“(re)producing fear and

joy” – seminar series

/ talk, 23 october 2019

The archive exhibition Visualization of the national history: From, by and for whom? in the project space of Gudskul formed the research framework for the seminar (Re)Producing fear and joy: From, by and for whom?, which Grace Samboh realised with a number of students at the Gudskul within the framework of Encounters.

In a joint teaching and research process that began on October 7th and consisted of several workshops, the students were asked to develop a series of podcasts, which critically examine selected dioramas by Edhi Sunarso in the National Monument and publish alternative narratives about these events as audio guides. In addition to this work on the podcasts, a series of seminars taught at Gudskul within its department Articulation and Curation was designed to deepen and apply critical artistic and curatorial practice. Based on their research on the constructions of Indonesian representations of history, the students were to learn to confidently formulate their own view of things artistically, curatorially and personally.

In addition to Grace Samboh as the head of the course, curator Vera May with her contribution Symbols from time to time in Southeast Asia and sound artist Jati Andito (on audio-based art productions) also taught in the seminar.

The participating students were: Ratih PN Ardianti, Jennifer Augusta, Duta Adipati, Laksmi Lilu Herlambang, Gusmarian and Ahmad Hilal.

One highlight of the seminar series (Re)Producing fear and joy: From, by and for whom? was an event with presentations and discussions on October 23th at Rubunah Underground Hub, where the exhibition FOMO/JOMO, curated by the collective Hyphen— took place.

Grace Samboh introduced the topic of Edhi Sunarso’s dioramas and explained her curatorial concept for the project to the audience, which included Stefan Dreyer, director of the Goethe-Institut Jakarta, and Chương-Đài Võ from the Asia Art Archive Hongkong.

Students of the seminar presented their research approaches and the working status of their podcasts.

Christian Hiller from the Berlin team expanded the context with a lecture on the political dimensions of the Bauhaus, thus demonstrating that modern architecture and art in Germany have to be seen in interplay with the political conditions of the country.

Lyno Vuth, co-curator of the SEAM-Space in Phnom Penh, presented the work of his Phnom Penh based art initiative Sa Sa Art Projects, which was created in the modernist architecture ensemble called “White Building” that was demolished recently. His lecture focused on the involvement of the residents of the White Building in artistic and curatorial workshops as well as other formats of learning and cooperative practices aimed at education and self-empowerment of the residents and participating communities.


Particularly in the joint discussions following the presentations, a fruitful dialogue took place on parallels and contrasts between the various artistic, creative and curatorial approaches and their possibilities to unfold social empowerment. With regard to the specific theme of the seminar it was argued that the relationship between visual narration and written history is very special in the multicultural country of Indonesia, where hundreds of different languages are spoken. Less the written text than the spoken word and the imagery take a central place in the transfer of knowledge. Thus, the use of visual dioramas has such a high impact on the knowledge construction of the country. The rulers, however, have sometimes been irresponsibly manipulative in their presentation of history.