THE SEPTEMBER SOMETHING PROJECT
SEEING TRAGEDY FROM THE LIVING ROOM
(Workshop, Visual Arts Exhibition, and Discussion)
April – November 2005
Project Inisiator : Agung Kurniawan
Project Officer : Agung Kurniawan
Project Manager : Ratna Mufida
The visual arts project is to see the issue of the “mass-killing/trauma of 1965 Affair from the point of view of the generation born in the era of the “golden peak of Orde Baru (the New Regime)”. It is a generation signified to be born in the period of the end of 70s or beginning of 80s. This generation practically lives a part of its life within the “cocoon” of propaganda machine under the New Regime; from elementary school until university students, watching local and foreign films selected by the state (may be only few of them watch films released without any selection from the state), getting used to with uniforms (school uniforms, Pramuka uniforms, Paskibraka uniforms, and so on), living in “luxury” of the second economic boom in the mid of 80s and beginning of 90s. How these generations see the trauma of 1965 Affair? What do they know about the affair instead of watching a film by Arifin C. Noor entitled “Pengkhianatan G 30 S/PKI” and rumors?
How can we trace an important affair scraped out from memory? How can we explain to a generation unheard of an important affair happened or in other words how to oppose that mass amnesia?
The repeated questions above will always raise when we talk about trauma of 1965 Affair. Those questions will keep annoying us since we really never want to answer. Let by-gones be by-gones is an apology we hear from time to time.
Tracing the Affair from the Artifacts of Pop Culture
Because of the massive propaganda during the New Regime’s rule, it seemed to be impossible to find some needed data from the first hands. Although the authority of the regime has been over, it is still having its residue (for instance a number of books considered being “left” have been kept in the locked room at Regional Library of Yogyakarta. Stories of the affair remain to be “silent histories” and will never be open as long as no political action challenges them.
The situation above shadows the project. Therefore, it needs a method to face it. Regarding the facts, the trauma of 1965 Affair should be seen in a “circle” way. It means that the analysis is not directly done to the core issue but through the pop culture living in the era with the media of magazines, popular songs, and fashions delighted in the era. So, it is assumed that the core issue might be seen in a different way and the outcomes are far from the stereotypes.
GOALS OF THE PROJECT
This visual arts project bases on the spirit that the visual arts with a paradigm of fine art is not the mere choice to the young artists, for indirectly it is a systematic depoliticization trial towards art discipline. Thus, the art project needs to be continued.
By holding a workshop, exhibition, and discussion, a wide audience may learn a different reading on the trauma of 1965 Affair by seeing deeply of the issue not only from the view of victims and perpetrators but also the personal reception of the young generation marginalized from the history itself.
The project becomes an education on human rights as well, a sort of awareness to the young people that they have their rights to gain any information or confirm on any affair happened without a censorship and self-censorship.
DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES
Considering that most of the project participants are young artists (born in the beginning or mid of 80s), it is necessary to introduce an appropriate approach to see the affair. The workshop is additionally arranged with the assumption that the education on art has misplaced art as an analysis tool and merely to be a machine of beauty producer. As a result, some new curricula are going to be introduced in the workshop like:
1. Introducing Visual Arts as an Analysis Tool
The workshop was an introduction. Agung Kurniawan introduced to the audience that visual arts is not merely a beauty machine but it has such an ability to be used as an analysis tool on social affairs.
2. Visual Archaeology
It introduced to the audience of a basic method on archaeology that is the reading of finding objects. Basically, the restricted and scattered data can be drawn close with an archaeological method being used to recognize any finding object which is inside or things with the missing contexts. The scattering data and missing context are of common signs of the data of September 1965.
3. The Spirit of the Workshop is a Visualization of “Personal History” that is a non-canonic history. It is a sub-text of the great history filled up with national heroes, wars, official records of state, and chronologies. The acknowledgement of this personal history will be given during the workshop in accordance with the two other workshops above. During the workshop, the audience at once did a research on data searching and objects related to the Affair of September 1965.
