Bi-Weeklies by Putra Hidayatullah, December 2020
Bi-weekly Assembly I
(Triangle, 1 December 2020)
Matthias used a jamboard for everyone to express a word representing their feelings.
Everyone shares their thoughts and stories. Some worried about the Covid 19. Yazan lost his bike for the second time in the same week. Dangdut JAF. Mushroom Inland.
Gertrude: We are going to see collective values, working groups, wajuku and britto. See how to collaborate more. We do triangles for in-depth conversation, triangles with people you don’t know so much. Good conversation will lead to natural follow up conversation. Fifty minutes for a round triangle. To get to know each other better. Talk about anything or sing a song together.
JAF+ZKU+ (should be inland)
We have a topic which is the land. In that regard, there’s so many ways to see and look at land.
JAF: JAF’s is to buy land with money from documenta. You can come to make paintings with rice? Every four months we could harvest here.
Matthew: Is it to feed your team?
JAF: We are trying to think of having a production base, to keep food so that we could talk about the environment that we can grow together with society because we have basic production as we have targeted so that we will talk about a new economy. But it is still speculation.
We are also thinking about how and if there will be more public from Jakarta that will invest more. If we buy land we would try to make a contrast with the current situation.
ZKU: Are you located in the suburban area?
JAF: We are not outskirt Jakarta, we are in different provinces, different cultures. But, Jakarta is trying to ask for investment in rural areas. Now we are entering the urban phase. We’re in tension, in Jatiwangi, West Java.
ZKU: There must be tension on land, money tension. You buy land from investment from Jakarta. Is it complicated to buy the land?
JAF: Here we can just buy if there are sellers. It is different from your place. Unfortunately, how to make regulation so that it is all bought by Jakarta. Our place is very plain, far from mountains and sea. It is sexy for investors as it is far from disaster. Government has stated that it is going to be a new metropolitan.
ZKU: So, it is secure in your place. It is interesting for the government agenda. I see now.
JAF: It is like Berlin, even like Dubai. Because in Berlin there are many high buildings. But here’s a plan for that.
ZKU: Luckily, we are far away from Dubai. Here’s is super complicated by land. It is very regulated. The state is involved where you pay tax. The funding is not enough to buy anything. The land is very expensive. We have to invest in different things.
JAF: We have to buy land because there are economic roots which are sustainable that should be defended which otherwise might be eroded. Jatiwangi says for food we grow rice. Every planting time our traditional factory would allow workers to grow. This is what we are going to defend.
ZKU: Having your own land where people work in their own factory. It’s a mix of industrial production and rural economy. Very interesting. So, you are working in that tradition. How much land do you buy?
JAF: 1.700 meter square. We are trying to have it as a pilot project of how such big land is productive enough for UpToDate innovative farming. The idea of having laboratories to strengthen the good economic system to be better. This is the city that is going to be built in the near future (slideshow of aerocity) by the central government, Jakarta. We are struggling to create alternative comparative models with local governments.
ZKU: I think you are doing the right thing at the moment in time.
JAF: We are trying to arrange with the local government to create kota terracotta by using local material. To create homes as in Berlin. Now we are developing more terracotta designs, not only traditional one. We have agreed with the local government to create this district to be terracotta. Our partners are traditional factories here.
ZKU: Does the government agree with your ideas?
JAF: They perceive Jatiwangi as dangerous because most activities gathered more masses. They see masses politically. They have to agree. Otherwise, Documenta would be angry. Laughing.
ZKU: Does documenta bring more support in your situation?
JAF: Yes, when we are involved in documenta, we are thinking of not only exhibition. Not only making art. We are tired of it. We want art to be engaged by various people.
ZKU: You’re within your area working with local material, you are creating innovation and at the same time going into farming. This is what I understand. I wonder if any are from farming families?
JAF: We have two seasons. One for industrial use of roofs and for farming.
Putra: How about the situation in your city, Matthew? Do you do any farming in Germany?
ZKU: Yes, we are designing a plan for farming on the roof. But the summer causes the trees to die. We want to make trees speak with their own condition through twitter. Trees have their own twitter. Maybe we can also make it with rice in your context.
