Gotong royong means “common task” in the Indonesian language. It is a working method widely used in Indonesia that could be explained as “things we do together, learning from each other in a mutual activity.”
Can knowledge come into existence as the sum of ignorance? What is needed for this seemingly impossible equation to be fulfilled? Cooperation is something more than just a mechanism for collective management of resources, and so can be a way to overcome the systems that rule both the art world and everyday life. When resources change into shared goods, how can they be activated for the sake of community-building? What role does art play in the process?
Within the exhibition and the concurrent public program, we set in motion practices that were not intended to produce objects but rather affects, the creation of space for encounters and dialogue that works towards social change.
Looking for an answer to the question of what the Things We Do Together are, we present reports of the many years’ experience of the creators, collectives and communities using their own rules of good-work ethics in practice. In places where institutions fail, they establish their own. Often they work collectively for a community, or in dialogue with one. Their habitus more outside the gallery than witin it. They treat art as a tool for building the community and not a production of market goods. They stand up against market laws and stand together on group work, solidarity and the sharing economy. They produce alternative systems for teaching and for un-learning, new economies and imaginative spaces. The participants of Gotong Royong. Things We Do Together use competencies from different fields to support and create communities – at Ursus, in Amazonia, Kenya and the villages of Java or in the suburbs of New Orleans.