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UK/ID Festival returns with highlights on Indonesian diversity

Jossa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, October 13, 2018  /  07:54 am
UK/ID Festival returns with highlights on Indonesian diversity

The British Council’s annual UK/ID Festival returns for its final edition of the three-year UK/ID program. (Shutterstock/File)

The British Council’s annual UK/ID Festival returns for its final edition of the three-year UK/ID program.

Running from Oct. 11 to Nov. 4, this year’s festival highlights three main themes under the central theme of “Breaking Boundaries” and they are creative technology, biodiversity, as well as disability and the arts.

British Council Indonesia director Paul Smith explained that the boundaries mentioned in the theme referred to the creative relationships between Indonesia and the United Kingdom, as well as both nations’ diversity.

“We are breaking boundaries by celebrating and understanding the diversity in this country in obvious areas, like gender, ethnicity, the fabulous ethnic spread of the archipelago,”

“But we’re also focusing this year on one very special area of diversity. We are celebrating the different creative abilities of different people under the diverse idea of ‘diff-ability’; that concept where everybody has a different and diverse kind of creative capacity,” Smith said, adding that the concept of diff-ability will be further explored in the newly launched Festival Bebas Batas (Borderless Festival).

Inspired by the biennial Unlimited Festival, Bebas Batas is billed as the first arts festival focusing on art by people with disabilities. The festival will run from Oct. 12 to 29 at the National Gallery of Indonesia, Central 

British Council Indonesia director of arts and creative industry Adam Pushkin said Bebas Batas was a priority for the council because “no other country in the world is anywhere near perfect when it comes to disability rights”.

“Britain has a lot of problems, but one of the things we have been good at the last 40 years, and especially in the last 10 years, has been creating an ecosystem for artists who are disabled, and creating opportunities for disabled people to use art to share experiences and perspectives to break boundaries,” Pushkin said.

Bebas Batas opens with a performance by Indonesian dance troupe CANdoDance along with London-based inclusive dance company Candoco, which performed for the first time in Indonesia.

Highlights from Bebas Batas include Jakarta’s first deaf rave with Troi “DJ Chinaman” Lee, an installation on identity by Caglar Kimyoncu in collaboration with Abdi Karya and Pamflet.

Indonesian artist Hana Alfikih, known as Hana Madness, will also showcase In Chains, an installation about individuals with mental disabilities, including those who experience pasung (shackling).

Along with Bebas Batas, the 2018 UK/ID Festival also contributes to the closing of Wallace Week 2018 — the council’s yearly initiative celebrating British naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace and his findings — on Oct. 17 through a performance by indie rock band British Sea Power, Indonesian electronic duo Bottlesmoker and DJ/environmentalist Ninda Felina.

After the closing performance, British Sea Power will be joined by Bottlesmoker and Greenpeace to record natural sounds from the Indonesian forests, which will be showcased at Brightspot Market on Oct. 27.

In the field of fashion, British womenswear brand Teatum Jones will showcase a collaboration with Indonesian label Sean Sheila at Jakarta Fashion Week on Oct. 21.

Finally, the festival will end with a segue to The Other Festival, which celebrates creative technology done in collaboration with Double Deer Records, which will be held at Hotel Monopoli from Nov. 2 to 4.

The Other Festival will feature a lineup of performances and installations, ranging from Indonesian electronic duo Kimokal’s collaboration with Chris Massey of Sprechen Music to an installation by WAFT Lab and Robbie Thomson, where a two-stroke engine is hacked to play electronica.