“Are you guys ready?” The lyrics appeared on our screen. The music pounded delightfully in our ears, triggering all our adrenaline. All tried to keep on singing a song by Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive. With the karaoke, time flew. “We can feel your energy. Thank you everyone!” All applauded. That’s how the third assembly was started on October 23. Gudskul from Jakarta accepted its first turn. The background of the screen was football stadium and all Gudskul team appeared with colorful outfit just like football players. They threw a ball when each of them got their turn to tell us their stories.
“Gudskul studies on Contemporary Art is an ecosystem and educational platform founded by three Jakarta based collectives namely ruangrupa, serrum, and Grafis Huru Hara.” A short video played with a young female who is Gudskul Manager explaining about the history of Gudskul. Each of these three different collectives has been separately practicing collectivity since early 2000 in the realm of contemporary art. It is in 2005 they join forces to establish a common ecosystem called Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem (GSA).
Earlier concept of lumbung has essentially been practiced long before Gudang Sarinah Ecosystem. “We often borrowed space and equipment or facility from each other. In 20013, we were thinking, what if we have common busines unit without being dependent on donor?” With the renting issues, they collaborated through integrating programs, also we experimented to manage finance together openly. In other context such as human resources, for instance where have common friends, also common knowledge.” This experience became the forerunner to the birth of the school.
In welcoming Documenta 15, Gudskul as part of Lumbung International has an idea of creating a so-called Koperasi (Indonesian word for cooperation) organized by collectives or, in other word, multi-party Co-operation. Gudskul would develop Collective Knowledge Co-operation where it would see the relevance of co-operation potential in relation to creative collective practices. How it is relevant in the realm of economy, social, and culture. This Co-operation model has been practiced in Gudskul because they share common resources.
The ownership of this cooperation is by memberships. Gudskul, for instance, owned there are three collectives as members. Potential membership listed for platform in documenta 15 are citizen of Gudskul, Collective study participants/Indonesian Collectives, International Collective, participants of Gudskul’s presence in Kassel for 100 days in 2022, institutional partners and general public of documenta 15. Secondly is the issue management, to run this multy-party cooperation, the strategy, the structure of the cooperation, membership, business model, and business process. The third is the creator from both local and international that would contribute to resources. There would be also supporters to run this cooperation. One significant issue is also on growing cooperative values such as responsibility, determination, and co-ownership.
In Kassel for documenta 15, Gudskul plans to present video as a medium for distribution purposes especially in terms of knowledge. Holding online session, creating virtual gallery, publishing research findings, establishing market place, modifying culinary stalls for sustainable business, and artist’s activation. “We need to discuss more on this issue to create a platform that makes sense for all of us.”
The story from Gudskul was ended with the music that again pounded pleasingly in our ears. With a bit dance and smiles, the song became a bridge that took us to another part of the earth where we virtually met with Fernando and friends from Campo Adentro, Spain. They have been working on farm and dairies in countryside.
Seeing the Gudskul with their football styles, Fernando jokingly said, “Don’t have much expectation from our football capacity in Campo Adentro even though we are coming from Spain. We do ping pong quite a while”. All were laughing. “Well, here we are. I think it is a good opportunity to share about our progress, our direction to develop together as lumbung.” Said Fernando. “The momentum has come to share our progress, but at the same time we have pleasure of knowing each other, enjoying and spending time with others. We have to keep that balance of enjoying and making while having fun. I think that it is what one can very much learn from countryside.” Campo Adantro shared their plans through reflecting on their focuses currently. They would develop an idea inspired from Inland infrastructure.
On the screen Fernando showed us a piece of paper with stretches like a scheme. “The idea is to create a self-manage infrastructure that could sustain the life of collective projects.” They would work on peasant atheneum, a multipurpose village like a townhall, a building with different uses. Their next step was to build a place for the bees to live. Also place for healing, hosting for visitors. “We also create essentials-distillery that could connect with ZK/U in Berlin. In the city they would create shepherd infrastructure for the flock, for the animal there. In addition, Inland would also have a nomadic infrastructure than link city with countryside. It is the infrastructure we are using now to move animal to the city. They are also thinking of developing local potential like one in the forest with the ecological views. This could be related to Jatiwangi idea on the use of common land.
“Also, we would be working on the idea of participatory economy through currency and seasonal basket through which to help producers in the neighborhood.” The last one of their ideas is working on knowledge, to develop new curriculum in inland academy like shepherd school, school for young leaders for nomadic movement. Also, to think about learning tool including publishing, radio, and games. They also plan display a monumental visual works that explain story of people in neighborhood. “The last point is to think about creating parallel study group with Mass Arte Mass Accion within this Lumbung to focus more specifically on Documenta nature of the event in sociological sense with social and economic characters, to discuss about form and manifestation of aesthetic for instance from mainstream to this specific type of lumbung based on specific context, very local and long term.”
There was no more karaoke, but silence with black screen for some time. Then, a slide appeared with “OFF-Biennale Budapest” written on it. We had been moving from Spain to another story from Hungary. “Hello, shall we take up the ball?” said Hajnaka from Off. Off-Biennale is a newly established biennale as it has succeeded two biennales in the past. By the time the third one is prepared, Covid pandemic challenges. It is then postponed till next springAs curatorial collectives, Off has been engaged with art education, rural-knowledge, and ROMAMoMA, a contemporary art project with the wish to establish transnational museum institute to fill in the gap in the narrative of Roma as the largest ethnic minority. For documenta 15 Off would offer more drop of knowledge curatorial project. “We believe it is highly relevant locally and internationally”.
Art education is one of Off main concerns, especially its relation to the last biennale entitled Gaudiopolis 2017, The City of Joy. It is a children home founded by a Lutheran Pasteur who collected war orphan and Jewish children during World War II. They founded this children republic. This is related to Gudskul on experimental learning where in Gaudiopolis the children organized their own structure like ministry, for instance. They learn how to use different tool, make furniture, to get income, and have their own currency and passport. We plant a project on this topic. We deal with question on pedagogy. For documenta will focus on art education and the change that happens thoroughout the world and this academy. We presented students revolution in art school. We made research how regime change art education in these countries like Hungary, Romania, etc. This is also relevant to the local context in Hungary with the current issue on the takeover of art school by government. Not only local, but this phenomenon is also related to global art education. “There are many schools mentioned, new voices like in Inland academy, gudskul, etc. we’ll see how to put this in curatorial frame. We would hear feedback and discuss with all of you”
Another highlight by Off is rural-knowledge, it has information and knowledge from artists working in the field. Grassroot form of education is lesser known knowledge, while they lasted for long and might be worth sharing and knowing especially in terms of working collaboratively. “It is important field of reference, also in contemporary art.” Off tried to find connection between lumbung with local concept in Hungary which is Cholaco. “It is a voluntary and collective work known more in center east European.” Nikolett Eross, one of the curating team in Off. This is form borrowed labor used to help each other especially in villages especially before world war II. It functions in the past and is still practiced in some part of Hungary or could be reactivated. This practice is also corresponded to contemporary art in its relation to collaboration which require voluntary in the lack of resources like manpower or so. This is so related to the concept of collective governance.
The third part the story from Off was ROMAMoMA. It is contemporary art project with the wish to establish transnational museum institute of Roma contemporary art. Roma is the largest ethnic minority in Europe yet there’s no museum representing this issue. ROMAMoMA is a collaboration in which transdisciplinary and transnational discursive art project happens.
This part was the end of the presentation followed by a short discussion. Time was running out. “Thank you everyone. It’s super interesting!” Everyone cheerfully said goodbye. As it is closed with final karaoke session, the last assembly day is waiting.