SEAM Space Jakarta

5 October – 15 November 2019

Occupying Modernism: Impressions on Indonesian Modern Spaces – an exhibition

Visualization of the national history: From, by, and for whom? – an archive exhibition

(Re)Producing fear and joy: From, by and for whom? – a curatorial workshop

The SEAM Space Jakarta consist of two complimentary contributions: 

Occupying Modernism reflects on how Indonesians have rendered their spaces of modern architecture.

From, by, and for whom? is an archive exhibition that investigates the diorama-making process of Indonesia’s eminent sculptor Edhi Sunarso and a workshop that navigates the contemporary perception of the dioramas into curatorial practice. In conjunction to these programs, Hyphen — is curating an exhibition titled “FOMO/JOMO — Hacking modernity’s dualism” at RUBANAH Underground Hub. 

Exhibitions, talks and guided tours will shed a light on selected modern architectures and monuments.

Curatorial Statement Occupying Modernism

By Setiadi Sopandi and Avianti Amand

Modern architecture that emerged in Indonesia in the early 20th century was both a surprise and a necessity. The introduction of modern architecture by Dutch architects came as an elitist and exemplary cultural shock to the racially divided colonial society. Their soaring brick and reinforced concrete structures, in contrast with the local vernacular timber, bamboo, and thatch-roof dwellings, offered a new form of expression and upward mobility in the new context of the ruled society.

During the first 15 years of independence, Dutch and Indonesian architects continued to build modern structures: a new urban area, houses and company housing facilities, banks and corporate offices, research institutions, as well as many essential infrastructures. But only after the high tide of nationalism and the shift to an authoritarian regime did Indonesia start to incorporate modern architecture as a vehicle of mass communication – to show both the world and its own citizens that Indonesia was on par with other modern nation-states. Throughout the capital Jakarta, a sprawling, low-lying city, the government built colossal institutional buildings, a grand sport complex, along with highways and modern hotels to support international events, skyscrapers, a modern department store, and numerous monuments.

After a short five-year period, the outpour of architectural commissions ended abruptly and marked the start of a new military-backed authoritarian regime. The following three decades saw the introduction of a free market economy to the country. Investment brought prosperity and opportunities for more buildings and cities until other crises brought yet other disruptions. Modern architecture has continued to grow throughout the changing political and economic climate in Indonesia, along with their specific contexts. It continued as a tradition in the profession despite the popularity of post-modernism and regionalism, especially in the 1980s and 1990s.

Modern architecture from different historical layers in Jakarta are not so easily understood without proper information and insight. We can always assess modern architecture in terms of its universal ideals: straightforward and logical forms, novel geometries, fine surfaces, rational responses to climates, rigid and orderly spaces, and uninterrupted movement of people and vehicles. However, this perspective alone is not adequate to explain the nuanced context in which the structures were created over the decades.

Modern architecture is designed to arouse and encourage people to transcend notions of ethnicity, locality, “backwardness”, social and cultural barriers, and traditions, instead reaching towards a new civilization. The 20th century architectural epoch conceivably aimed to stimulate architectural spaces with egalitarian, transnational, and progressive behaviour. Especially in the Indonesian context, the new architectural spaces were often accompanied by narratives expressing anti-colonial sentiment and soaring national Unitarianism.

But narratives eventually fade; novelty has an expiry date. As time passed and modern life evolved, magnificent architectural spaces were devalued and denied their initial intents and contexts. This is not necessarily a negative phenomenon; today these spaces may be actively reinterpreted or rehabilitated and injected with new values relevant to the current era.

Occupying Modernism is a reflection on how Indonesians have rendered the spaces of modern architecture. It is a package of events consisting of an exhibition, a talk, and a tour.

The exhibition is the heart of the event, which is preceded by a period of research involving four artists observing, analysing, contemplating, and recording their impressions of eight examples of modern architecture (and their surrounding spaces). Each artist will explore at least four sites: two public spaces and two domestic environments. The artists are asked to visit, observe, comprehend, and establish a certain perspective or develop an idea that will potentially enrich our understanding of these modern spaces. Through the creative and imaginative impressions by the artists, the exhibition will address how Indonesians have occupied – celebrated, used, loved, cared for, disturbed, damaged, left behind, hated, ignored, and rediscovered – our modern spaces.

