Monday, July 29, 2013

New Media Art in Southeast Asia: a review of a seminar at ITB

For my review see here:
Roy Voragen, "New Media Art in Southeast Asia," in Tempo Magazine, July 14, 2013, pp52-53.

change in 7 days

change in 7 days

Adhya Ranadireksa
Deden Hendan Durahman
Henrycus Napitsunargo
Sari Asih

SB2013: if the world changed… – National Library of Singapore

“you have to be knowingly unsure,
to seek certitude within the uncertain
and not pursue the uncertain with false certitude.”
Ho Rui An, Several Islands

Give us a photograph, or two, or four, seven is good too – and we depict tales of a city, a city with her bricks and whispers, her raindrops and candies, her meandering river and sailors, her brush strokes, her cacophonous soundtrack, her unsung love affairs, her coffee and cigarettes at the crack of dawn, her green papayas and its odor, her hopes and ghosts, gentle and wicked…

A city we remember. Cities are not merely backdrops to the stories we tell each other over and over again, cities are the fiber that give these stories the much needed bones – and a pulsation, too. A jazzy pulse, or one of gamelan, or heavy metal, or tango, or hybrids – so many cities, so many rhythms.

 To remember is not the same as to commemorate – archives of the city are amnesiac zombie entities of our memory. Graveyards are the sites where memories as we knew them come to an end. Numbered, catalogued, put in neat folders and cabinets in underground basements, our memories are stored to collect dust and fungus. A memory with a pulse is a mobile memory, told or shown to others – countless times given manifold shapes and forms.

With your help, we want to wake up the archives of the city, the city of Singapore. The archive, then, will be turned into a library of visual memory of an ever-changing city, rapid but meandering changes. We want to collect and show the good, the bad & the ugly, the delicious and wreckage, the uncanny and repressed, happiness and joy of you, you and you too, and us as well.

Archival materials are re-animated, opened-up partially, given a second life in our library change in 7 days at the National Library of Singapore during SB2013 (and perhaps long after there or elsewhere when we are no longer present). Visual materials are retrieved from the city’s multiple archives to give you a chance to connect and re-connect, browse through, borrow memories, point out to one and another stories thought long lost and recount them anew.

We also invite you to submit images of you and your city. Wedding photos, graduation party photos, photos of you with your family or friends and etcetera… And we hope that your personal photos will be the many jigsaw pieces of a gigantic puzzle that shows a biography of your city of Singapore, a city, like any other city, with its great many stories and ambiguities. The gamut of these memoirs cannot be overseen in a single breath.

Moreover, we – Adhya Ranadireksa, Deden Hendan Durahman, Henrycus Napitsunargo and Sari Asih, all of us are from Bandung, Indonesia – respond in individual, artistic ways to a selection we each make of the visual materials salvaged from the archives and the images you kindly submitted. In so doing, we weave our threads into this city, your city as our temporary base, a brief home from which we return with memories, our memento mori on our homecoming to Bandung, a city with a different beat.

Cities, certainly, are only built metaphorically in 7 days. However, 7 days is ample time to spectacularly wipe out an entire metropolis with its sinners, specters and samurais of the face of the earth. 7 days is also plentiful of time to alter our imagined city. Images can move us – move us to built a city, multiple cities out of our memory to remember, to be committed to, jointly…

(I was asked by the four artists to ghostwrite the above text for their project at SB2013.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The threads of an ongoing love affair with your art

Occasionally – when fortunate, with effortless effort – we experience a poetic encounter with a work of art and this experience, in turn, lingers in our memory for times to come and unexpectedly can reflexively pop-up again into our thoughts while doing something completely mundane like sipping hot coffee in the morning. The experience of art and the memory of it can morph us – become part of our body, part of who we are or who we want to become. We are all art thieves. Our memory takes care of that; we (unwillingly) take home the unexpected, exquisiteness as well as the uncanny – a rough brush stroke here, a fine pen line there. For this, art needs to travel. For this, we need to travel – and leave our comfort zone behind, go back & forth to exhibition spaces and meet time after time works of art. 

(From my preface for the catalog of Besti Rahulasmoro and S.E. Dewantoro’s exhibition at Bentara Budaya, Yogyakarta, curated by Kerensa Johnston and produced by DarahRouge.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bandung Network 10

Jason Wee - a Singapore-based artist, curator and founder of Grey Projects - is in Bandung for two days as a Roma Arts guest.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Contemporary Arts Bandung

About Contemporary Arts Bandung
Roma Arts founded Contemporary Arts Bandung in 2013. Contemporary Arts Bandung is an online portal – it includes Facebook ( and Twitter ( – to promote everything related to contemporary arts and culture in Bandung: exhibitions, workshops, seminars, talks, etc.

About Roma Arts
Roma Arts, founded in 2011, promotes passionate, ambitious and focused ways of producing, presenting, experiencing, and writing about the diverse forms of the arts. Roma Arts gives keen attention to art practices, forms of presentation, experiencing the arts, and discourses on art. In 2012, Roma Arts initiated a residency program to foster creative person-to-person contacts. For all Roma Arts programs – talks, exhibitions, workshops, etc. – collaborations are cultivated with art spaces. For more information on the residency program and documentation of past residents see here:

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