JAF: We have a government. There governmental hierarchy. National, province, and local. We try to make the locals stronger. This political point is to Jakarta. We want to .. we would like to invite the local government to Berlin to see things there so that they could, for example, have one night in ZKU to have Jatiwangi night in ZKU, to develop a plan together. To talk about your activities to show, to highlight activities.
ZKU: Absolutely. We’d like to have Jakarta look at it. It would be a great idea …
JAF: We would have our government support your twitter tree too. After this probably we could propose to Gertrude to talk about next year’s program. It is important to bring our government to your place.
ZKU: When you come to Berlin we could have an official Jatiwangi factory.
JAF: We are imagining if someone works in Nike who is not able to afford the price that could reach to 100 juta a pair and what if they quietly take it home. I used to stay two weeks in Berlin. I went to Frankfurt Oder. Talking with students working there.
Back to main room
Trampoline: It was super nice to have more to speak to continue our format to have more conversation to bring us really down to find similarities. What can we get from collaboration? There’s a lot to learn from the other lumbung partners. We have a school to teach asylum seekers and refugees. We also have Arabic class. We have a lot to learn from other partners.
Wajuuku: We would like to talk more about gudskul.
Question on Funding. We talk about resources and sharing and protest. We harvest or we talk. How we reproduce the money. How this is an experiment.
Gertrude: Next Monday we will have more sessions. Next Monday about Q&A about Question on funding and the Art Collaboratory.
Britto: We have indigenous we also have more time to talk because those … we need another session also
Everybody wants more time to have a second triangle.
Biweekly Assembly II
(triangle 15 December 2020)
Small dance with music, a check in by Eszter
ZK/U How are you everybody?
Busy for 2020. Hope for better 2021.
I work in a home office, no kindergarten. It’s crazy, day and night seem to be the same. Trying to keep everything working. Tiring. Everyone is a zoom conference, we have 3 to 4 zoom conferences daily. It’s getting like phone centers.
Wajuuku: hello everyone. It would be a good idea to start discussion. We are going to talk about urban farming. We are an artists group in Nairobi. We have no much space for farming. In the past, we have been trying to plant vegetables. This is to utilize more space. We do pottery farming. We have a hundred chickens, which transform into a library. Farming has always been something we want to do. We still want to do it in the future. For us that is the biggest challenge is space. In terms of what we produce is something that the community produces like eggs. Maybe just space makes space to stop farming.
Maybe it was good to start but there are a lot of challenges even to get water. Also to the pottery project the congestion of .. there is not enough air. Then move out. We need to think of a way or move to another area. We are trying to do what others have been doing in Nairobi. There was a lot of negative though.. dirty water, river but contaminated from industry. They realize that the crop is not healthy because of water. It is one with a lot of challenges. Maybe we can discuss something from this topic.
OFF Biennale: practically how do you do that? How do you invite them? Do you have a tactic?
We did a program in our organization and we do a lot of activities. Most urban farming is open space. You have sessions, you have how people come randomly. We have people running in our center.
The idea of educating is to realize that most children do not travel anymore like we did in the past. for food they buy in the supermarket. When we plant, we put seed in soil, they learn. Also to make your own food.
Also we did it because at school we are not taught about this. About food and how to go about it.
OFF Biennale: Do you also organize some events where you cook together?
We are using a kids club. We cook for them. How to use them. It is .. like 50 kids.
Our plan is to take the kid from the community to the farm and leave there for some day for future plant.
The idea is to bring the culture of farming to the community. Because it is something common to practice.
How would you see this in relation to Documenta?
Britto Arts Trust: During the lockdown we find people have issues with food. We then started to initiate this idea. Some start farming in their home. It is actually farming in urban life that is very luxurious. Water issues are expensive, the pollution. But at the end of the day it’s like healing. During lockdown I am very frustrated. Growing trees and plants for family members helps them feel more in touch with farming. We feel this is luxurious. But people need space. Some families really feel stuck at home. They feel it is another light during lockdown. I think this is important not only in terms of the food crisis, but also mental support like seeing how trees grow and so on. Next to our studio there is a chemical industry. Everyday a kind of gas comes to our house. It’s frustrating. We are thinking which plan can grow. Somehow we could get some outcome. But it is still something coming out. In the winter time is much better because the gas direction is not to our house. I think this is a very good idea of helping children in the city.
