"Exhibition", Reconstructed Biotope_
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Reconstructed Biotope

English | Indonesia

Daftar Isi

Curatorial Statement | Health Protocol | Artwork Images | Essay | Artist’s Biography

Reconstructed Biotope

Group Exhibition :

Elia Nurvista
Youngho Lee

Curator :

Manshur Zikri

19 – 30 January 2021

Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society

*Plug in your own wired earphones/headphones to safely enjoy multimedia exhibits (Port audio : aux 3.5 mm jack).
Teks Pengantar

Elia Nurvista and Youngho Lee’s artistic practices are marked by an enthusiasm for representing the global migration of resources. Their practices show a striking combination of “expository tendencies” and “poetic aspirations” in composing political statements about cross-geographical events and phenomena. They utilise the diverse content that is dispersed across the information wilderness, which is increasingly formed from arbitrary sources in today’s era of technology. “The globalisation of ideals and material conditions,” is the focus of the issues that they attempt to examine by each exploring different subjects: while Elia unpacks the political behind (the leftover) food, Youngho re-maps any experimental (remnants of) sounds.

Global migration not only problematises the active movement of humans, but also encompasses ceaseless (and unlimited) exchange of inanimate objects (commodities) and abstractions (concepts), both actually and virtually. The process of migration seems influential on our senses when we translate meaning and context of what is migrated (in this case food and sound).  In response to these problems, Elia and Youngho’s artistic journey has led them to encounters with the visual jargon that represents mechanisms of data-based labour, surveillance systems, digital technology and social media in the lives of society.  Playing an analogical role in order to demonstrate the tensions between a number of binary oppositions (for instance: global-local, West-East, modern-traditional, aural-visual, ordered-random, synthetic-organic), their work uses materialistic approaches to expose imagination, memory, perception, and even stereotypes about situations that are invisible but firmly embodied. With this orientation, their works concur with the appropriation of the past and the adoption of the present.

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Panduan Kunjungan

Please read carefully our health protocols before registering a visit.


Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society will reopen on 19 – 30 January 2021 for Study Club Presentation: CLOTHING AS A STATE OF POWER. The safety and well-being of our visitors, artists, partners, and Cemeti team is our highest priority. Cemeti will be following the local health authorities’ guidelines to minimize the effects of this Covid-19 pandemic. The following are health and safety measures we have taken and put in place for our Cemeti team, artists, partners, and visitors.

We want to let you know that Cemeti team who are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 are required to remain at home and must take a Rapid or PCR/Swab test. Those who have traveled to other cities will be required to self isolate and go through a Rapid /Swab test to ensure no infection before returning to work.


Tuesday – Saturday

11:00 – 16:30 WIB

Registration is required for entry, and all visitors must diligently adhere to health precautions. Please register at least 1 day in advance.


To manage the number of visitors inside the gallery, we have divided the time of visit into 4 sessions scheduled every open day, with access limited to 8 persons at a time as bellow:

11:00 – 12:00 | 12:30 – 13:30 | 14:00 – 15:00 | 15:30 16:30 

Date to Visit :

Tuesday, 19 Jan 2021

Wednesday, 20 Jan 2021

Thursday, 21 Jan 2021

Friday, 22 Jan 2021

Saturday, 23 Jan 2021

Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021

Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021

Thursday, 28 Jan 2021

Friday, 29 Jan 2021

Saturday, 30 Jan 2021


If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or are not feeling well, please postpone your visit until you are feeling better or until you are symptom-free.


  • Paking Area: Motorbike at Cemeti’s parking area, Car at the roadside around Cemeti. 
  • Cemeti’s front door will remain closed. The entrance will be on the left side of a building.

Safety Features

  • Please follow directions from the Cemeti team. 
  • Temperature checks with a forehead scanner prior to entering the building. If you receive a reading of 100.4 °F / 38 °C or higher, we will regrettably have to deny entry into the Gallery to avoid risk of transmission. 
  • Wash hands and use hand sanitizer before entering the gallery. A handwashing station and hand sanitizer are available at entrances.
  • Face coverings are required for all visitors over the age of two, and must be worn for the duration of your visit.
  • Maintain physical distancing. Keep at least six feet from others. 
  • We have significantly increased the frequency and extent of cleaning at the gallery. All surfaces, handles, and other areas that may be touched by visitors and staff are cleaned daily during exhibitions.

