Asian Art Biennial 2017 > Claynialism – Supranatural Farming


If they use the word “Taiwan”, Jatiwangi people are generally referring to one of two things: migrant workers or business investors. We are interested in the second one of these, business investors. Everyone knows that globalization and neoliberalism have accelerated land-rushing globally, especially since 2008. As a result, many people have been driven from their land, and the rate at which farmers are being deprived of direct access to the land has been hastened. Our local place, Jatiwangi, is no exception. Since 2008, the regional government’s develop mentalism ideology has seen it vigorously opening up opportunities for global investment in our land. The government is making efforts to boost Jatiwangi and surrounding areas to become the center of industry in northern Java. Central government grand projects, such as the construction of West Java International Airport and highways, are designed to support the infrastructure in this industrial area. Swathes of productive agricultural land have been turned into manufacturing factories, some of which have received investment from Taiwan.


This project consists of a performative business meeting between investors from Taiwan and villagers from Wates, one of our hamlets, where land has been claimed by the Indonesian Air Force branch of the Indonesian National Armed Forces. Today, investors have become mysterious figures, untouchable, as if only the state and elite oligarchs have the right to deal with them. We, as citizens, seem to have no such access or opportunities to establish cooperation. Nowadays, the global investment industry is interested in the calculation of very real benefits (at least in our area). Therefore, in this business meeting project, we are offering investors the opportunity to invest in profitable cultural development of our land that has been claimed by the Air Force. We propose an agribusiness that is managed by kinship and is organic – it is supranatural. The majority of those in the Wates hamlet do not own land, with most working as farm laborers. However, most residents have an empty garden extending at least 100 meters from the side, the front and the back of their house. With a planting system that emphasizes the installation of planting media, we will use this unused land as farmland. Each process will be accompanied by multiple rituals and a sense of compassion. There will be efforts to achieve food self-sufficiency in the village, based on a bond with the land and a new perspective on its processes. In addition to the performance being an artistic gesture, we imagine it as a political gesture that can strengthen the bargaining position of citizens in negotiations over claims made by the Air Force to this land since 1951, as well as hope it can provide an insight into how to deal with developmentalism.

>> More images here.

2017 Asian Art Biennial 


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