Kedai Kebun

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“The Missing Scene: 1982 – 1985” A Solo Exhibition by Arief Budiman, Curated by LIR

THE MISSING SCENE : 1982 – 1985

A Solo Exhibition by Arief Budiman

Curator by LIR


This is another story about fear. However, 32 years of the glory of the New Order is a long story of recurring fears – a method that has proven effective in perpetuating that power. The political game of fear influences society through an ancient push for survival mechanisms. People who are always in a state of fear are easily controlled, social friction is easily triggered, and communal hatred is easily directed by the state to respond to targets with certain identities.

One of these stories occurred in 1982-1985 when corpses with bound hands appeared in a corner of the market, narrow alleys in residential areas, in sacks next to garbage bins, on the side of highways, and in foul-smelling sewage gutters. The presence of groups referred to as a combination of wild children, aka ‘gali (racketeers)’, is actually inseparable from their relations with the government (which at that time was dominated by the military). Harmonious relationships are often seen between the two as a win-win relationship. Distribution of economic benefits, extension of arms in maintaining security and order, to tools for organizing citizens to win votes in elections are some form of mutually beneficial relations between them as well as government and military control between citizens. Some ‘fostered’ groups even received special approval from the power-holding elite.

When politics turn around, those who have played a role in perpetuating power are then seen as a threat. However, this operation began shortly after the Banteng Square riots in 1982. This group, which was used as a tool by the government to carry out a black campaign against their opponents, was one of the targets that was slowly being eliminated under the pretext of curbing, suppressing crime rates, and reducing unrest the citizens. To present this tangible form of security and order, it is not uncommon for the government to first demonstrate its strength and power.

At that time, shamelessly, public space was used to display a monument to the success of the government in maintaining security and public order. Even laying the body in an area that is easily witnessed by many people is an important strategy in an effort to do shock therapy. They consciously put the bodies of the opposition with gunshot wounds on the streets to deter while displaying their strength and power over the people in general and their living space.

Associated with the event that became known as PETRUS or ‘mysterious shootings’, the position of the excavation groups also became a party that was cornered by the government with the frills of a troublemaker of security and order. The 2,000 to 10,000 figures represent the number of victims of KOMNAS HAM’s findings during 1983 – 1985 through complaints received directly by KOMNAS HAM or David Bourchier’s research entitled “Crime, Law, and State Authority in Indonesia” in 1990. These figures deemed meaningless by the government and led to the impasse in the resolution of the case as was the fate of other human rights violations in Indonesia.

In his solo exhibition, Arief Budiman tried to unite the pieces of the history of violence that took place in the 1982-1985 range. These pieces try to show the absence of some stories which tend not to be discussed in connection with the mysterious shooting incident. When common and rigid languages ​​are less successful in bringing the dark history of the nation which has been spaced for more than 35 years to the current generation, the picture recording languages ​​chosen by Arif to bring it closer to the context of contemporary visual culture today without reducing the historical context and politics of the event.


One morning fifty years ago, a wooden raft containing a pile of corpses was put in the Brantas river. The party’s flag is planted on headless bodies: a terror and a message of death for some people. What happened a few months later became a dramatic milestone, a stark reminder to anyone who opposes the new power. Residents around the river stopped eating fish since rumors of the discovery of fingers or pieces of other human bodies in the bodies of fish.

Seventeen years have passed since the raft of corpses was dissolved, new bodies were found with gunshot wounds on the edge of an urban alley, in a deserted forest, in a sack near a trash can. Thugs and dug groups that were used as instruments of power to spread terror and fear were eradicated. The relationship that was originally just a business developed into a tool for the state to show off its strengths on the grounds of maintaining order, security, and providing protection for the people with decisive action.

Some time after the regime fell, fear that was once a tool to maintain power is now a new business area. Residents build high fences around the house and entrance, developers create a safe space with one main door under close surveillance, security guards check guest identity cards, gates are locked tightly in the dark, suspicion of people who are not local residents increases. The higher the price that is ready to be paid, the higher the security for those with reduced community trauma. Twenty years later, these fences remain as monuments of fear that almost lost their roots. Long-term memory space shapes the visual language of a place and makes it an everyday sight. However, memory is contestation. Collective memory will continue to change with each power change.

The political game of fear, or scaremongering, influences society through an ancient push for survival mechanisms. People who are always in a state of fear are easily controlled, social friction is easily triggered, and communal hatred is easily directed by the state to respond to targets with certain identities. Terror is reinforced with rumors and stories. Stories develop into myths and ghost stories to normalize past trauma. Power uses this wave of fear to gain and maintain power.

In this solo exhibition series LIR x KKF, LIR invite three young artists to present their response to terror and collective trauma during the rise of the New Order, when public unrest increased and trust needed to be restored, and at the fall of the regime. The narrative of this series goes backwards and presents fear in three variations of a single exhibition: Edita Atmaja who talks about the business of post-1998 fear; Arief Budiman, who talked about missing scenes from 1982 – 1985; and Adi Sundoro about the fear of eating fish around 1965.

About Arief Budiman

Arief Budiman uses moving pictures as a medium for his work. In addition to exploring various forms spontaneously and intuitively, he is also interested in the intersection of lifestyle, social trends, the power of the Internet, and political influence in society. His solo exhibitions include “Don’t Be Afraid with the Dark” in collaboration with PAPERJAM at Lir Space, Yogyakarta (2015); ‘On Moving Text’ in Lir Space, Yogyakarta (2018) and ‘Spectacle Project’ collaborate with Piring Tirbing, Yogyakarta (2019). Some of the group exhibitions he attended included: ‘900mdpl’ in Kaliurang (2019); ‘Wish You Werenn’t Here’ in Raksasa Print, Malaysia (2016); ‘Screening – Screen Ink’ collaborates with Graphic Huru Hara in Gudang Sarinah Ekosystem, Jakarta (2016); ‘Video Battle Screening’ at Deck Gallery, Singapore (2017); ‘All the World’s Display’ at Vieniti4/Siete Galeria, Costa Rica (2017); ‘Quiet Odd # 16_Video Battle (I)’ at the National Romanian Literature Museum (2018); ‘Scope: Indonesia’ at 98B COLLABoratory, Philippines (2018); ‘Either Together Whatever’ in Ruang Mes 56 (2019) and others.

A Solo Exhibition “The Missing Scene: 1982-1985” by Arief Budiman

Opening : Friday, 1 November, 2019, 7 pm
in Gallery, Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF)

The exhibition lasts until 11 November, 2019

Open for public and free of charge
every day at 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
(KKF is closed every Tuesday)

(Poster design by Fitro Dizianto)

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