B. Presentation of Artifacts (Finding Objects) and Review Session
At the end of the workshop, all data and finding objects from the done research of the audience were presented at Gallery of Kedai Kebun Forum.
C. The Execution of Art-Works (Visual Arts Exhibition)
It starts from the data and exploration on finding objects processed through a reading in the workshop, and presentation. The art-works include video arts, illustrations, fashions, painting arts, graphic arts, and other visual arts.
The project ended with a discussion under the theme of “Seeing the Past through Visual Arts” by presenting three speakers from the fields of human rights, communications, and history. The participants vary from artist circles, NGO activists, university students, and public. It is to bring into surface the issue to a wider area out of artists and their communities.
September Something Vol.1
Kedai Kebun Forum, 17 September – 7 October 2005
Agus Adi, Ali Antoni, Anang Saptoto, Hendra harsono, Faturrohman “Indun”, Prihatmokky, DJ Putut, Sadat Laope, Sari Handayani & Pitra Ayu
Thanks for Some One
Installation, interactive performance, 2005
Gratitude usually is given to other when someone received or honored with something. So it makes them feel comfort and pleased.
Based on the research that I had done to some newspapers dated in 1960s, there was an interesting finding that the gratitude was dedicated more to the person who directly connected with the action why the gratitude was given. For example, thank you to Mr. A or Mrs. B. Even though the gratitude seemed ceremonial, but it felt more sincere and not hierarchical. It was very different with my finding on other newspaper dated in 1990s until now. The gratitude, didn’t know why, always added with an acknowledgement to God. The ways stated were different. Sometime it was more formal, such as, Thank to the Lord God, or the casual way, thank to God designering designer (see the print out on the wall). God is always mentioned, and it is paid my attention, why do the nowadays youngsters and Indonesian people always mention God in every chance? Since when did it start? Why God is very important to us now?
To whom that you would like to say thank for the first time when you get something special in your life?
Please write it down on provided place or on the note paper.
Kue Ulang Tahun Sejarah (Birthday Cake of History)
Birthday cake, performance, 2005
History probably is a slice of yummy cake. An expert cook prepared it – according to his taste and his expertise – then we eat it tastefully. When we ate it, do we want to know who the cook is and why did he make that cake; is it because it is ordered, or just a routine, or perhaps a rejected cake?
History is consumption politic.
GERWANI ON STAGE
Video, , 2005
Sari Handayani & Pitra Ayu
GERWANI on STAGE
Who know about GERWANI?
Who know who they really are?
What did they have done, How do their style …??
(The works based on interview with some people who were born in 1980s above, how they interpreted GERWANI based on their point of view)
GABER IS BACK
Video, , 2005
In 1963, in Wonosari (one of districts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia) was a time which was named by the local people as “Gaber era”. That was a time when rice were very difficult to get, because of its expensive cost and very rare to get. Then the people in Wonosari replaced rice with gaber. But nowadays, the Wonosari’s people no longer consume gaber. This video tried to search what gaber is, and how did it made. A video that told about a piece of story of a people in a small town who changed because of a plate of gaber.
Heroes of the past and the present in the Indonesian money.
ZIARAH DUSTA (PILGRIMAGE OF FALSEHOOD)
Video, , 2005
DJ Putut Anom
It was taken from the movie of Pemberontakan G 30 S PKI (The Rebellion of G 30 S PKI/Communism Party) directed by Arifin C. Noor, which told about the story of PKI rebellion in the version of New Orde, from the movie, which mostly full with dibble scene, I took some pieces, which then added with some lustrous beats … and cool!
PALU ARIT POP ……. / HAMMER – GRASS KNIFE POP
Candy, performance, 2005
Hammer and grass knife are symbol that are used by the communist party in all over the world, included in Indonesia, called PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia / Indonesian Communist Party). Since the tragedy of G 30 S, everything that considered as communist attributes or accessories were forbidden to be circulated, except the school history book with all of its vague notes – which aimed at the attributes of cruel and brutal people.