Given the artists’ unique backgrounds and specific standpoints, we expect to encounter rich visual as well as historical (social, cultural, and political) impressions, which may help us view seemingly common structures in a new light, presented in artistic documentation. The impressions will be expressed through texts (short essays, poems, notes), sketches, photographs (including those which are taken by instant photo cameras, cell phone snapshots, etc.), video clips, found objects, and archival objects. These objects will be exhibited along with the eight architectural projects – each introduced with a short text and representative photographs.

24 October 2019, 3 pm Public Talk: Disclosing Our Modern Spaces

Featuring: Hikmat Darmawan, Grace Samboh, Avianti Armand, Setiadi Sopandi

The talk will elaborate the impressions of Hikmat Darmawan and Alvin Tjitrowirjo, and how they approached their selected modern spaces in the first place. Both speakers will share their assumptions, insights, and standpoints according to their respective backgrounds. Grace Samboh will share her preoccupation with the sculptor Edhi Sunarso and the creative production of memorial sites in Jakarta.

Venue:
Kopi Manyar
Jl. Bintaro Tengah No. 14
Bintaro, Jakarta

24 October 2019, 7 pm Exhibition Opening: Occupying Modernism

The exhibition is the heart of SEAM Space Jakarta, which is preceded by a period of research involving four artists observing, analysing, contemplating, and recording their impressions of eight examples of modern architecture (and their surrounding spaces). Each artist will explore at least four sites: two public spaces and two domestic environments. The artists are asked to visit, observe, comprehend, and establish a certain perspective or develop an idea that will potentially enrich our understanding of the modern spaces. Through the creative and imaginative impressions by the artists, the exhibition will address how Indonesians have occupied – celebrated, used, loved, cared for, disturbed, damaged, left behind, hated, ignored, and rediscovered – our modern spaces.

Given the artists’ unique backgrounds and specific standpoints, we expect to encounter rich visual as well as historical (social, cultural, and political) impressions, which may help us view seemingly common structures in a new light, presented in artistic documentation. The impressions will be expressed through texts (short essays, poems, notes), sketches, photographs (including those which are taken by instant photo cameras, cell phone snapshots, etc.), video clips, found objects, and archival objects. These objects will be exhibited along with the eight architectural projects – each introduced with a short text and representative photographs.

Artists:
Goenawan Mohamad
Hikmat Darmawan
Cecil Mariani
Alvin Tjitrowirjo

Architectural objects:
Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta, 1955 – 1978, architect Friedrich Sillaban
Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta, 1958 – 1962, architect/ engineer Technoexportstroy, Moscow
Gedung Pola, Jakarta, 1962, architect Friedrich Silaban
Hotel Indonesia Roundabout, Jakarta, 1962, Friedrich Silaban, Henk Ngantung, Edhi Sunarso
Silaban House, Bogor, 1959 –1960, architect Friedrich Silaban
Monumen Nasional, Jakarta, 1961 – 1975, architect Soedarsono
Studi-O-Cahaya, Jakarta, 2008, architect Adi Purnomo
Adhi Moersid House, Jakarta, 1977, architect Adhi Moersid

Programme:
Greetings from arsitekturindonesia.org, sbca Berlin
Introductions from SEAM Spaces Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Singapore
Guided tour through the exhibition

Venue:
Kopi Manyar
Jl. Bintaro Tengah No. 14
Bintaro, Jakarta

Opening hours:
25 October – 15 November 2019
8am – 9 pm (weekdays)
8am – 10 pm (weekends)

25 October 2019 Visit to Architecture Studios

Schedule:
to be confirmed

26 October 2019, 8 am – 3 pm Guided Walking Tour

Our Modern Spaces as Political Communication

With Grace Samboh, Gregorius Yolodi & Maria Rosantina, Setiadi Sopandi

The tour highlights the monumental modern architectural projects in Jakarta initiated during early 1960s, under the Guided Democracy period. The first part of the tour explores the Thamrin-Sudirman Avenue, the National Monument, the Istiqlal Mosque, and the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout, and other notable buildings from the period. Grace Samboh will specifically elaborate the creative and political processes behind the creation of dioramas within the National Monument. The second part of the tour explores the Hotel Indonesia roundabout, and ends at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) sport complex. GBK’s restoration architects – G. S. Yolodi and Maria Rosantina – will guide the tour into the restored main stadium, and several other buildings they took charge.

