Seeing the map differently
An essential requirement for surviving in a metropolitan area is having the capability to master the area’s map.
But contrary to the common assumption, “mastering the map” is not solely comprised of having a mere understanding of geographical representations on paper. It also requires having an understanding of mapping the physical characteristics of an area using a variety of viewpoints; for example, from a sociological or a psychological one.
Three young Indonesian artists, Prilla Tania, Bagaswaro Aryaningtyas and Ricky Janitra, explore some of these viewpoints in their art, on display at the RURU Gallery in an exhibition titled “DRIFT: Pameran Seni Multimedia” in Tebet, Jakarta. The exhibition is the second of the Ruangrupa initiative’s six exhibitions for the year.
“Drift signifies ‘journeying’ or ‘traveling’. Through this exhibition, we hope to re-map the characteristics of the cities’ — Jakarta and Bandung’s — physical circulations through technology, specifically through geographical mapping,” said exhibition coordinator Indra Ameng in the exhibition’s informational leaflet.
Prior to entering the gallery, one might find it quite difficult to imagine the kinds of artwork Ameng was describing. After all, the concept of integrating art with technology has only recently been widely explored.
The exhibition space and the gallery in general is modest. The building could be easy to miss since it resembles its neighboring houses. But, like they say, do not judge a book by its cover.
Televisions, laptops and multimedia projectors are spread around the exhibition space. These “art mediums” are displayed, modified and combined together to provide visitors a unique taste of the artists’ and their inspirations’ daily journeys around the streets of two of the most densely populated cities in Indonesia.
In Skala, for example, Bagasworo traced back some of Jakarta’s “jalan-jalan tikus” or road shortcuts that he had driven through on his motorcycle. The piece depicts the usual voyage of a Jakarta-based motorcycle driver.
His piece utilizes a projector that transmits a graphic illustration of South Jakarta’s streets and self-recorded videos of a man driving with a helmet. It also employs handmade wooden warning signs such as “Hati-hati banyak anak kecil!” (Watch out for children) and “Awas! Banyak maling” (Beware of thieves) as final touches.
Though inadvertently, through this final detail Skala conveys several important pieces of road information to its non-motorcycle driving audience.
Another interesting piece is Prilla Tania’s Jejak Harian Keluarga Ina. On a freshly painted white wall, Prilla painted a Bandung family’s average daily journey — from 3:40 a.m. to 6 p.m. — around the streets of Bandung’s coast, including those located in the subdistricts of Antapani, Gunung Batu and Ujungberung.
She used a different color and line pattern to mark the pathways in which the family members separate and reunite with one another.
Prilla’s piece is interactive. Visitors are allowed, and are even encouraged, to mark their own journeys on top of the piece using whiteboard erasers dipped in colored paint. At the exhibition’s private opening night, several visitors had already enthusiastically made their marks on that very wall.
By the end of the exhibition, the wall’s original white paint will no longer be identifiable.
But that is the point of Prilla’s piece. And the exhibition’s too.
“We would like for our artists and gallery visitors to share the experiences of their cities, focusing especially on the streets and landscapes,” said curator Mahardika Yudha.
“DRIFT: Pameran Seni Multimedia”
Until June 16, except Sunday
Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam Raya No. 6
Jakarta, Indonesia 12820