Exhibition and Presentation
Artists-in-Residence Period #2 2018
23 – 29 November 2018
Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society, Yogyakarta
Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society’s residency programme brings artists from both Indonesia and abroad to connect with local issues and communities in Yogyakarta. The aim is to create connectivity between artistic and civic action through an open process of research and knowledge exchange, supporting artists to explore the social landscape of the city over three months. By directly connecting residents to its networks, Cemeti’s residency programme encourages collaborative working with local individuals, cultural groups and citizen initiatives.
From September to November 2018, Cemeti hosted two artists-in-residence, Katharina Duve (Hamburg, Germany) and Sakinah Alatas (Jakarta, Indonesia) for a three months period. Cemeti’s Artist-in-Residency Program Period #2 2018 (September-November) is a cooperation with Goethe-Institut Indonesia.
During her residency period, Katharina Duve’s artistic research centred on ghosts, particularly as personifications of the unknown. She explored different contexts, from Javanese belief systems such as Kejawen to the plenitude of horror movies in Indonesian cinema, from friends’ ghost stories to spiritual sites. She met spiritual practitioners, artists and activists, attended a cultural event ‘Suran Mbah Demang’ in Godean area and a Javanese New Year celebration ‘Suro’ at Parangtritis beach. At the same time, she has been interested in the (individual and collective) body, lens-based practices, technology and identity. Kati wanted to think through ways in which we can bring socio-political structures and their related value systems to light, asking: How do these structures shape and condition us? How do we embody their values? Who has the power to decide what is possible and what is impossible? Is there a space in-between, a space of transgression, a space that is never fixed, instead always in-becoming –like identity itself–, always relational and open to negotiation?
Kati explored this last question during her Kamar Tokek workshop in October 2018. She organised a workshop entitled (Im)possible Identities–or how can we learn from ghosts?, inviting a diverse group of people she had met during her research process to join as participants. By highlighting different features and characteristics of ghosts, the idea of the workshop was to imagine a world or society in which identities that are considered “impossible” become possible. The participants were asked to bring an object related to a personal ghost story. After sharing these stories, the objects were transformed into shadow portraits, using the techniques of photogram and lumen print (in collaboration with collectives Afdruk56 and KLJ Jogja). In a special “recording room”, Katharina asked the participants to introduce their shadow portrait and to tell her more about how they relate to ghosts in their daily lives. This collection of video recordings finally make up an Archive of (Im)possible Identities, which shows that one possible “space in-between” is a space where the unknown is not feared, where the unexpected is valued and where multiple identities can co-exist.
From the start of her residency, Sakinah Alatas wanted to break out of her usual routine. She did this by joining a regular sewing course at ‘Woro Modiste’. Sewing being a reoccurring medium in her practice, the course offered the opportunity to meet with a diverse group of people through a shared interest. The course has around 20 participants, mostly women, from various backgrounds and ages spanning high school graduates to housewives. Sakinah noticed how the intimacy of the group grew as they shared everyday jokes about the dynamics of marriage and married life. These conversations enlivened the course’s atmosphere and ignited Sakinah’s interest in exploring further the trials and tribulations of these women faced in their domestic lives. She became particularly interested in the position of women in marriage. What obstacles or limitations do women face after marriage? How do women position themselves in marriage? What strategies need to be developed in order for married women to make space for themselves outside of the responsibilities and limitations of domestic life.
Building on this interest, Sakinah invited some of her sewing course friends to join an intimate conversation to share their experiences and learn from each other. She used her cultural background as a reference when designing the chat session, adopting the idea of ‘Majlas’, a term for hanging out activity by the Alawiyyin community, and creating her own version which she named ‘Majlas Zawjaat’, which means a gathering of wives. In this closed gathering, Sakinah also designed a specific setting to host the event that adopted the form of a Middle Eastern-style living room (often used by the Alawiyyin* community), providing Shisha and Kebuli rice to create the atmosphere for her ‘Majlas Zawjaat’. As the culmination of her residency process, Sakinah will share her reflections regarding her findings from the chat session along with her experience in pursuing sewing activities with the course participants. One key element being the power that sewing (and such courses) gives to women in creating space for themselves within otherwise restricted lives.
*) Alawiyyin is a term for people or groups of people who have blood ties with the Prophet Muhammad.
Photo documentation Opening of Exhibition & Presentation by Artists-in-Residence Period # 2 2018, May 23, 2019, Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society. (Photo: Dimaz Maulana)
Artist’s Biography (in alphabetical order)
Katharina Duve (Germany)
Katharina Duve (Schwerin, Germany, 1980) is a transdisciplinary artist, working with a wide variety of media, including experimental films, lecture performances, music videos, collages, installations, sampling and costumes. In her practice, she explores themes such equality, collectivity, identity and the body. Her work has been shown in various group exhibitions, including at Kunsthaus, Hamburg, Germany (2015); Tate Modern Exchange, London, UK (2017) and Galerie Melike Bilir, Hamburg (2018). Her films have been presented in international film festivals. Her experimental music videos received a number of awards, such as 1st Jury MUVI Award (2014, in cooperation with Timo Schierhorn and Ted Geier) at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in Germany. Katharina is part of a Hamburg based performance collective (since 2002) and member of the filmmaker-cooperation Auge Altona (since 2015). She has been a lecturer at the Film Department of Hamburg University, amongst others. Katharina lives and works in Hamburg, Germany.
Sakinah Alatas (Indonesia)
Sakinah Alatas (Bogor, 1994) earned a bachelor degree in the Arts Education Program at the State University of Jakarta. She is interested in art practices that involve public. Her work often raises personal and identity issues as tools to build dialogue with the public. Her artistic practice is using the practice-led research as an approach and cross medium. She is a member of ICFAM (Indonesian Contemporary Fiber Art Movement), a non-profit community that focuses on contemporary fiber art practices, founded in 2015. Since then, she has joined a women artist collective ‘Buka Warung’ in Jakarta.
Sakinah is actively involved in various group exhibitions and performance festivals in Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Bangkok and Calcutta. She is also one of the residency artists in the ‘Three Musketeer #2’ program organized by Ace House Collective in Yogyakarta, in 2016. In 2018, she exhibited her work in a solo show ‘Syarifah’s Words’ at Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem, Jakarta. She lives and works in Jakarta.