On the second day of the Lumbung Assembly all the vibe was still the same. Cheerful faces from various parts of the earth appeared on the screen. “We have a request, we have a Zoom performance,” said Yazan, representing a collective called Question on Funding from Palestine. “We are going to sing a song and you will sing after us, okay. Here we go!” Everyone got prepared and after each verses of the lyrics, all repeat the word “Yo ya .. yo ya ..” It was such a pleasant ice-breaking which all seemed to enjoy.
It’s been several years ago since they started to work together and to have conversation with the issue of funding. “We are organizing a system that is different from what international aid wants us to do.” They have conversations and have many voices on this issue. “International aid disempowers our struggle and many other negative influences.” Said Fayrouz, “It is not only to build a new culture, but also to revive the practices killed by NGOnization in Palestine.
By working with other community such as Tal’at, a group of feminists in Palestine, they are creating a bigger structure through connecting and extending the topic and question on funding. As this practice is connected to lumbung concept, they have an idea of liberating money for community. “We are thinking of creating sustainable income so that the community not to be dictated by the donor. This is idea is a kind of money laundry for community, as most international aid is coming with restrictions on what to do and not to do. “We are thinking of how to recycle and reproduce money that come into cultural productions.”
In the near future Question on funding is seeking to work with bigger community of lumbung and local community to develop more ideas on this topic and use different platforms and resources. This is aimed at creating structure of community that will be able to reproduce the money and use it community.
With a short break, from Palestine all lumbung members took another virtual journey far away to Denmark where we all had a conversation with Trampolin House, a collective that consist of artists, asylum seekers, and others based in Copenhagen. Olaf began story about the situation and condition of the people in detention in Denmark. “Europe is now becoming the most dangerous in terms of migration,” she explained. There are huge asylum seekers, they are refugee leaving their own countries for various reasons like war, political conflicts, and so on. They are not allowed to work, and to have educational program, only children of the asylum seekers are allowed to go to school.” Some women and children are in several accommodation center with bed and small allowance. “Every time you are rejected as asylum seekers, you are brought to detention center. There are privileges taken from you. You no longer have allowance, no trainings, you are living in a prison-like situation”
Starting a critical art project for refugee, Trampoline House gives opportunities for people to contribute through internship. They have 100 volunteers and the house is run by public supports and donation. It’s been nearly 10 years since it’s established. Hundreds of refugees visit the house weekly. It was initiated in 2009 by socially engaged art students, and artists. “We do job training, counseling, creative workshop, art exhibition, and monthly house meeting to discuss about refugee and migrants’ condition.” Olaf also explained that Trampoline is seeking to create an alternative asylum system as its vision. “We are going to embark together for the next two years in Documenta 15. This group include asylum seekers, artists, and others.”
For this purpose, several preliminary plans emerge. First is the idea of having a bus that help refugees transport from Trampoline House to detention centers. Also, by having a bus, it could save money and bring income to the house. There’s another idea out of this thinking. “We could take this bus to Kassel during Documenta 15 event.”
Its second idea is to develop and test a detention center system model. “We would create a space where you could go to school, to work, to be living next door with regular citizen and resident, and soothing aspect so that it could look like a home”. The third idea is to imagine a safer migration routes and establishing artistic resolutions agencies in war and conflict zones. It could be to jointly established conflict agencies in conflict zone in the world, and we could present this to authorities”. The last idea that conclude the presentation is to create an academy and umbrella organization for Trampoline House. “We have a big house, we could fit in more organizations where we could share and offer more activities for our users. We could share our knowledge on asylum seekers through education and professionals.”
Those ideas are open to grow further, but before that, on the same day, we take another journey that brought us to a different story. All virtually moved to Colombia to have a conversation with Mass Arte Mass Accion. As MAMA has its turn, this is how the story goes:
Important to start with the four of us as individuals. It is very clear today how we are individuals and this means if we choose to make a movement, we have social organization, creative organization, collective work come together then created organizations. The question is how do we use those resources? What will we do later in this organization?
In 2011 we joined a collaboration. That was another massive milestone in looking at the foundation’s history in trajectory. It gave us a kind of liberty to practice in a way that it supported the organization itself. No other all sorts of innovations in Colombia we have, because we are standing here is tied specifically to projects and not to support institutions. So, this year is saying in relation to the participation in the laboratory, which many might not know is a network. How can this autonomy be translated throughout?
I was hoping to be like a seed, the seed of something. It was something very small, then grew into a tree and gave fruit. So, for me, it’s very important to have respect towards her. Lumbung partners, so they can get to know us. I think that we should keep the format talking about ourselves when we’re talking from that entanglement, not just among ourselves with the communities in Choco and the Pacific, I wanted to talk a bit about that because that’s how people will know who we are as individuals.
I didn’t have an arts background but it was the idea was we’re here. At the time in 2015, when art collaboratory allowed us to take on this project of thinking about sustainability, and about how to work more integrated with the local ecosystems, we’ve always been concerned with climate change, and the environment. There is a project to build a port, and this has led us to focus our work on the environment on this particular issue and we are developing new project the idea of Choco school resonates with me, because also with the question of what the Question of Funding had said to go is a space due to the structural violence in our country communities. It’s one of the few things that attract interest from international foundations, but we are the region that borders Panama and it’s part of a very strong for drug trafficking and migration towards the north.
