In less than 2 weeks, documenta fifteen will be officially opened in Kassel, Germany, from 18 June – 25 September 2022. ruangrupa, a Jakarta-based collective was appointed as the curator—the first Asian curator to be precise—of this world renowned art exhibition.
For those who are not familiar with the art world, documenta is considered as one of the most prestigious high-quality global art event and even holds special position or on par with other world class biennales, such as the Venice Biennale or the São Paulo Art Biennial.
Judging by the scale of the project, it’s only natural if the collective has prepared for this project since 2019. The official announcement of ruangrupa appointed as the curator itself was on 22 February 2019 by the general director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann.
The concept ruangrupa has prepared for documenta 15 is “Lumbung”. A lumbung – or rice barn – is a place to store communally-produced rice as a common resource for future use. If documenta was launched with the noble intention to heal European war wounds, this concept will expand that motive in order to heal today’s injuries, especially ones rooted in colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchal structures. (read more about the concept here)
So in short, it’s a communal work where curators, technologists and economists, as well as other initiatives and collectives in different corners of the world are working closely for this exhibition. These collaborators are then expected to employ their respective strategies in reality by grafting their existing practices, to then be staged in Kassel in 2022.
Now, here’s the exciting part.
I’m excited to share my involvement in documenta fifteen as editor for both Majalah lumbung and lumbung Kios publication. But since the work for lumbung Kios is still ongoing, I will only share about majalah lumbung. The use of Indonesian words for ‘majalah, ‘lumbung’, and ‘kios’ is intentional.
(Read also why I decided to take this project some times ago.)
As part of the exhibition, documenta fifteen is publishing two issues of a magazine that hone in on the core idea of the exhibition – collective working. The lumbung component in the title refers to the communal rice barn where Indonesian farmers store surplus crops to share. The two issues, Harvesting and Sharing, will be published together in one volume to accompany the exhibition.
In total, there are 26 short stories and features by leading journalists, researchers, and writers from Indonesia, majalah lumbung touches on topics such as cosmology or architecture, food or eating together, thereby forming a foundation for the content featured at documenta fifteen. The individual contributions are conveyed through numerous illustrations and an attractive layout in magazine quality.
I worked along Putra Hidayatullah who also one of the lumbung members as Indonesian editors for this magazine. Each of us took one edition to work on, me with the ‘Harvest’ and him with ‘Sharing’. Then I continued the work as the editor and proofreader for the Indonesian and English languages. Zamira Loebis, a lecturer/ interpreter/ journalist/ TIME correspondent acted as the translator team leader for this magazine.
It was a pleasure to worked along great minds and amazing contributors from all over Indonesia, including one of my long-time idol in the field of social, art, and culture, Prof. Melani Budianta, M.A, Ph.D.
My favourite writing was from Rahmadiyah Tria Gayatri, a cross-media artist, producer, activist, and disaster literacy activist. Her piece is about collective movements after conflict and natural disasters in Central Sulawesi. She shared a haunting experience as a conflict and natural disaster survivor, but somehow managed to craft it beautifully and in a poetic way.
So if you’re in Germany or will be travel to west Europe around the same time of documenta fifteen will be held, make sure to pay a visit to this 100-days of world class art exhibition in Kassel and buy a copy of majalah lumbung!
The magazine is part of the four publications that are centered around documenta fifteen principles – like collectivity, sustainability, and shared resources – not only in terms of content, but also in their production process, appearance, and mode of distribution.
Majalah lumbung is published together with Hatje Cantz as partner publishing house and will be available in Indonesian, English, and German.
Approx. 320 p. | approx. 200 ill. | 20 x 26 cm | Softcover
€ 28,00 [D], € 32,00 [A] | ISBN 978-3-7757-5285-5 | June 2022