By invitation only.

Curatorial Statement From, by and for whom?

A contribution by ruangrupa and Gudskul, curated by Hyphen —

The three erected national monuments in Jakarta, the capital city of the nation, were made within the early years of our independence: Monumen Selamat Datang (the Welcome Monument, 1961); Monumen Pembebasan Papua Barat (West Papua Liberation Monument, 1963); and Monumen Dirgantara (also known as the Pancoran Sculpture, 1970).

All of them were specifically ordered by the first president Sukarno and executed by the sculptor Edhi Sunarso. To a certain extent, Pak Edhi is often categorized as the state’s sculptor, or particularly Sukarno’s sculptor. As an artist, he did not dispute this idea. In his own museum, the display of each of those monuments’ miniatures are followed by a brief statement: Idea by Ir. Sukarno, visualization by Edhi Sunarso. Almost every narrative about Pak Edhi that we could find all throughout the art history of Indonesia would speak highly, if not over-glorifying, of his intimacy with Sukarno and the aesthetics that came out of that relationship. It is as if the whole art world – and the government, to some extent – collectively ignored the fact that most of Pak Edhi’s work was done after Sukarno died. That many of his works were actually commissioned by the regime that silenced Sukarno. After 32 years of reign, when Suharto’s regime was finally over, the Reformasi government would still work with him. Pak Edhi is – quite literally – the artist of all regimes. One could even argue that he is, therefore, the “National Artist”.

Hyphen – have digitalized more than 60,000 documents from Pak Edhi’s studios. We then focused our attention to three specific sets of dioramas: The National History Museum at the National Monument, the ones in the Crocodile Ditch Complex as well as the Satria Mandala Complex. These three museums were the first step of The New Order to build their dynasty of truth. We also acknowledged them as a history visualisation that the New Order wanted to build, importing the Old Order’s style – even the same visual workers.

Now, almost 20 years after the so-called Reformasi, we still cannot afford to even consider that the New Order’s version of the history is a done deal. These museums are still around, alive and open. Carrying the same old, same old narrative, they are still open to the public and are still the primary and high school tourism destinations of the entire republic. This means that our future is still defined by a regime that we put out 20 years ago. Haven’t we really moved on from this Old and New Order regimes? If the Reformasi is seen as a success, what has it achieved that goes beyond the Old and New? How do we argue the fact that within the past five years we seemed to only have two options; the new Old or the old New?

5 October – 26 October 2019 Archive Exhibition

Visualization of the national history: From, by and for whom?

The Museum of National History that is located in the peak of Monas was told to be built in order to recall this nation’s own greatness. Inside, there are 51 dioramas that were assigned to: “visualizing historical data [with the aim of] promoting the values of the national struggle history to the next generation. [Through dioramas] the people can see and perceive historical events through scenes that are depicted in miniatures by displaying scenes/settings in accordance as the actual events.” The physical form of these dioramas was made under the guidance of the sculptor Edhi Sunarso as its person in charge. There are several stages of diorama installation at Monas. The first stage, in 1971-1973, 48 dioramas were installed on all four sides of the wall surrounding the museum plaza. The manuscripts of the dioramas came from two sources; a team of historians that was appointed by President Sukarno (1963-1967) and a team of museum fillers that was led by Brigadier General Nugroho Notosusanto (1969-1973). For the second stage, we haven’t found any supporting data about its date, but the commission was supposedly done during the late 1970s. Four empty dioramas were installed on the middle column of Monas. The first was a diorama titled “Integrasi Timor Timur, 1976” (the integration of East Timor, 1976). Below is the explanation text of the diorama: The resolution of the Plenary Session of East Timor Legislative Assembly, May 31, 1976, in Dili. which in fact it constituted the realization of the people desire noted in the proclamation of East Timor integration, November 30, 1975, in Balibo, forced the government of the Republic of Indonesia to accept and legalize the integration of the people and the territory of East Timor to the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia in the shortest possible time. (According to the photo that was taken on September 25th, 2015.)

