Jakarta 32º Celsius 2012

Or was it Jakarta Heatwave 48º Celsius?

As usual, it was filled with hundreds and hundreds of (mostly art) students from all across Jakarta. And there were only very few air-co’s. Oh dear.

If you wanted a free sauna or to look as if you’d just run a marathon, then you should’ve come to the opening.

Luckily I was in good health, or else I would have fainted in the middle of that wholesale market exhibition space. Especially after waiting for 1.5 hours – as the exhibition organiser was famous for being extremely late. Last year at the OK Video opening, I went home without having the chance to see any works, as the opening was really late and I could no longer stand to wait outside in a windy humid evening with an empty stomach.

But I admire the collective’s dedication in developing the urban art scene, encouraging youngsters to be involved in arts – which actually can help shaping the city into a less dull place. Or even better, diversely fascinating. Although I rather doubt the latter as the local contemporary art movement is currently rolling downhill.

Anyway, Jakarta 32º Celsius is a biennale art exhibition that displays students’ works. It was held by Ruang Rupa, an art collective formed in 2000 by a group of art graduates, mostly from the Jakarta Art Institute.

My first visit to Jakarta 32 Derajat Celsius was in 2006, when I was very impressed by the artworks — some were fascinating, some others were even highly innovating. So was 2008, where I spent hours and hours just to take a closer look at the artworks.

But this year, well.. I must say I was not very impressed. Some of the artworks were so-so, and very, very few artworks had good concepts. And some were even rather dull.

The technology is far more advanced. Resources to art theories, techniques, and even inspirations, are highly available and easy to access. Come on guys, the world does not revolve (only) around twitter!

OK enough criticising now – I will just write down some artworks which I found interesting.. from several perspectives.

The first one is merely personal, just because I like taking public transports and claim myself as an angkot (abbreviation for public transport in Indonesian) traveller. So of course I was happy to see the works of Danang Sulistyono who made a book of illustration containing watercolour images of Jakarta’s public transports from time to time.




The next one is a simple photo project done by a workshop participant. As the workshop’s theme was vocation, participants were asked to develop a concept about the diversity of jobs in metropolitan Jakarta. Maybe rather like Julia Sari’s “Vermak Levis” a few years ago.Anyway, this photo series which I like, shows different type of “Odong-Odong”. Basically odong-odong is a sort of manual children ride. Instead of inserting a certain type of coins into the machine, a customer pays a certain amount of money to the operator who will then move the ride by turning the pedals.

Odong-odong is very mobile, in a way that the operator guy actually travels from one neighbourhood to the other offering their services. You can notice them from the children songs they were playing through mini speakers. They looked very merry – sometimes to listen to children songs can really brighten up my morning. I really like how the photos show the diversity of odong-odong. The children attraction has truly become one of Jakarta’s unique features.

Another photo project which I found it amusing and very creative at the same time was the dental girls — where the models for the calendar were young dentists in their full uniforms, instead of sexy girls in bikinis. Dentistry Faculty is known to have a high majority of girl students. According to some friends, every year there’s only 0-2 male students per university admitted to the faculty.




Some artworks which I like for simply being a really nice work of art was “Beribu Daun Berjuta Harap” (Thousands of Leaves, Millions of Hopes) by Tim Dekor Angsana Prabala & Friends, it was a sculpture (more like a relief actually) from corrugated boards.




And in my humble subjective opinion, “Terbawa” (Carried (Away)) by Iddima was the best looking artwork at the exhibition. It was a sculpture of legs and hands were stretching out from the wall. From one perspective those hands were like being sucked to the wall, so perhaps that was why it was called “Terbawa”, as if they were being carried by some forces into the wall. From another perspective, these hands and legs were like about to reach you..



Another artwork that falls into this category is a collage portrait painting of former Jakarta’s governor Ali Sadikin by Apriliyan bsm.

Seen from creativity/innovation perspective, one that I think stood out was the Social Media Snakes & Ladders by Zafira Dhanni Farid. Whereas most board games will help you to detach yourself from your gadgets, this one asks you to do otherwise. The number of moves and rewards you take are based on your social media rank, so not only climbing the ladder on the board, the players will also be climbing their way to a higher digital statuses.




Another twitter-related artwork was Mr. Postman by Siam Muhidin, M. Ferdy Pratama, and Arief Rahmanto, where visitors can write a message on a piece of an envelope and paste it to the wall. A bit like reading twitter feeds in reality, but in a chaotic order. I actually like the painting of the postman instead of the general concept of the artwork..



And for the videos, my favourite one was “Lima Dua Puluh” by Adhiyasa Abi Rafdi and Dimas Angkling A.F.

Actually, some more nice artworks were displayed in the other part of the gallery. It was a “Special Presentation”, where it displayed best artworks from different universities/institutes. Unfortunately, these were not included in the catalogue. In fact, not all the works from the workshop were included in the catalogue either. And I found the catalogue was a bit unclear, if ‘unhelpful’ would be rather too strong.




anyway, here are some more artworks from the main exhibition..



and from the workshops..



and last but not least, the performers. although i only managed to get some shots at krontjong toegoe cafrinho..

Jakarta 32º Celsius 2012
Galeri Nasional
22.09.2012 – 08.10.2012

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