"Exhibition", 2nd Draft: Berbagi, MAINTENANCE WORKS_, Museum of the Ordinary Things_

Museum of the Ordinary Things

English | Indonesia

Location: Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society
Date: 15 August 2017 – 09 September 2017
Time: 10:00 – 17:00

Museum of the Ordinary Things

A project by Eko Prawoto

An exhibition with a series of public events

Tuesday, 15 August 2017, 07.00 pm

Public Events

  • Workshop for artists by blacksmith pak Sukisman
  • “Use your eyes well”: drawing with ibu Restu, a drawing workshop for children by artist Restu Ratnaningtyas
  • Toko Penajaman, tool sharpening shop by Agent OH
  • Desa Bercerita Edisi #8, learning with pak Mardi (batik master)
  • Artist Talk by Eko Prawoto
  • Tooling workshops for kids
  • Unpacking Embodied Knowledge, a sambal making workshop and discussion about embodied knowledge by Bakudapan Food Study Group
  • From Ordinary to Extraordinary, a public talk with archeologist Dr. Daud Aris Tanudirjo

Please download the PDF Booklet of the Museum of the Ordinary Things here.

The Museum of the Ordinary Things (MOThi) is a growing collection of traditional hand-held tools for agriculture, wood and bamboo carpentry, initiated by architect Eko Prawoto (who designed Cemeti’s current building). The collection is housed in a Paiton wooden building on the grounds of Prawoto’s home in the village of Kedondong dua, about an hour’s drive west of Yogyakarta. Here, Prawoto aims to connect local blacksmiths and farmers to his architectural and design students, to share their knowledge. For four weeks, the Museum of the Ordinary Things will be relocated to Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society and shown alongside a series of detailed drawings by Prawoto of objects in the collection, studying their various features. Importantly, the collection will serve as a starting point for an active public programme of talks, workshops and events.

The museum is more than a personal fascination. Through it, Prawoto aims to help preserve and share the situated forms knowledge held in his rural community. These come from an embodied understanding of nature, earth, soil, agriculture, climate and weather, and as such tend to be passed down from person to person and from generation to generation. Prawoto’s desire is to connect a younger generation from various backgrounds with these ways of doing and knowing. In the next four weeks, Cemeti will act as a testing ground.

The Museum of the Ordinary Things raises questions about which forms of knowledge get preserved and historicised, and about who decides what is worth remembering. MOThi can be seen as an attempt to actively build counter-histories and autonomous narratives, working outwards from a specific community. More speculatively, MOThi can be seen as a proposition for a future scenario in which every community, every kampung (village or area) has its own community-led museum to share the knowledge that is valuable to them, sustaining traditional forms of communal life. Using the framework of the “museum” for such purposes seem a contradiction, but it is a contradiction that can be overcome by decolonizing of the idea of the museum itself.

Re-locating the Museum of the Ordinary Things to Cemeti is not in any way meant to romanticise or freeze these traditional tools and practices in time. Instead, we wish to learn from these active, contemporary practices, asking ourselves how these forms of knowledge can be re-valued alongside technological developments and drives towards efficiency, hyper-production and greater yields? This temporary relocation also gives us the chance to connect the knowledge that is embedded within the collection, and the community of Kedondong dua with a broader public and to test out possible forms of community engagement.

The activation of the museum is crucial to these aims. A public events program currently includes a two-part workshop for artists with Pak Sukisman, the blacksmith from Pengasih Kulon Progo; ‘toko PENAJAMAN’, a tool sharpening shop by agent OH; an event by food study group Bakudapan; a talk by Eko Prawoto about the Museum of the Ordinary Things; the 8th edition of Desa Bercerita, a talk by craftsmen and women from different village for invited experts and the public, and other talks by practitioners yet to be confirmed. Design researcher Vicky Gerrard will explore objects in the collections and beyond. We also have a special program for children, consisting of a two-part drawing class by artist Restu Ratnaningtyas and a workshop of four different “tooling” games developed by architecture and design students from Duta Wacana University and the Yogyakarta art academy ISI. We are furthermore organising a “Drop-in Centre” that invites Cemeti’s neighbours and local community to share personal stories about their “ordinary things”. 

Museum of the Ordinary Things is a collaboration between Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society, Eko Prawoto Architectural Workshop and the Laboratory of History, Technology and Design Studies, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Duta Wacana Christian University.