Ruangrupa Interconnect Indonesia

28 September 2013 3 November 2013

Residence and art installation
Project rooms, Färgfabriken

Participants: the artist collective Ruangrupa and M Dwi Marianto, professor vid Institut Seni Indonesia

During their residence at Färgfabriken Ruangrupa artist collective makes an process-based art installation in the project rooms showcasing their methods of communicating through contemporary art in Indonesia.

Indonesia is a nation with a dynamic cultural life. Färgfabriken has, through the New Urban Topologies project, met people and groups on site who are doing interesting and exciting projects. This has led to an exchange between Indonesia and Sweden, two different projects will be implemented during the autumn.

The artist collective Ruangrupa came to Stockholm in September to live and work on an installation that will be shown in the fall in the Färgfabriken project room. The exhibition shows two of Ruangrupa’s ongoing projects Icons and Mobile Cinema. The projects describe both Ruangrupa’s work processes in Indonesian cultural life and provide an insight into Indonesian contemporary art.

Icons – is a project that explores culture in the urban environment. By analogically mapping different activities with icons, will visitors to Färgfabriken be able to tell their own stories about Stockholm. Ruangrupa also shows a map of Jakarta where they themselves have added various icons. They also show documentation from other cities where they implemented the project. Icons are a way to map and tell about the exchange of social actions.

Mobile Cinema – is an itinerant video screening project initiated by Ruangrupa. By mounting a projector, speakers and DVD player on a cart, bicycle or scooter and then traveling to remote locations and islands in Indonesia and projecting on facades or temporary screens, Ruangrupa has spread the visual culture and video art to a large audience. The project is now running on its own with the help of local actors. At Färgfabriken, we get to see a program of video art by artists from different regions of the country.

Here you can see a description of the project by Ruangrupa’s representative Reza Afisina.

In connection with the opening of the exhibition, Professor M Dwi Marianto from the art college ISI (Institut Seni Indonesia) Yogjakarta came to give lectures on Indonesian contemporary art at Färgfabriken. Dwi Marianto has also put together a program of video art that will be shown in parallel with Ruangrupa’s exhibition.

About the participants

Ruangrupa was initiated in the year 2000 and is now run by a group of Jakarta-based artists. The non-profit organization focuses on developing art within the cultural context, through research and documentation as well as through collaborations with various artists resulting in exhibitions, residency programs and workshops. They also run a video biennial called OK.Video – Jakarta International Video Festival since 2003.

Professor M Dwi Marianto (b.1956, Jakarta) teaches at the art college ISI (Institut Seni Indonesia) Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He also works as a freelance curator and has published several books. He observes the art scene in Yogyakarta and continuously updates his website;, with new works of art and cultural phenomena.

Bilateral exchange

Färgfabriken traveled to Indonesia during April and December 2013. The first trip was a follow-up to the previous contacts that Färgfabriken had in Indonesia in 2012 when Sida financed a feasibility study for a New Urban Topologies project in Indonesia.

During the second trip in December, Färgfabriken held video screenings and lectures about Swedish contemporary art at ISI (Institut Seni Indonesia) as well as for a collection of independent artists and journalists. We were often asked what is typically Swedish about Swedish contemporary art. In Indonesia there is a need and a tradition of incorporating history, myth and religion into art. In a conversation with Reza Afisina from the artist collective Ruangrupa, who made an exhibition at Färgfabriken, he thought that an explanation for Swedish contemporary art not focusing on cultural heritage could be that we have other institutions that do, everything from handicrafts at school, community associations, archives and museums, something that is largely lacking in Indonesia. Hence a value and a topicality for the art of treating these subjects in his country.

Finally, we also visited Jakarta and our partner Ruangrupa, which in the absence of government initiatives has become an important actor in the cultural life of Jakarta. They run a broad activity where they do everything from archiving video art and art publications to conducting research, video biennales and activating the urban space with art and culture.

Färgfabiken’s activities in Indonesia have brought with it increased international exposure because, at the invitation of the Swedish Embassy in Jakarta, we were able to participate in both a seminar organized by the Asia-Europe Foundation in Yogyakarta on cultural heritage and the Indonesian president’s initiative World Culture Forum in Bali. In addition, Färgfabriken presented New Urban Topologies (NUT) to the then minister of development Gunilla Carlsson together with a number of Swedish and Indonesian actors at Universitas Gajah Madha in Yogyakarta. Färgfabriken also co-organized a one-day NUT seminar together with the architecture department at the university.

The exchange project is carried out in collaboration with the Norwegian Cultural Council and the Nordic Art Association.