatives carries valuable imports to the development of models on how artists-civic participations engage with the shifting sociopolitical realities of today through everyday languages , convivial forms and local appropriations. The group’s concerns and practices (the group members are predominantly students and graduates of a university which concentrates on teaching methods and curriculum development) haven been largely transmedial, probing the possibilities of exploring non-pedantic mode as well as alternatives forms of public education.
Irwan Ahmett has been an avid social campaigner through communicative and playful visual arts approaches. Many of his works and activities are revolving around issues of urban and environmental condition, strategic graphic design and public communication processes. Through populist and playful manners, Ahmett develops a visual-focused body of works that touches the fundamental issues of human relations in local urban settings. This is demonstrated by his mid to long term design-based campaigns which managed to attract strings of followers among Indonesian youth such as through Change Your Self, Hapiness and Urban Play.
Irwan Ahmett and his wife Tita Salina founded ahmettsalina (http://www.ahmettsalina.com), a strategic graphic design communication services in Jakarta. Irwan and Tita are both currently in their one-year nomadic travel to Europe and beyond to expose and calibrate their experiences with different fabrics of urban life as well as the practices constituting the international arts scene.
Aryo Danusiri is an Indonesian video artist and visual anthropologist who is currently doing his Phd. in the Media Anthropology program, with a secondary field in Critical Media Practice at Harvard University, USA. His works have been exploring the circulations of new keywords, violence and memory in the sociopolitical landscape of post-authoritarian Indonesia after 1998. The reason that I am recommending his name, despite the fact that he doesn’t define his practices under the field of visual arts, is his transdiciplinary and experimental attempts in broadening the discursive boundaries of documentary practices. His delicate and subtle treatment (via sensory ethnography which is being developed in his independently-run laboratory of moving image, called Ragam Media Network – http://www.ragam.org/) in his body of works for me has been a courageous effort in testing the fuzzy boundaries between video art, experimental film and documentary. His latest production made in Manhattan, NY, in 2011, On Broadway (http://der.org/films/on-broadway.html) testifies to the artistic imprints in dealing with complex issues of urban space formations and its relational tensions between the sacred and the profane, the collective and the individual, the everyday and the political. One of the many versions of On Broadway, entitled The Fold was presented as a single channel during ruangrupa’s OK Video festival in Jakarta and NGBK, Berlin, both held in 2011.