What Bungalows Can Tell, at 900mdpl (Indonesia) and ISCP (New York)

900mdpl, Kaliurang

In October 2019, I participated in the research and exhibition project of 900mdpl in Indonesia. 900mdpl is an extensive site-specific art project in Kaliurang (close to Jogjakarta), a village on the southern slope of Merapi volcano. The project is initiated and curated by LIR (Mira Asriningtyas and Dito Yuwono).

During colonial rule Kaliurang became known as a holiday retreat for the Dutch. At an altitude of approximately 900m, the perfect cool and refreshing climate offered a pleasant alternative to the hectic and sweltering city life. In the 1920s and 30s over 50 bungalows were build of which the majority is still used today for holiday purposes. During my residency period at 900mdpl I researched and photographed together with local collaborator Brigita Murti all colonial bungalows of Kaliurang resulting in a photo/text essay and a video work that I presented in the exhibition “900mdpl: Hantu-Hantu Seribu Percakapan” (Ghosts of a Thousand Conversations).

What Bungalows Can Tell (11:33), film stills:

900mdpl is projected to be a biennial platform of a site-specific art project, offering space of possibilities while assisting on preservation and transmission of transgenerational memory. The project’s primary aim is to create an alternative archive of the site by collecting myth, local wisdom, stories, and alternative history of the site through the memory of the people. 900mdpl consists of two parts: first, the residency period resulting in different solo projects by each of the artists; second, the project presentation of all artists at scattered sites around Kaliurang where wider audience will be guided on the exhibition walking route as a spatial practice —turning the site into a space of experience.

Installation view at 900mdpl, Hantu-Hantu Seribu Percakapan:

Photographs 1, 3, 5 and 6 by Kurniadi Widodo

ISCP, New York

In October 2019, I participated in the group show Transient Museum of a Thousand Conversations, curated by LIR and hosted by the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York.

The project at ISCP, Transient Museum of a Thousand Conversations is an adaptation of 900mdpl. LIR invites artists every two years to undertake fieldwork in Kaliurang, resulting in solo projects at various sites throughout the village.  Their projects are later reinstalled together in a temporary museum of oral history as a prototype for the future MUKKA (Community Museum of Kaliurang) envisioned by LIR. Selected artworks from this ongoing project will be presented at ISCP alongside additional new work by local artists from Kaliurang. At ISCP, LIR’s intervention will create an expansive portrait of the landscape, people and society of Kaliurang, by focusing on subjects such as botanical specimens, alternative histories of Dutch colonization, traumatic memory, national identity, culinary heritage, social space and storytelling.

Artists included in the exhibition are Edita Atmaja, Ibnu Banu Harli, Ahmad Barokah, Lala Bohang, Arief Budiman, Fyerool Darma, Paoletta Holst & Brigita Murti, Mella Jaarsma, Kelompok Fotografi Kaliurang, Agung Kurniawan, Jompet Kuswidananto, Maryanto, Dimaz Maulana, Anggun Priambodo, Mark Salvatus, Yudha Sandy and Rara Sekar.

Installation view: