Hacking Domesticity

Co-curators: Alia Swastika and Jongeun Lim


Korean Pavilion-Konnect ASEAN exhibition is tailored as a space to bring together ASEAN and South Korean artists in their endeavor to respond to the ideas of history and social movement, which serve as one of the underlying frameworks for Biennale Jogja Equator series. Through the encounter of the curators, both of them agreed on the urgency to bring together female artists from both regions in order to learn from each other’s women history and experiences in different cultural contexts. How do cultural contexts, natural landscapes, faiths, and modernity influence women’s life? How do shifts in social, political, and economic realms as well as postcolonial circumstances and war situation bring about major changes in women’s roles in public? How do women encounter new situations in response to ecology, colonialism, technology, and so forth?

“Hacking Domesticity” is a presentation of works by 7 artists coming from Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and South Korea, reflecting on how these artists look at their respective historical contexts of the environment in which they live and thrive, while also re-examine the anthropocene discourse in the context of the pandemic and notion of survival. By hacking the domestic realm, the artists consolidate a strategy to resist against the established and the dominant within the status quo. Domesticity does not only refer to the personal realm, but also the context of regional, city, country borders or geopolitical imagination. The term “Hacking” also reflects the relation between human and technology, in its broader sense, including the critical position of human in interaction with technology.

The Indonesian artists explored a wide range of theme, from the idea of identity and origin in response to the politics of location, relationship between women’s thoughts-and-experiences and environment-and-nature, to domestic violence and women’s authority of their own bodies. The Thai artist re-exhibited her work portraying the life of moslem women in southern region of Thailand in the middle of political tension and conflict. Meanwhile, the Cambodian artist captured women in their relation with urban landscape and culture, as well as how they have been persevering in their pursuit of safe space for women that is not very much concern in rapid development of the city these days. The South Korean artists delved into issues ranging from the masculine body and art history in Korea, to the social landscape repressing women’s body in general. Artists from Korea, as they manifest their life and existence as female artists in their work, have been honing their critical thinking concerning body, tradition, custom, labor and gender. This rattles the seemingly impenetrable barrier surrounding domesticity and expands it.

The exhibition aimed to bridge relationship and efforts of the female artists and activists from both regions, learning from each other’s experiences. Thereupon, they might initiate a collective production of knowledge on women’s life and experiences, particularly in the context of art. In addition to exhibition, monthly discussions were held to build dialogues on different issues of contemporary art practices by employing gender and feminism perspectives.