Collaborative cultural practices of activist networks in contemporary Indonesia

Asian Studies Association of Australia
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, Melbourne, Australia: Is this the Asian century?, 2008, pp. 1 - 11
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This paper focuses on the production of visual culture in the collaborative settings of contemporary Indonesian activism. It looks at networked cultural events as they build momentum as models of Indonesian activism, providing a viable alternative to formalised channels of presenting politicised artwork. These site-specific festivals have emerged as part of a rise of struggles for the environmental and social health of the local kampung, or neighbourhood. As activist communities conceive, plan, and produce specific responses to crises, their cultural practices, including their visual languages, develop new relationships to local, national and global politics. This research explores these innovative forms of activism, the tactics, organisation, style and relational biographies of communities, as sites of friction where meaning is produced. Rather than art projects designed to engage with a community on prescribed levels, these initiatives are process-based cultural projects, given a specific place in the local history of a neighbourhood, or kampung and assuming deliberate roles in the organisation of networks. By comparing three of these events - Festival Mata Air (Salatiga, 2006), Forest Art Festival (Randublatung, 2005) and OK Video Festival (Jakarta, 2007) - this paper addresses some of the cultural and environmental specificities of such work, including their collective and networked nature.
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