The Artling interviews 'Wok the Rock,' Curator of the 2015 Jogja Biennale, to find out more about the collaboration between Indonesia and Nigeria for this year's edition.
The Biennale Jogja is actually a small institution with limited budget. Basically we intended to work with only one country from the Equator per edition. The Middle East edition (the second edition of the Equator series) is an exception because we could not work with only one country to represent the Arabian contemporary art scene at large. But then we faced many difficulties especially on logistics. In this third edition (Africa) we want to focus on one African country that already has stable diplomatic within the country. This will make our collaboration easier and intense.
The basic idea is to find a similar contemporary discourse between Indonesia and Nigeria. It goes to the democracy issue. An issue of both countries experienced after the fall of military regime in 1998. Both of us are experimenting the most ideal system of democracy. But we forgot that conflict and chaos is absolutely an existing part in the democracy practices. Conflict, chaos, diversity and opposition should be seen as positive resources, a gems that we can manage to create an unpredictable harmony.
The term 'Hacking' is not referring to computing/technology practice. It's more into social hacking. My curatorial direction is not only to use the theme as a narration but also for a working method. That's why the exhibition is project-based. I invite participants from various backgrounds (visual art, dance, theatre, journalist, design, music) to work collaboratively. Collaboration practice is an exact way to implement conflict naturally. A monthly forum is designed for me and the participants to discuss the ideas altogether so all the works are intertwined. Most of the works produced are interactive, performative and activity-based. We want to engage the visitor to be actively involved, so that the issue can be widely delivered. We produce an exhibition that is thinkful, lively and fun.
In this year's edition we mainly use one venue at the Jogja National Museum. There are only two works in public spaces and 2 works on the internet. We have 2 other main programs (Parallel Event and Equator Festival) working directly with the local communities in various places in Yogyakarta.
I invite artists who are progressive, experimental and that has been working collaboratively. Most of them are young and emerging artists who have a lot of time to work intensively.
Both of us live in tropical continent. We eat similar food, feel the similar heat, enjoying life in a highly corruptive state. Honestly, we know nothing about each other. By sharing similar discourses, we could learn each other closer and can dismiss the stereotypes built by the international mainstream media.
The equator series is a 10 years project and under the Yogyakarta Biennale Foundation we don't work only for the festival. We have artist exchange program and symposium with previous partner country every year. Just to give one example, we organize a video art workshop and exhibition in Lagos, Nigeria in February 2016, 2 months after the festival.
About Wok the Rock
Woto Wibowo aka Wok the Rock (born 1975) is an artist interested in developing experiments in collective space, interdisciplinary work and contemporary culture interventions, using design aesthetic and speculative platforms in his artistic practice. He is now the Director of Ruang 56, an artist-run-space focusing on contemporary photography. He is the Curator for the 2015 Jogja Biennale.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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