To prevent transmission of the COVID-19

  • Plug in your own wired earphones/headphones to safely enjoy multimedia exhibits (Port audio : aux 3.5 mm jack).
  • No direct physical contact with the artworks.


All visitor’s ID/Passport will be stored securely for no less than 1 month after the exhibition closes and in accordance with the requirements of Yogyakarta Governor Regulation No.77 of 2020. ID/Passport that is not required anymore will be disposed of securely.

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Foto Karya

Artwork Images

Elia Nurvista

Savage Noble Series, No. 6 & 7

Digital print on canvas

A reflection on the dissonance in the meaning of objects between Eastern and Western perspectives, between the exotic and the advanced. This work is a parody that critiques Western standards of knowledge that have until now been seen as established. Consciously satirising the symbology of the Renaissance, Elia adds layers of new meaning, in line with contemporary discourses that frequently reject the magical aura of masterpieces and focus on drawing out the context of relevant issues.  This digital series is not a mockery, but rather an actual representation of how our world today remains under the power of the West.


12 mins 45 secs, color, sound, HD, 16:9
Single channel video animation

Departing from reflections on migrants and refugees, Elia arrives at the issue of perspective; of what is regarded as “foreign” and the characteristics of “exoticism” which follow. The animation illustrates a superpower system (which is born out of modernism; symbolised by machines) that applies signifying mechanisms, or labels, as well as protective systems, as part of a system of control and exclusion. Displaying a completely artificial nature, the nature of animation, and referring to the commodities believed to have migrated globally, Elia offers a subtle critique of Western discourses that enact social categorisation and international control mechanisms. The video critiques the issue of migrants and refugees, without presenting their attributes.

The Maladies

12 mins, color, sound, HD, 16:9
Single channel video

The excesses of imperialism and colonialism are still felt in the traces of the systems that produce food as a commodity. In her searches through the internet wilderness, Elia found a video titled “About Banana,” an advertisement promoting banana’s as a healthy food, made by the banana corporation United Fruit (1935) to encourage Americans to consume more bananas. Elia addresses the issue of how monocultures change the landscapes of livelihoods and environments in many places, by imitating the style of speech in the original. By artificially changing an ecosystem through monoculture, this video presents as narrator an ordinary creature represented as a disease/epidemic resulting from these systems.

Tropical Repertoire

Fruits and carton/wood boxes installation, barcode (digital print on paper)

Elia’s obsession/interest in fruit also raises self-criticism around how issues of exoticisation emerge, not only in the dichotomy of the West looking to the East. By selecting several links about fruit on the internet, based on her interest in them—from issues around agricultural labour to the use of fruit as an object, this installation seems to criticise global food production systems as well as her own obsessions with fruit as subject matter. This fruit is arranged as labelled with stickers of the kind that usually contain codes that are difficult for consumers to understand, except that these stickers actually provide consumers with access to information about the fruit, as if to configure the fruit in such a way that it can speak for itself.

Youngho Lee

You Are Not Paranoid; Observed Yourself Being Watched

Single channel video, 2 mins 23 secs, 16:9, HD, colour, sound

This video which is a single-channel version of a larger project of a spatial installation titled Clinamen – Matter Misprision, shows Youngho Lee’s efforts to investigate on how we can understand the role of social media, technology, data and surveillance systems in our daily lives. It also shows the contemporary people who are attached to the media have allowed their activities to be marked, followed, monitored and traced. This illustration implies that the imagined masses in virtual reality and populism in real life are, in fact, closely related to the practice of manipulating opinions and surveillance opportunities from the state or the ruling party, which bring out the risks in limiting democracy. Ironically, the possibilities of the control society can manifest dysfunction in the development of the media itself. This video also represents how Lee responds to the relativity of advances in technology and humans by utilizing the point of view of an Eastern-oriented sensibility. If The Eastern sees technique and nature as two things that are mutually integrated into a holistic ideal, the Western sees technology and science as humans’ means to control nature.