In Dhaka it is very complicated. It is a highly polluted city. It is a big challenge to make understanding with the neighborhood also. There’s a kind of farming community where there’s an alley. This is a kind of idea where you can grow your vegetables as much as you can.
OFF Biennale: There’s an artistic project that comes to my mind. There’s a factory that makes Teflon. It is chemical and water resistant. It is not melting into the water. If this material got into the ocean it will remain there forever. There’s a factory that produces this material, the project of this artist she went further to the next factory. She took photos and interviewed local inhabitants. All the water near there is poisoning. It’s happening in netherland. It is like what is happening here. So, it’s a very controversial project, very critical and the outcome is a very beautiful video.
Britto Arts Trust: We are also documenting how the planting was infected by the gas. We can see the .. from rooftop. Doing the video how the wind takes the gas direction. Few days in a week it changes. We take the video but during the lockdown we can’t go out. But the situation, we are not going out. But we are trying to understand through websites online. There’s plastic soda, chlorine. Sometimes once a year the particle is getting thicker and moving in various directions.
ZK/U: Non-human stakeholders including plants are very important. Here we have a picture where we work. Here we have leisure entertainment. We open up space for others to work in the land. It has some kind of integration power. We have Turkish community who are professional farmers. There are also other groups. So they are mingling. It has some kind social integration power. You need to have time, leisure time. But not all people have that. Something we feel to get more people actively engaged, how to grow, what different seeds you have .. for example for the last seven years we had workshops in beekeeping. There’s a saying you can’t have an art project without beekeeping. You see the bee keeping. This is how the ecosystem works. It is more engaging with the environment with technological level. This is important for people to understand how things work. We have temperature measurement with a monitor. There’s also an exhibition for beef. Now, not only for bees, we are also doing for trees, to put trees on our roof. We put censor into the trees to the ground. Every tree becomes its own character. The censor tells us the amount of water. The tree would send us messages via social media, like “Hey guys. What happened? I need water. I am dying”. It is to get people more engaged in the environment. Those who watered it will get social appraisal.
Britto Art Trust: how’s winter pressure?
ZK/U: We have winter, it is heavy. The tree on the roof will get something close to its neck.
OFF Biennale: How about the water? Is it rainwater?
ZK/U: The rain water, we have storage. We can pump up the water. It is a sustainable way of using water.
The maintenance is very low. The pump system is running with very little cost. These are very sturdy technologies. Very little maintenance cost.
The idea of nature maintenance is getting mainstream here. There’s a quite a lot of ecological political movement. The idea behind it is to have low running cost.
OFF Biennale: There’s a European law that should keep its green space. There’s a new building and it is only possible if they keep it green. It is super interesting although some would not follow it.
Britto Arts Trust: there’s also some cooperation coming into Indonesia …
Move to mainroom
Gertrude: I hope you had a good conversation.
Jatiwangi Arts Factory: we are discussing the future position of the museum, also discussion with Palestine and Off.
Britto Arts Trust: We had a very interesting conversation. We know what each is doing. Also an idea to help us to move to another direction. We talked about urban farming. Problem we face. How farming is getting more luxurious. But it gives a kind of healing process. That’s also another idea for urban planting .. urban life to be more concrete. How to engage with planting. We can also do this project with kids. Mathew has a big project on the roof.
We are trying to solve the issue of congestion in the populated areas. Our future plan is to have a farm.
Question on Funding: We began talking with our kids. Real moment, there’s lock down, kindergarten is closed but the work continues. I wish this year would end but next year won’t begin immediately. We need to acknowledge that it is tiring.
What else, we talked about museum, paramuseum. Discussion on Palestine museum also romamoma museum, museum from scratch, to build new structure in Colombia. Also discuss contemporary structure of art, contemporary art.
Eszter: It was a really nice conversation. Arief also pose some project for romamoma museum. How this project more open to lumbung process.
Gertrude: We’ll have next biweekly next January 14 together with the possibility of inviting new lumbung members.
Sarha On Jatiwangi Art Factory
Sarha is a community radio based in Palestine which is managed by a collective called Sakakini. As part of a lumbung members, they host lumbung members. Lumbung which means rice barn is a concept used by Documenta 15 as a curatorial theme covering from cultural to economic practices. Radio Sahara invited Jatiwangi Art Factory to get to know them better. It was 5 pm Indonesian time.
