24/10/2017 (Tuesday) 6PM
in the exhibition space

Gotong Royong. 

A short history of Indonesian cooperation.

Participants: Irwan Ahmet and Tita Salina, Marianna Dobkowska, Krzysztof Łukomski, Reinaart Vanhoe

Gotong royong is a term that means common task. In a nutshell, this phrase could be translated as above, although its importance as well as role in Indonesian culture are too significant to be reduced to such a simple meaning. So, what is Gotong Royong and why should it be applied to our present reality? These questions will be answered in the first discussion of the program accompanying the exhibition Gotong Royong. Things we do together. Looking at the social, political, and economic changes economic crises, political and religious extremism, debates around climate change, the rise of populism and nationalism, the education crisis, the breakdown of communal ties that have taken place in recent years can be seen around the world. In the process, gotong royong is becoming a point of departure in the attempt to outline an effective response strategy to these changes. The sources as well as specifics of gotong royong will be depicted by referencing the historical-social contexts in Indonesia. Without this orientation, it would be difficult to build a universal way of using the Indonesian method of working together. Can such activity become an artistic and curatorial strategy? A source of contemporary activism? These are additional questions posed to the invited speakers. If so, we must look at the global equivalents of gotong royong, such as collectivism, solidarity, and activism. What connects them? And what divides them? Often, grafting concepts heedlessly between separate areas carries risks. In that case, does the use of the Indonesian gotong royong entangle itself in exoticism, tribalism? Or, does it become the starting point for politics of resistance?

Invited to partake in the discussion:

Reinaart Vanhoe artist and researcher. Works in Rotterdam and Jakarta. He participated in a residency program at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. In his practice, he combines artistic and educational activities. He lectures at the Willem de Koonig Academy. He is one of the founders of the STDSPS/DEPLAYER program. He works with experimental video and film. Author of numerous articles on collective work as an artistic strategy. In 2016, he published "Also-Space, From Hot to Something Else: How Indonesian Art Initiatives Have Reinvented Networking", in which he looks at the activities of Indonesian art collectives such as Ruangrupa, Lifepatch, Jatiwangi art Factory and many others. He analyzes the importance of collective work, but also the notion of the autonomy of artistic-educational work, placing these concepts in the context of gotong royong.

Irwan Ahmett & Tita Salina artists from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, who are coming to Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art for a three-month artistic residency; will work in Warsaw on the description and illustration of the titled ethical slogan gotong royong, finding its reference in the contemporary practice of its country. As part of the exhibition, we will present their films a result of their artistic activities with marginalized communities in Java. Ahmett and Salina will also prepare special speeches for the public program.

Marianna Dobkowska curator of the Ujazdowski Residencies Program at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art as well as curator of the exhibition "Gotong Royong. Things we do together". 

Curators of discursive programme accompanying the exhibition "Gotong Royong. Things we do together" : Marianna Dobkowska and Konrad Schiller