ARTIST IN RESIDENCY
For each edition of Biennale Jogja Equator, the Artist in Residency Program was carried out with different agendas and prospects, yet with the same aim – to construct a network of artistic exchange between the partner countries and to create a direct encounter and deeper understanding of the culture in which the artists come to reside for the short time provided. For Biennale Jogja XIV, the Artist in Residency program in the encounter between Indonesia and Brazil, as countries positioned at opposite sides of the world,had particular challenges that brought novel outputs.
Reaching the furthest point on the Equator line, the current edition was faced with financial challenges and geographical distancebeing able to only accommodate the arrival of Brazilian artists in Yogyakarta and not vice-versa. Different with the previous editions where the exchange would begin with the departure of Indonesian artists in the partner country, for this edition it was balanced with the arrival of 3 Brazilian artists for a period of two months, marking the longest residency period under the umbrella of Equator series. With the support ofthe Brazilian Embassy in Indonesia for two of the arrivals, during 18 September and 9 November,3 artists undertook the residency: Rodrigo Braga (b. 1976, Amazon – Brazil), Yuri Firmeza (b. 1982, Sao Paulo, Brazil), and Daniel Lie (b. 1988, Sao Paulo – Brazil). Besides the official residency, this edition also saw the first semi-residency where a participating artist arrived in Yogyakarta for a period of one month to produce works in situ. LourivalCuquinha (b. 1975, Recife – Brazil) was fully supported by the representative gallery to undertake the residency.
According to the seven stages of narration proposed by the curator for the Main Exhibition under the title “STAGE OF HOPELESSNESS”, each artist in residency contributed to the grand narrative in the aesthetic transition from uncertainty to hope, and their resulted artworks were placed accordingly along the three floors of the venue.The residency was shaped in such a way that the artists could grab on to a local aspect they encounter without a preset idea, and include their artistic output in the common efforts to read the psychological condition of the individual and collectiveas inhabitants of the two nations.Moreover, the artistic process developed without the necessity to look at commons between the two countries, and instead each of the artists invited started a complete new research that would bring forth their view on the differentaspects of culture and society experienced in Yogyakarta.
With an artistic focus on the relationship between humans and nature, symbolism of materials, or the way the human body induces or modifies nature, Rodrigo Braga departed from the phenomenon of “pulunggantung” in GunungKidul to research about the subjective aspects related to the local suicides. After conducting interviews with the locals and living in the village, Rodrigo is interested to develop a three dimensional work that would reflect the symbolism of the recurrent elementsof the stories and beliefs of local people such as ropes, meteorite, or head of humans. By investigating the thin line between mysticism and truth, the artist is looking into the subjective, intimate, and perhaps even the poetic aspects of this social phenomenon.
Yuri Firmezais a professor in the division of Cinema and Audiovisual Studies at the Federal University of Ceara, based in Fortaleza. Heparticipated in various film festivals and exhibitions internationally. For Biennale Jogja heresearched the activity of the Merapi volcano in Yogyakarta as a starting point to produce a video work and sound piece in collaboration with a local experimental musician. Yuri has been previously interested in natural catastrophes such as the earthquake in Mexico or the influence of human beings on archeological sites in Rio de Janeiro. Seeing the earth not merely as an object, but as a subject with different dynamics that influence the movements of people, he is interested in reading the documented movements of Merapi Volcano that could be transferred in sound pieces, video, or collaborative performance.
For Daniel Lie the residency has been also an opportunity to “come back to a place he has never been before”, bringing his personal story as the main narrative of the installation work. Daniel’s grandparents have left Semarang, Indonesia in 1958 during the tumultuous political situation against those of Chinese descent. Brought up with memories of a place so far geographically, the encounter brings (back) elements of a past and present. For him, the relations with his ancestors and death are primordial as an effort to understand larger processes of how migration and immigration influenced his current identity. Daniel proposes to bring a personal narrative where its complexity and his own process of understanding can reveal larger socio-political dimensions of human migrations,spirituality and relationships with the past.
As an extra note, besides the three Brazilian residencies, a large numberBrazilian artists participating in the Main Exhibition venue expressed their interest to produce new works for the biennale. Despite the lack of physical encounter, the distance and opposing time zones, the artists have been engaged to communicate the possibilities of new artwork production, collaborations, and display instructions. This new practice of artwork production mediated by the curatorial team defies time and space and can be seen as a novel practice in Jogja Biennale Equator derived fromthe geographical challenges like the impossibility of attendance, or shipping the works. These challenges have turned out to bring even more interesting outputs and a rather intense involvement and participation. (AL)