Passive-aggressive has become the utmost communication strategy of the military elites in writing the history of the nation. Various dioramas in the Satria Mandala Museum and Waspada Purbawisesa Museum that are located in the Center of Indonesian Military (TNI) History complex can affirm our accusation. On the other hand, The Museum of Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) Betrayal and the whole Lubang Buaya (literally means “crocodile pit”) complex affirm the aggressiveness of the military in demolishing what they consider wrong. Back to Monas, after 17 years of Timor Leste’s independence from Indonesia, why does the diorama stay? Why haven’t the narratives changed? Does it mean that we don’t have time to record, let alone visualize, our own history? What are we teaching the next generation of the entire nation that fills Monas every day? What can we learn from the diorama titled “East Timor Integration, 1976”?

Venue:
Gudskul
Jl. Durian No. 30, Jagakarsa, Jakarta Selatan

Opening hours:
11am – 7pm (closed on Sunday and national holidays)

5 October – 26 October 2019 Exhibition FOMO/JOMO

FOMO/JOMO – Hacking Modernity’s Dualism is curated in parallel to the SEAM Space Jakarta by Hyphen – at RUBANAH Underground Hub.

Vernissage: 5. October 2019, 4 pm

Curated by Grace Samboh & Ratna Mufida, with contributions by Ary “Jimged” Sendy, Edhi Sunarso, Fajar Riyanto, Julian Abraham “Togar”, Mella Jaarsma, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Panca DZ, Paul Kadarisman, Pius Sigit Kuncoro, Uji Handoko Eko Saputro.

This exhibition departs from the archiving of the process of diorama-making in a number of national museums in Java that were made by Edhi Sunarso (1932 – 2016). Together with the artists in this exhibition, Hyphen – tries to uncover the complexity of procedural, bureaucratic, technical production, as well as the emotional struggle of creating the miniature of our national history.

Venue:
RUBANAH Underground Hub
Wisma GEHA (Basement), Jalan Timor No. 25 Menteng, Jakarta Pusat

Opening hours:
11am – 8pm (closed on Sunday, Monday, and national holidays) 

7 October – 23 October 2019 Workshop: (Re)Producing fear and joy

(Re)Producing fear and joy: From, by and for whom?

Head of workshop: Grace Samboh
Guest lecturer: Vera Mey & Jati Andito

Open for students from Arsitektur Indonesia as well as campuses that are attached to our practices, the workshop will run for three weeks as one of the subjects taught in Gudskul, titled “Articulation and curation” with the goal to create a podcast for a critical guided tour on Edhi Sunarso’s dioramas in Museum Sejarah Monas (National History Museum, in the basement of National Monument/Museum Monas).

Schedule:

7 October 2019, 2pm
by Grace Samboh
Introduction and Diorama Tour to National Monument
Location: Rubanah Underground Hub & National Monument

17 October 2019 | 5pm
by Vera Mey
“Symbols from time to time in Southeast Asia”
Location: Galeri Gudside – Gudskul

18 October 2019, 7pm
By Jati Andito
“Audio-based Art Production”
Location: Rubanah Underground Hub

20-21 October 2019
Podcast/Audioguide Production Assistance
Location:  Galeri Gudside – Gudskul

22 October 2019, 9 am Guided Tour: From, by and for whom?

Guided tour to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, to see the Borobudur miniature in particular, but also to experience the miniature Indonesian park project build by president Suharto’s wife and see the Museum Keprajuritan (Soldier Museum) with the dramatic dioramas of Edhi Sunarso.

By invitation only

Meeting point:
Gudskul
Jl. Durian No. 30, Jagakarsa, Jakarta Selatan

23 October 2019, 2pm Public Talk

Programme:

Gudskul: Introduction
Grace Samboh: Visualizing monumental lies called the national history (working title)
Q&A

Short break 

Gudskul students presentation: Podcasts
Q&A 

Break

Christian Hiller: Bauhaus Politics
Lyno Vuth: Negotiating Space, Facilitating Communities: The White Building and Sa Sa Art Projects
Q&A

Location:
RUBANAH Underground Hub
Wisma GEHA (Basement)
Jalan Timor No. 25
Menteng, Jakarta Pusat