Then how do the nowadays youngsters see this symbol? How a visual icon that considered (able to) rise trauma deal with the economic interest that tries to make the icon as a cool thing?
AWAS SEPTEMBER / WATCH OUT SEPTEMBER
Print on sticker paper, 2005
A walking memory, when we experienced something. I was born in 1983, where I was not experiencing the tragedy in ’65 directly. I only know about it from sources which are provided, according to “their” own version. When I was in elementary school, I always told to watch the movie of “Pengkhianatan G 30 S PKI”, and unfortunately I never finished it. There is a terror until now. I also remembered when my older brother was given a lecture by my parents, because of taking a picture of PRD (one of a party in Indonesia, after 1998) parade in Surabaya. At that time I wondered, “Is there something wrong with that???” After the Soeharto’s regime “descended”, there was much information revealed about the tragedy of 65 from different point of view, for sure. That made me had different perspectives. But, did it make my terror gone? I, my self, still frighten when I see the symbol of “hammer and grass knife”. In this September Something project, I try to make a memorial about what had happened, and what is in your mind??? So just put the sticker that had been provided on things that you think can remind you all the time.
(bukan) orang-orang p-k-I / (Not) P-K-I felloships
– Photo in 2005 –
During the New Order regime – it was a public secret that the active members of PKI were exterminated by some power which already well-organized. Then the passive members were alienated and exiled from “life”. In the opinion of the people, they are considered as scary bugaboo or just like virus that must be exterminated or destroyed, either it was killed physically or mentally, I am not really know about it.
“Problem” started to appear when the rest of family members, whose one of the members was involved in PKI, that know nothing about the “PKI” matters also had to carried the burden, they also had to serve sentence for the rest of their life, which given by the society or the regime at that time.
Many people who unlikely were listed in the black book, then most of their rights as citizens were gone and prohibited. The regime at that time just pointed who the people that should be listed in the black book as they like, apart from the fact that they really participated or not in PKI – the regime did not to be bothered with such things – the point was that “subversive” action must be exterminated, although the truth was not yet revealed, that was not really matter; I think that was the thought of the regime at that time.
Behind the scene of the work;
At this time, I tried to make “simulation” that had been done by the regime.
The people in my snapshot for the work “(bukan) orang-orang p-k-I” not knew that their photos were exhibited in an exhibition about p-k-i. Furthermore, I even don’t know who they are, what their names are, even I don’t know what their favorite pets or food are. And so they don’t know who I am, what my name is, my shoes size, or even “small scab” near on my buttock. I swear, they don’t know “what or how I am”. So the conclusion is that “Isn’t this process a “simulation” that close to the similarity of that matters that I had mentioned above, where the people who were pointed in the list, who also didn’t know why they were listed in the black book, and also the regime who put their names on the list of the black book, were not know for sure why did that names were in list.
At least this conclusion is saved for myself – if other people are hard to agree with this conclusion. Sorry; may be you are the real p-k-I members or the real regime members, who knows better about this matter than me, that coincidently partake of the discussion of this matter.
September Something Vol. 2
Kedai Kebun Forum, 12 October – 10 November 2005
H. Priyadani “Blangkon”, Janu Satmoko, Rudi “Aceh” Dharmawan, Edwin “Dolly” Ruseno, KSR. Racun Badak, Rahman “Tito” Harris, Uji Handoko, Iwan Effendi, Erfianto “Gurit” Wardhana, Gede Krisna, Anang Saptoto
RED HOLE / Lubang Simerah.
In 1965, broadcasted through radio by the order of Mr. Untung and Mr. Subandrio, all people must make a hole in front of their house as a bunker. The rumor at that time, that there were going to be aggression from Malaysia. But it turned out to be the way of PKI, if they won, so the non-members of them were going to be slaughtered in that hole.
The holes at that time, some are in L & Y shape.
(The source is Rita Wati, my mother)
SEPTEMBER CERIA / CHEERFUL SEPTEMBER
Edwin Dolly Ruseno
It is a video clip which intentionally was taken from the New Order propaganda movie, directed by Arifin C. Noor. A scene that might be forgotten … there was a beauty in something forgotten.
