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Digital Design Weekend: when art meets technology, science

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, November 20, 2016  /  05:59 pm
Digital Design Weekend: when art meets technology, science

Inspired by the annual Digital Design Weekend at the V&A Museum, London, the British Council Indonesia's Digital Design Weekend is running from from Nov. 19 to 20 in Kota Tua, West Jakarta. One of the exhibitions is the "Pop-up Synth Party" (above). (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

As part of its UK/ID Festival 2016 which ends on Dec. 10, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, the British Council Indonesia, is holding the first Digital Design Weekend. The event is also inspired by the annual Digital Design Weekend event at the V&A Museum, London. Aiming to be the place for British and Indonesian artists to collaborate, this public event is running from Nov. 19 to 20 in four spots in Kota Tua, West Jakarta: Historia Café, Aroma Nusantara, Kedai Pos and Batavia Market.

Under the themes of digital culture, sustainability, as well as arts and disability, the artists encourage visitors to participate in their exhibition. One of the exhibits is a collaboration between community-based cross-disciplinary organization Lifepatch from Yogyakarta and Indonesia’s profitable social enterprise MakeDoNia Littlebits Chapter. Titled Pesta Synthesiser (Pop-up Synth Party), the visitors can create music from simple, existing materials.

One of their artworks is a classic 8-bit Mixtape. Shaped like a cassette, it can be used as a music player, and is thus able to be directly connected to speakers or further modified to create new sounds. “We are using SD card technology, so people can exchange songs just like mixtapes back in the day – but it is digital,” said member of Lifepatch Ade to The Jakarta Post. “The songs are actually made from an algorithm, one formula can create 10 songs.” Those who are interested in electronic DIY, chiptune sounds, and algorithmic music are encouraged to visit the booth at Kedai Pos.

James Diamond (right) and John Cappello (middle) from The Restart Project try to to repair one of their visitor's unused electronic objects.(JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Meanwhile, at Warung Reparasi (Café Repair), visitors are encouraged to repair their electronic waste with the help of London-based social enterprise The Restart Project and Indonesia’s MakeDoNia. Visitors can bring their electronic waste, such as vacuum cleaners, rice cookers, smartphones and clocks, to be repaired here.

“One of the problems is that the electronic objects are not designed to be repaired, they’re designed to be failed and then replaced,” said James Diamond from The Restart Project who has repaired electronic waste for four years, adding that repairing the objects can be complicated.

“You need to have the right tools, the right skills, a lot of people don’t have the confidence to try fixing things for themselves or they don’t know where to get something fixed. So they just buy a new one.” James also hopes Indonesia will have groups who want to launch a similar initiative. Their booth is located at the Batavia Market.

(Read also: Creativity, collaborations among young artists at uk/id Festival)

Indonesian artist Kiswinar (middle, wearing black t-shirt) shows the result of his Cardboard Corner workshop at Aroma Nusantara.(JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Visitors can also try other participatory exhibitions. They can send a text message to be transformed into morse code out in the sea in Someone Can Find Me (Remix) x Return to Sender at Historia Café, understand blindness in Notes on Blindness Virtual Reality (VR) at the second floor of Historia Café, experience the true story of artist Jane Gauntlett, her friends, strangers, as well as her epilepsy through VR in In My Shoes: Dancing with Myself at Kedai Pos, join the creative workshop with artist Kiswinar in Cardboard Corner at Aroma Nusantara and explore an aerial spatial mapping with a drone by Irendra Radjawali at Historia Café.

In Someone Come Find Me (Remix) x Return to Sender, the visitors's text message (right) is transformed into morse code out in the sea and it can be monitored (left).(JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The director of arts and creative industries from the British Council, Adam Pushkin, said they were mainly looking for areas in which British and Indonesian artists, particularly younger, contemporary artists, had similarities and the potential to work together. And they found that in the realm of digital culture.

“But until a few months ago they had no communication with each other, so our job is trying to help them to get together to learn about each other's work and to help them work together,” he said, adding that there is no particular order in which visitors should explore the exhibition. However, each of the artist has their own workshop time, therefore visitors are advised to read the brochure for schedule and location information. (asw)