Epilogue: SORI – Blacksmith’s Anvil

Single channel video, 9 mins 41secs, 16:9, HD, colour, sound

In the history of  Western music, they tried to reduce noises in the process of improving musical instruments. But it was a particular case in the world, mostly folk instruments of the world have the opposite process. They made all kinds of efforts to add noises to instruments, though it’s not necessary to perform with a musical note. Over time the concept of noise has changed. The overtone, which makes harmonic resonance, was considered a kind of noise and has been assumed as an issue so that it was theorized scientifically. On the other hand, it was called “angel voice”, and considered to be sacred. Metallic music instruments that contained a lot of overtones are used in the church and the temple. Futurist painter Luigi Russolo had a desire to produce original music with metal and machine. Interestingly, his music called the first noise music featured some imitated metallic sound. Metallic sound is made by humans, and sounds beyond various boundaries – also this material is used as trading, money and weapons. It is different from the noises of thunder, wind, waterfall, rivers, streams and leaves – the natural sounds. Metallic noise has a pretty strong impact on our minds – and it sounds ominous but sacred – in the movie “Oedipus Rex” of Pasolini, the sound of messenger’s bell is sounded with evil information. And in “The Bells” of  Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, the bell has an anxiety and sadness sound. When we think about our condition when we are listening to music, digital technology enables music without noise. Theoretically we can digitally turn all sounds into data and remove the redundant noises. It means, now we listen to the artificial sound. It’s no longer the same kind of music it was a decade ago. In other words, now we can realize the importance of noises playing a role in music because of the development of digital technology.

If we try to reduce more noise, the noise will affect the mind furthermore. The sound doesn’t disappear as long as there is air. As Luigi Russolo wrote, we are in noises life now. But our ears rejoice in it which the ear of an eighteenth-century man never could have withstood, for they are attuned to modern life, rich in all sorts of noises. We’ll be listening to and making music as Pythagoras found the sounds of their anvils were beautiful and harmonious and discovered Pythagorean tuning in the blacksmith at war.(Description is retrieved from https://kinomusicproject.com/).

Photo studio Project – Episode 1

Single channel video, 4 mins 19 secs, HD, colour, sound

Lee shows his special interest in photo studios as it begins to be forgotten by the rapid development of digital media. In the process of Korea’s modernization, the family pictures that hung in photo studios served as the ideal family model, and the photographers who are affiliated with photo studios carried out their role as a medium that embodies the happy family image prescribed by Korean society. 
Lee is still in the process of carrying out this Photo Studio Projects by visiting photo studios and interviewing photographers. His first project involved the reconstruction of an old photo studio named “Yoonoo” —still existing— through photomontage and interviews with the owner of the studio. He hopes to shed new light on photo shops, in general, as a medium that spreads family ideology in Korean society. (Description was retrieved from Arkomedia Distribution Catalogue 2010 – 2011, pp. 60-61).

SOUNDTRACK: Biotope – Temporary Protectorate

Single channel video, 8 mins 9 secs, 16:9, HD, colour, sound

Framing the development of the musical rhythms of Seoul and South Korea, this video attempts to question on how appropriation and postcolonial transition processes are applied to contemporary rhythms. It is motivated by the historical growth of the entertainment industry since the Korean War, the times when traditional culture and Korean style are reinterpreted, as well as the fusion of folk songs or the nation’s traditional instruments blending with Western pop music, and the history of how the Korean government uses popular culture for propaganda purposes through the development of mass media (television and radio stations). This video is part of a research, exploration and appropriation of images and texts from various archives, recorded sources from various collections, as well as an exploration of the rich history that exists in various publications, artefacts, and music and films products made and collected from the 1960s to 1970s in South Korea. Through this video, the artist also wants to protect and reenact the audio-visual recordings like a biotope in which authentic Korean tones refer to busy big cities.