I’m gonna tell you communities who inhabit the area. So, there are a lot of international cooperation in the region, but it is also rooted to projects that have their own agenda, the peace agenda, social justice agenda, health, but they are not allowing communities to have autonomy and self-determination so that they may say what they think is sustainability. All of the people who work on the projects are people from Bogota, people who make up projects in the capital, which is a white misty place and is not in tune with the self-determination of the afro communities. So, when you complete your goal, it’s not just nature that is teaching you; the communities but rhythm, the humidity and a lot of things that are producing very strong changes of awareness.
In that sense, Choco school has practical entailments for the fact that the community there have collective ownership of the land. This is something that this struggle of black people here has achieved the possibility of having commonly owned land, something that it would be amazing to be able to imagine urban settings, but that is impossible due to the fragmentation of nice in the cities. So, at that point we started to work more with local ecosystems because after 10 years of Mas Arte, you realize that some people who were part of a project or workshop in 2012, now they are community leaders or cultural creators. There is a horizontal relationship and projects now to consider how they will participate in the projects. So now in that sense, we see that our presence there becomes more relevant and our way of being there.
What can we learn from these practices? His life practices. If you will find in these territories which nourish many of the questions that we have an incoming from an urban setting, for example is the debate about the idea of development and this is why yesterday we talked about several issues; flavourful living, good living, and a way of life that is not so divided and sectionalized but we are much more entangled with life word practice constantly. And in a way, I also learned or I feel that my personal interest and my work interests have all fused together in this space. So, it has been an exercise that has allowed me to come into contact with a lot of political agencies and not just for my interest in activism put through our constantly questioning practices or ways of doing. The paradigms that say come from urban setting the market. Well what we have grown up with in Bogota, which is the country’s capital. So, this constant self-questioning is another great value of the organization.
We’ve allowed ourselves to question the structure of the organization all the time through the debates that come up in the context of the territory that we are working on. The questions that come up at different times from different collectives and organizations that we work with.
The first step to the education project was we were all trying to learn how to make film. There was also a collaboration and co-production. All of the collect tips were financing working studying at the same time. So, we were thinking about different ways of relation within a kind of production of images. We will have to make changes to make our budgets more flexible. It was not about giving people a project that was already shaped but about during the in which we were managing the project and also conceiving a strategy or narratives that could allow us to raise awareness around the issue of the board from a local perspective.
This is also given rise to a strengthening of infrastructures for film production in the region. So that’s kind of how the postcard from the future is unfolding. We’re kind of collecting a memory of what we have been doing, so that we can also share what the pedagogical process has been, and also we’re hoping to be able to look them to the results of the project the hope that it can be available in many languages is that we can establish a connection between this struggle and other struggles. We were wondering about how narrative itself can play a part in the struggle. Right now, the biggest issue in the region is finding a way of publicly stating themselves. We conceived it on the project is not simply a project. It also reflects our way of relating to the ecosystem of organizations that we have been working with and the long term. We are thinking about sustainability.
So, I think that one of the greatest challenges that we want to embrace now for lumbung is to find a way of inviting these collectives to play an active part within the lumbung exercise. What we’re doing is trying to understand the space. And we are also trying to finish up with a good bunch of different projects that have kept us very busy, but I think that next year we will be able to have a clear invitation that we would like to present to these collectives, but now the logic is that we are not doing projects for them. We had to take the project with them. It’s a Choco addiction. We are managing the funds and something that we also think would be interesting to discuss here is the idea of production as an artistic practice. So, how each of the tools and of the ways in which we relate? Also entails a political position and ethical position, and through this we are seeking to reverse some of the traditional schemes of power and motive relation. So, this idea was inspired by the art collaboratory and we are implementing this in several projects. Hoping that it will allow us collectively to decide how to use the money.
Traded the idea is also in this part of rethinking and reconfiguring our organization. We’re trying to think that we don’t exist alone. We are part of a network of support and interrelation that also raises a lot of questions for us about our own way of doing things with this precisely the wealth of being able to come into dialogue with these collectives. I was like maybe to ask fair to introduce a little bit the project that they’re working on right now because although postcard from the future is one of the projects that is developing this idea of the urgency of defending the key in these entanglements will serve activists around the port issue. We had the idea of postponed durable territory here.
Also, there is a very interesting project by a Scottish Colombian James Richardson. It’s a very ambitious project that seeks to prove with data that this region of the planet is the most biodiverse as the greatest biodiversity in the planet the region that goes from planner from Panama and along the Columbia Pacific, which used to belong to the Amazon. He’s emerged. So, we are collaborating with this project of the monitoring plots of land. I think they I thought you know, they explained things in such an easy way, allowing us to understand our interconnectedness with nature so easily. I said to myself it would be nice to make a kind of animation, something very visual to present that.
Also, the question about solidarity and how solidarity can be a real thing into this collaboration. Now the government has to invest in the recuperation of the river, but that also implies the wreck of the recovering and raining it’s regeneration of the local communities. We are in the process of setting it up, because this year they are supposed to come to make the plans for war for creating together. So I think that that can be also like an interesting experience when we talk about that relation to bond to money, but also to a more wise understanding of resources. Cultural tourism.
Time is running out. In Indonesia, night is getting darker. The long story by MAMA ended. For tomorrow, more stories are waiting for us.