(Un)learning from Jakarta

Marie-Laure Allain Bonilla

Starting with the appointment of Indonesian artist group ruangrupa, based in Jakarta, to the artistic direction of Documenta 15 as a nodal point of reflection, this seminar aims to examine the functions of the artist as curator and of collective curating, nowadays cliché of curatorial practices, and of intercultural relationships in a postcolonial capitalist globalized context. Focusing on the notion of unlearning, as articulated by decolonial thought, we will come back to the history of Documenta and the activities of ruangrupa while also looking at other exhibition projects curated by artists groups. We will take an in-depth look at the Indonesian collective's proposal for Documenta 15 which revolves around the idea of lumbung (rice barn), a community rural infrastructure in Indonesia. How to adapt local strategies to another context and on a globalized scale? How will the principles of community, equitable distribution and resource building be embodied in Documenta 15? What do ruangrupa’s work methodologies have to bring to Western curatorial epistemologies?

The purpose of this seminar is to conduct an interview with one or more of the members of ruangrupa and of the Documenta 15 curatorial team which will then be published in ISSUE (to be confirmed). The aim is to become familiar with research and the constitution of a primary source: the interview. This will involve learning to gather material about a topic, prepare a series of questions, conduct an interview and then follow the entire editing phase until the publication. This seminar is therefore intended to be a collective and collaborative workspace throughout the year and requires continuous commitment. The attendance is limited to 10 students. A trip to Kassel is planned for June 2022, providing favorable sanitary conditions. The seminar will be held in French and English.