It is unusual to see the word art and factory in one name, said Sahara. We are curious. Could you tell us the story behind it?
Thank you. Yes, because there are many roof tile factories here. We also have one in our place, our house. Then, we were thinking of making another factory, the art factory. This is our place for activities. Since 2005 we have tried to take some notes. Arief is the founder. He returned to his hometown after a long trip and time in Jakarta, Bandung and other places. He then decided to go home and started to initiate Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF).
Very simple purpose.
Yes, because his family still lives here, as a source of food. This makes JAF different from other collectives in Indonesia. Because we are the only collective that has a mother. A mother who nurtures us. Laughing.
Interesting! You don’t use artists to introduce yourself. You can also be called a gangster. How important is the definition?
Yes, because there is no definition of art in JAF. We have only had roof tiles factories as an identity for hundreds of years. We thought maybe we could start from that history. And as you mentioned earlier, we can also be called gangsters. Our lives in the 1990s were indeed like a gangster because there were conflicts over roof tile factory issues, etc.
In the beginning we didn’t talk about art because no one understood art. Maybe art in our context does not separate art from the everyday. It is the reason why we don’t introduce ourselves as an art collective to our neighborhoods. That would be weird. They know us as relatives who were living in Arief’s place.
It is also difficult to define ourselves as artists, or as gangsters, and sometimes also as friends of local heroes such as Arief’s brother. This made it easy for us to do anything with our neighborhoods. People say we are helping the community, but we are actually the community itself. So, we do not represent anyone.
This sometimes scares the government, because we are dealing with the masses. They worry that we are smuggling our ideas that affect its policy and programs. Laughing.
This is amazing to hear as the name is a strategy you use, rather than let it define you and limit you. We’re going to continue this conversation. But before that, I’m going to put some music here. The song is about durian.
Rhythmic guitar playing accompanied by the sweet voice of a young lady, with the beat and bass accompaniment that flows smoothly in the ears. The song tells about the joy of welcoming the harvest that nature gives in the surrounding roof tile factory in Jatiwangi.
The song was created in 2012 at a residency festival. There is a friend from America who creates the lyrics. There are artists from Sao Paulo too. This song tries to archive the harvest here including the smell of the night, the smell of grain, and others. It was composed into songs to archive memories and harvest experiences.
Jatiwangi, apart from the factory, is also a rice field area. A lot of land is used to grow rice. When it was rice farming, they didn’t go to the factory. When all is finished, they return to the roof tile factory.
It’s an interesting thing because art is deeply rooted in people’s lives. This is what’s interesting here, right? I think this is something important where art is not a distance from people’s lives. Not only making art an object, but also making an impact for change. What about the economic model offered by JAF in its context?
We deal with it through praying, the young people from JAF said jokingly. Yeah, we happen to have a mother here. Also, Arief’s family has a very large land area. We are lucky here that we don’t have to rent land, because we live in our parents’ house. This is a wonderful thing. We’re safe in terms of the space issue. There are also people who kindly contribute.
The government also later gave us buildings, funds and other infrastructure. Maybe they are afraid of gangsters. Laughing. We got funding in 2016. Previously, only the foundation parents. Laughing.
So, your mother, your friends, and community friends, and private donations. I’d like to go into the smuggling idea. Did you plan it in the beginning?
Well, we actually learn this organically. Maybe when we have international funding because more and more international friends are coming here. They tell their friends. We get connected to the international networks. It is organic. Flexibility is important for us. Because we do not have any fixed model.
In the early days, back in 2005, we didn’t need much money. We could still live without money. Slowly then the money came. Sometimes we were afraid of the repercussions of having money in the first place. But then we tried to manage money. Thankfully we still survive. Sometimes we set up a kind of “trap” for the government to speak out, and give them a challenge. What if you could make this or that, for example.
In this respect, however, government in our context is different from that in other places. Here the government is around us, and not too far away, we make a music band inviting government people to join. So, there is a conversation. This may be something different elsewhere, in Jakarta for example. Or even in Palestine.That is the social capital that we had from the start. Besides, it happened that Arief’s brother was a head of the village. So, even though we don’t have money, we have social capital.
