13_1130 post 30
Doing Nothing, installation view in SIASAT Jakarta Biennale 2013, Davy Linggar, via IndoArtNow
It’s officially been a month. Honestly, after thinking that this ‘residency’ was going to be a piece of cake before it started, I never thought I could last this long when it did. I was wrong, not ‘working’ is tough. A lot of questions + restraints.
Although I’m not ‘working’, doesn’t mean I’m not working. In my standard, I’ve been working my ass off this month, my second month back in Jakarta (this time finally ok re-calling the city as my home again). I might not necessarily produce (art)‘work’, but I’ve been writing, teaching, reviewing, speaking + meeting a bunch of people who forces me to think more. I can imagine some of my friends back in gradschool who would roll their eyes so far up to the back of their head, mumbling, “As if you have not been overthinking everything already.”
Finally, I have a little time to really sit back, relax, + compose this post. I’m using this last post of the month to make what I consider as a proper report. Reflecting back to my original ‘proposal’ for hiatus, which a lot of people translate into ‘doing nothing’, I decided this morning to use this framing in order to put what this month brings into writing. So, for better or worse, here we go…
On teaching: there is two types of approach I see in education as I know it—the first is to utilize + the second is to create. I have seen more of the first approach lately, where one goes into education route, treating it as a means to an end. That end could be her personal agendas (career, research subject, other interests, money, or even sex), or more altruistic purposes, but students, for this approach, are always seen as subjects—of research, of cheap labor, of minions—in whose hands the teachers’ intention will bear objective results.
In my experience yesterday, I saw the possibility of the other approach, where actually the school (together with the students within) as the work itself. Education is not means anymore, it takes all the stages (back-center-+-front) as a unity. There might be no end in this approach, it’s a constant work-in-progress, as the factory never stops receiving raw materials, different everytime, who don’t only come for free, these materials even pay the factory to process them! The job of the factory then is to constantly reinvent the processing based on many more parameters external from these raw materials. Pedagogy then takes the center stage here, focusing more on the how (then the what + why of the first approach) questions of education.
Please note that I’m thinking out loud here. I don’t have any qualitative judgment (yet) on this matter.
On writing (or more specific, Karbon): I might have to put a break on my writing. I am nowhere near becoming a good writer (in whatever genre there is), I still have to learn a lot (a reason I cannot wait until January, when Karbon will start giving workshops for editors + also future writers), but in order to sustain this effort, there’s been talk about Karbon changing its operating models + we (at least me + the head editor) must take our function as schemers more seriously. It might means big reduction of properly written pieces for both of us (I don’t count editorials + curatorials as a proper piece—they’re vital + sometimes are the most important thing in the world, but they’re still supportive).
We want to be able to see the bigger picture. We’re planning to broaden the agency of this journal into a platform, undertaking the home- + dirty-works a lot of media in Indonesia are not willing to take. In our view, there is two main sections of writing in this country: academic + journalism. One is on its ivory tower smoking their fancy cigarettes, while the other is busy chasing bombasts while being continously chasen by deadlines. The gap between this upper- + under-world is being left wide open. We are willing to fill that gap. How? You still need to stay tune to find out.