Pencil of Nox

Variable dimensions, 5 pieces

A new set of collaged photographs present the level of various time and space, enabling the imaginations of multi-scalar variations. Heterogeneous visual materials of Computer-Generated and Chroma Key shot montage of objects merge into a polyphonic coexistence with the multi-layered synthetic. As soon as viewers realize that these photographs are not depicting reality, they may begin to search for the intention of the artist and try to find answers to these questions. This is a set of collaged photographs that evoke the stranger proposal of Wolf Wostell, but with less bombastic, symbolizing the artist’s understanding and responses to his environment.The cities depicted here are like the great megalopolises of South Korea and Germany, energetic organic places, whilst so fluid in fact that it appears to evolve before your very eyes. It’s a fluidity that affords the artists’ roughly sketched proposals for “an-architectural” interventions huge freedom—a floppy balloon that could have clings to an apartment block the formidable geometric shape suggests a Matta-Clark cut on the end of the shabby gable. This is a world where anything is possible, a frenetic, sometimes trippy world, a place that lies somewhere at a time between now and then.

Exhibition View

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Esai Pameran


Mediated Resource Migration; Constructed Cultural Biotope

The issue that forms the basis of the artistic practices of Elia Nurvista and Youngho Lee, through which they attempt to draw connecting threads in this exhibition, is an enthusiasm for representing the phenomena of global migration of resources. They have investigated a number of these sources as historical issues, while others have been collected…

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Biografi Seniman

Biografi Seniman

ELIA NURVISTA was born in Yogyakarta and attained a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Indonesian Institute of Art in 2010. She is interested in exploring various art mediums with interdisciplinary approaches and foci on discourses of food. Through food she attempts to examine issues of power, social inequity and global economies. Elia has participated in several artist residencies, including the Koganecho Bazaar Artist in Residence, Yokohama (2012), “Politics of Food” di Delfina Foundation, London (2014), Taipei Artist Village, Taipei (2014), Choreographer’s LAB di Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt am Main (2016), and a one year residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2018-19). In 2015 she initiated a study group focused on food, Bakudapan, with colleagues from various disciplines, especially anthropology and philosophy. Bakudapan is conducted with the principle of mutual sharing based on friendship amongst its members. Along with Bakudapan, Elia researches food in socio-political and cultural contexts. Elia currently lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

YOUNGHO LEE was born in Seoul, Korea Selatan, dan attained his Master’s of Fine Arts from Hochschule für Bildende Künste in 2006. His artistic practice explores the relative advancement of technology and people, whereby the idea of relativity is rooted in a particularly oriental sensibility and perspective. His work takes the form of film installations or multi-screen videos. In his installations, he investigates socio-historical motifs in visual apparatus and restructures critical concepts around phenomena of contemporary media, and the city as a theatre for fantasies that stimulate the senses and play with time and space. His work also tries to identify the connections between (digital and analogue) media and human senses, by manifesting models of synthetic environments. As an artist, he has participated in residency programs at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2018-2019), Seoul Art Space Geumcheon Residency, South Korea (2016-2017), Asia Culture Center/ACT Creator Residency, South Korea (2015-2016) and Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen, NRW, Germany (2011), and participated in several exhibitions including at Kunstforum Floesheim, Anita Becker Galerie, Staedelmuseum, Arko Art Center, Daegu Museum, and the Asia Culture Center. Several of his works are in the permanent collection of the Kunstforum Mainturm, Germany, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea.

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This entry was posted in: "Exhibition", Reconstructed Biotope_


Cemeti – Institut untuk Seni dan Masyarakat (sebelumnya ‘Galeri Cemeti’, kemudian ‘Rumah Seni Cemeti’) adalah platform tertua seni kontemporer di Indonesia, didirikan di Yogyakarta tahun 1988 oleh Mella Jaarsma dan Nindityo Adipurnomo. Cemeti menawarkan platform bagi seniman dan praktisi kebudayaan untuk mengembangkan, menyajikan, dan mempraktikkan aktivitas mereka lewat kolaborasi bersama kurator, peneliti, aktivis, penulis dan performer, serta komunitas lokal di Yogyakarta.

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