Gotong Royong. Things we do together is an exhibition–meeting place at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, in which the exhibition and a rich public programme will be intertwined. The idea of community will drive the films, objects, documentation and public activities offered by the artists,activists and educators from places around the world.
The exhibition’s title, Gotong royong, means “common task” in Indonesian. It is a method of work practiced in Indonesia, which can be described as ‘things we do together as we learn about them by acting together.’ This title pays homage to the practices of informal arts education and social self–organization that are specific to Indonesian culture, but also common under various names in many other places in the world. It is both the subject and the work method used in the exhibition–meeting at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art.
Activities aimed not at creating objects (although this, too, may happen)but at bringing out passions and experiences are presented and triggered during the exhibition and the equally important public programme running parallel to it.
The exhibition brings together cooperation–based actions coming from the visual and performing arts. As they work in Ursus, Wrocław, Amazonia,a village in West Java or the outskirts of New Orleans, the participants use art as a community–building tool.
The exhibition space features documentation, cinema, photographs,collections of educational objects and materials explaining the methodologies used by the invited artists and groups. Many of the authors of the exhibition will visit Warsaw and engage in public activities. The exhibition can thus become a first step in creating relationships that go beyond the formula of visiting an exhibition.
One of the invited participants is Tainá Azeredo, a Brazilian curator and activist who has spent, together with the artist Claudio Bueno the past two years in the grassroots organizing of the school in the Amazon rainforest. The project called Intervalo–Escola (Time for a break) is being put into effect through the cooperation of local artists, people and administrative entities.
The Gotong Royong. Things we do together exhibition will also form an academy of young artists, activists and researchers, an informal working group called Intervalo–Escola, which will use some of the methods developed by Tainá Azeredo, Claudio Bueno and their colleagues. Intervalo–Escola is the heart of the exhibition, the place where meetings and workshops take place. Their outcomes will continually seep out into the exhibition’s public programme.
U–jazdowski residents Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina from Jakarta will show films based on their work with marginalized communities on Java.Jatiwangi Art Factory, a collective of culture creators and animators founded ten years ago in the small town of Jatisura, is also Indonesian. It runs a programme in which the local population can become involved in the visual arts, music, art education and planning community projects.The Polish artists Marta Frank, Robert Kuśmirowski and Maciej Siuda also joined in the collective’s endeavours. The outcomes of their cooperation are presented in the exhibition.
Projekt Ursus Zakłady by Jaśmina Wójcik, Igor Stokfiszewski and associates,activists and creators of the grassroots revitalization of Warsaw’s Ursus district will be one of the Polish components of Gotong Royong. Things we do together. This multi–year project’s presentation in the exhibition will include materials about the making of the full–length film about the people who live in Ursus. It will be accompanied by choreography workshops with Rafał Urbacki and music workshops with Dominik Strycharski.
Clara Ianni, a Brazilian artist and an Ujazdowski Castle resident, works with various social groups to develop their identity and memory. Her video installation tells about police repression in pacifying demonstrations in São Paulo. Clara’s performance and participation activities in public space, Otwarty pomnik (Open Monument) asks questions about the possibility and necessity of representing collective memory and will be based on the data from a poll the artist conducted in Warsaw. Edyta Jarząb, activist and cultural animator ,will join forces with visitors and the Intervalo–Escola academy to lead workshops for vocal groups. Imani Jacqueline Brown, a New Orleans researcher and activist,will host a series of public discussions titled Kaleidoscope conversations.Some findings from the group’s meetings will be shown in the exhibition space. Vincent Rumahloine, artist and activist, is engaged in fighting against the stigmatization of social groups such as people who are HIV–positive in Bandung, Indonesia. Objects created by these groups will be included in the exhibition, and Vincent will create a new project for the public programme with the Intervalo–Escola group.
During their residency at Ujazdowski Castle, artists of the Ukrainian Open Place collective, Yulia Kosterieva and Yurij Kruchak , worked with the Ukrainian and Belarusian communities of migrant workers in Warsaw. The stories they heard generated a series of posters, a performance script and poetry activities within the exhibition space. They will develop a poetic–graphic workshop to serve as a space for meetings, discussions and cooperation during the exhibition.
Gotong Royong. Things we do together also includes film programmes.Films made by the Forum Lenteng collective from Jakarta will paint a panorama of today’s Indonesian society and discuss its complex internal relations. Forum Lenteng brings together artists, filmmakers and performers who both participate in and document life in a dozen different spots in the Indonesian archipelago. One of its members, Otty Widasari,will use workshops to demonstrate its work methods. A special film programme made in cooperation with the Short Waves Festival is a selection of the best recent shorts with subjects related to the themes of the exhibition.
(c) Photo by Bartosz Górka