Of course, this is different from Palestine. Here the government is the problem, and even the enemy. How to develop structure and be able to manage in a community where sometimes the state doesn’t help you work but stops you from doing it. Alright, now we hear the next song. Sahara played a song by the Jatiwangi Factory band. It’s marvelous and triggers a sense of joy.
Very nice song. Who made this song?
It is our friend Tedi that made the song using ceramic guitar. Guitar from roof tile.
Can you tell us a little about it?
This story is entitled Nalar (reason) made during the presidential election in Indonesia. The music was taken from traditional musical instruments, for rearrangement, then Tedi made a ceramic guitar and a flute using the ceramics. The guitar gives a wholesome sound. The song was inspired by the village head election. It was released during the presidential election in Indonesia.
Tell me about this music festival using ceramic. This is very special what you do and the material. we also heard that eleven thousand people came to the festival. How did it happen?
Yes, so there are lots of roof tiles here. We invite people to use what we have as a resource. Trying to reconnect with our neighbors and use musical instruments and compose songs together. At first it was just a tool to invite people to gather.
Tedi then created a band that made him famous. Since then it has become very easy to get young people together. Later, we made a festival. Every three years we invite people to bring tiles from the land we live in. We waited three years to play music with people for 20 minutes. This then became a routine ceremony. I personally feel that the momentum of being together is important and will be remembered further.
You said you have a kitchen where you cook. You combine what a house is to community and beyond that. I haven’t seen that a lot in my life. We eat together, but we never cook together. The process becomes more engaging. Alright everyone, we are playing another song called Wakkare. The song was beautifully sung. The guitar and beat harmoniously played. It took us to another moment of joy.
What is the meaning of wakkare?
It is actually a Japanese word. It archives something for us. There is a conflict with the construction of the airport. This word is reminiscent of the Japanese colonial past. Wakkare means goodbye where people had to move and take refuge. For us this song is important, because it tells about our problems. So, this becomes an archive. Previously this was only in the minds of the older generation and was forbidden to sing about. Then, we searched and remade and played with ceramic instruments. We made this song during a video festival in our village. We made karaoke and sang this song together during the festival.
Is it still forbidden?
Laughing. That’s why we organized the event because this is an excuse to invite mayors and governors so there is no reason for state officials to ban it. This is a kind of bargaining.
Interesting! If I may ask, the village is already making ceramics. And now they don’t do it anymore?
They are still making pottery, roof tile, and brick. But the factories were reduced and foreign factories came, such as the Nike factory, the biggest Nike factory in Southeast Asia. This makes changes in people’s lives. That’s why we consider this necessary. We didn’t use confrontation because many villagers were also working there. That’s why we need flexibility. Smuggling ideas is one of the strategies.
Every three years we produce musical instruments like flutes. Then we pray together for the flute. Later we collectively played them. It was only the production used for the festival. We came to schools and communities and made flutes together.
Roof tiles that were held in 2018 invited many people to come from various parts including other regencies and cities. It’s actually a festival made for Jatiwangi people to gather. But then the people around came.
For me this is interesting to see JAF do something like this! People make their own musical instruments and play them themselves. This is something rare. Because people often become consumers of culture, not producers of culture.
Are you involved in the development of the community in general?
During this year we talked about terracotta cities, as our models and future projects. This will be a 5-year project. We work with several parties including the government. So, to make that model, we invited the governor as an artist, not as governor. He is Ridwan Kamil who before becoming governor was an architect. So, in this context, policy is an art. And the governor as an artist.
Previously, the government had proposed Jatiwangi as a development area that brought Nike Company, but later we created the concept of a Terracotta city. Then this year a policy was signed that Jatiwangi is the model for terracotta. Next year, we will talk about some points such as certain areas that cannot be purchased because of the agricultural land in the concept of a terracotta city.
How would you see your opportunity in document a as a tool?
Since it’s still early days, we try to make friends. Our activities always start with building friendship with anyone. We have to make friends. This lumbung is another way for us for silaturahmi, to make consolidation, brotherhood. We are happy to welcome all of you here.
Marvelous conversation. The next roof tile music is in 2021. There is no audience, everyone is a cultural maker. Time is running out. Before we play the last song to end this, we say thank you. We hope to meet very soon.