Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jakarta Biennale 2013: Art and the city

Jakartans’ artistic senses are warming up as the capital prepares to welcome the 2013 Jakarta Biennale international contemporary arts exhibition in November.

The art festival’s theme this year is “Siasat” (Tactics), focusing on creative and artistic actions taken – both consciously and unconsciously – by Jakarta citizens in their lives.

The festival’s organizer is planning to showcase a total of 250 indoor and outdoor pieces of art by around 250 Indonesian and international artists from Nov. 9 to Nov. 30.

International artists include those from Australia, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria and Vietnam.

During the festival, Jakartans will have the chance to enjoy music, dance and theater performances, exhibitions and interactive games.

Among the venues to be used for public events are the Senen and Gambir train stations; Surapati, Langsat and Penjaringan parks; and Transjakarta bus rapid transit shelters.

Murals are also planned at Tanjung Barat–Simatupang Flyover, Beos train station in Kota, West Jakarta, Jatinegara train station in East Jakarta and the densely populated Kampung Ambon.

Nyoman Vidhyasuri Utami, the festival’s coordinator for communication and network, said this year’s festival had utilized a different approach.

“We are putting forward artistic interventions to Jakarta’s daily life through art projects,” she said.

“International artists will be asked not to bring art work from abroad, but instead do it here. They will stay at least five days in a community around the city and then produce art work and art projects as a result of their residency.”

One such foreign artist is Sebastian Diaz Morales of Argentina. Morales previously produced video work titled 15,000,000 Parachutes in 2001, which documented social poverty in Jakarta through a surreal and fantastical story telling.

Morales will make a new project in Jakarta and it will be exhibited at the Fine Arts and Ceramic Museum in West Jakarta during the festival.

In other collaborations, an artist group from the north coast of West Java, the Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF), will work with Jakarta-based Trotoart focusing on projects initiated by Jakarta citizens.

This year’s festival will be centered at an exhibition in the basement of the Teater Jakarta building in Taman Ismail Marzuki arts complex in Central Jakarta. The opening of Jakarta Biennale 2013 will also be held there.

“The exhibition in the basement represents the tactics theme, turning an unlikely place into an artistic exhibition as a result of overcoming limitations that the organizer has experienced,” Nyoman said.

Organized by the Jakarta Arts Council since 1968, the Jakarta Biennale is held every two years in collaboration with the Jakarta Culture and Tourism Agency.

After the turn of the last century, the festival has been more focused on raising Jakartans’ appreciation of the arts, reaching them in their daily whereabouts at bus terminals, train stations, thoroughfares, parks and malls.

“The aim is to introduce and connect Jakartans to art work and expression, and also to introduce the art scene and communities to lively Jakarta,” Nyoman said.

For more information, visit jakartabiennale.net (Jakarta Post)

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