Relocating Kampung, Rethinking Community: Salatiga's 'Festival Mata Air'

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Performing Contemporary Indonesia: Celebrating Identity, Constructing Community, 2015, 1, pp. 67 - 82
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As part of the collective effort of this volume to understand the cultural spaces in Indonesia after the end of the New Order, this chapter argues that small-scale arts festivals are key sites generating changing notions of place and community in contemporary Java. I take as my subject an annual activist festival that began in 2007, 'Festival Mata Air' (FMA, festival of Water) and its interactions with three Salatiga kampung neighbourhoods. Along with other festivals that emerged around the same time, such as the Forest Art Festival in Randublatung, FMA generates a fresh culture of protest, opens up the kampung as a space of public engagement and provides artists and performers with a viable alternative to curator-driven exhibitions and events. My analysis shows the potential that exists for dynamic local identities to interact meaningfully with the global, expanding the social imaginer of the kampung. During a festival, activists deconstruct the very idea of the kampung, by working with the community within the kampung as an official entity, and by creating an 'affinity space', which can also be thought of as an activist kampung.
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