Menguak Kisah Tabu, Mengungkap dengan lagu / Revealed the Taboo Story Through A Song
Installation, GESTAPU Distro merchandise, 2005
Hendra Priyadi “Blangkon”
GESTAPU was a musical group which established in September 30th, 2000 by some Fine Arts Faculty of Indonesian Institute of Arts students. They carried the dangdut Malayan style. Their birth is aimed to omit the image of cruel and the negative stigma which had been conditioned by the New Order government. They also like to ask the people not to forget the history and to demand for straightening up the real history of tragedy G 30 S in 1965.
They choose propaganda media by playing music, so it becomes more familiar among the people. In every GESTAPU’s performances, they wear T-shirt attached with theme of nowadays issues. In their performance they also add cultural oration, and their lyrics also contain messages. Their fans call TJAKRABIRAWA (Tjakap Ramah Bijaksana Rapi Wagu / Skilled, Friendly, Wise, and Fanciful Neat) for male, and GERWANI (Gerakan Wanita Ingin Nikmat / Women Movement Looking for Satisfaction) for female.
JAWA ITU KUNCI / JAVA IS A KEY
Stencil on batik, 2005
Just like Batik as the symbol of an identity, from scratch by scratch, color by color, were piled up on a piece of cloth which made with the curving fingers of the maker, without knowing how was the making process. And so is a history of a city, from word by word were scratch a politics in it, without knowing the reality behind it.
Which was actually, there was a mistake in the making process, just not like what we had imagined before.
Mengapa Tuhan menjadi begitu penting bagi kami? / Why God Becomes so Important to Us?
God : IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
Mother/Father : IIIIIIIIIIII
Friends : IIIIIIII
Others : IIIIIIIIIIIIII
Based on my observation to some people in the writing of thesis, catalog, and many others, the acknowledgement mostly dedicated to God.
Then I tried to change that point of view by asking the same questions in more casual circumstance and situation, such as in gallery, hang out spots, and in restaurants.
“Who is the one that you will thank to when you get something special in your life?”
BERBAHAJA / DANGEROUS
An old vinyl Lilis Suryani that accompanied with Baju orchestra had changed the life of young energetic man to do a small research on something that wedge in. Then what happened next? You can see it in this DVD.
“Kembali ke Selera Asal” / “Back to the Original Flavor”
CD Audio, 2005
Erfianto “Gurit” Wardhana
… Which at the beginning was created (1953) as people joyful…
… Because of the taste of “the bourgeois”
Changed into the joyful of European aristocrats…
… And time slowly passed by…
…and by the wisdom of the time everything
can be returned for the joyful of the people now…,
Installation,motorcycle, parachute, 2005
Rahman “Tito” Harris
This motorcycle without any literature is from Russia. It was made in 1956. According to the history, this motorcycle was airdropped when there was a logistics air express from Russia. It was not known for who this motorcycle was delivered. For you who know about the history of this motorcycle, please write it down on the guests’ book.
‘ngeten niki’… / “Just like this…” (In Javanese)
Digital Print, 2005
“Wah…..nek teng dusun mriki pesat mas, kidul ngomah niku nggih tiyang ‘ngeten niki’…., ning cen mboten keciduk….”
“Well…, in this village was very rapid, the next door is also “just like this…” person, but indeed he was not caught…”
The house of Mr. Kahono
Bejen village, Wanurejo, Borobudur, Magelang
Central Java – Indonesia
February 6th, 2005, at dawn
LOVE YOUR LOCAL HERO
Stencil cut of Revolution Heroes, 2005
Nowadays we admire famous figures such as Che Guavara, Marylin Monroe, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Dong, etc. Through this “Love Your Local Heroes”, it tries to raise the local figures of our country. In the theme of “September Something”, I try to raise the Revolution Heroes who almost forgotten by people nowadays. By using the stencil arts media, which is mostly applied in the street art, this works also brighten up the youngsters’ icons war. Have a nice booming!!!