National Museum

By now perhaps you have experienced various spaces within the museum. You have seen an extension of the National Museum of Indonesia, an institution that aims to conserve culture and safeguard its people’s appreciation towards their diverse cultures and histories.

See what the museum offers for displays—relics and other remnants of the past. These artefacts trigger nostalgia and perhaps the possibility of the coming days ahead. Even more, these relics are physical reminders of the past, of the abandoned and of the changed.

Walking through these displays, we encounter signs of destruction and the possibility of new beginnings. Tracing wisdom and knowledge of the past might provide you a better understanding of your calling such as proposed by Okka. Or you may consider another proposition by Onejoon where he shows how we can build our own individual futures from what was abandoned. Yet another future might be in the air as you discover what Alfi investigate after her journey through the ruins of a temple.


National Museum

Does she seem familiar to you? You might have passed her doppelganger about 10 minutes away from here. Nadiah took her here, to this museum, on this occasion, to boldly remind us that women like her did move, and that their movement reverberates in our lives today. Have you ever thought of who she is? Or who is she representing?

Located in a roundabout that we call Taman Tugu Tani, there’s the monument commissioned by Sukarno to a Russian sculptor duo. Curiously, the monuments that Onejoon researched upon, miniaturized, and problematized, are located in various African countries. Since 1970s, these sculptures of these monuments have been made by an artist studio in North Korea. To a certain extent, we might say that all these national monuments look the same, and somewhat feel the same.

Song Ta’s readaptation of the Chinese national anthem also feels familiar. Its lyrics were famously restored and accepted as the official version of the anthem in 1982 after a shift in values during the tumultuous decades prior. It may resonate to many of you as earlier this year there were long debates about the fact that the Indonesian national hymn sung in school and official occasions was apparently never in its full version.


National Museum

In such a building, how do you know if you have seen all the works? Are you halfway through or just at the beginning? These are some reasons that we are here to be with you, so that you can catch your breath and ponder a bit more….

You can also take a break in the canteen here. Nothing fancy as it is the employee’s canteen, but you surely will find all the essentials. What are the essentials, anyway? Instant noodle would most likely be an option! Quick meal, satisfying for the tongue, warm food, cures hunger; all in one go! Health? That may be another conversation. But, hey, there will be some herbal drinks available there by the Rempah Embassy. In such a rainy season, we all need a bit of warmth anyway.

Speaking of warmth, Tamarra offers us a sanctuary; a metaphoric rebirth, a second, third, forth chance if you may. A place to reconnect to oneself if one will. Further in, you will encounter bani’s ongoing investigation in the language of intimacy to speak of our present and future relationships with ubiquitous personal digital devices such as our mobile phone and laptop.


National Museum

Here you are, about to wander around a museum. Roaming into spaces that might bring you to various stories of how human’s ideals turn into a civilization, and encounter actors with super power. In Song Ta’s work, you will see a group of well-dressed young male heroes leading the people towards a brighter future, a critique of the process of hero-making in our mass media and contemporary political landscape. Meanwhile, Futuwonder takes you into the stories of female artists rooted back to the era of Bali’s landscape idealisation.

Celia-Yunior’s work contains water that was calculated based on the amount that was preserved in two particular reservoirs built in Indonesia and Cuba during the Cold War. Beyond its practical function, a reservoir as an infrastructure project also reflects human attempt to contain and administrate natural resources.

At the same time you have observed the multiple effects of these actions, would one version of civilization create spaces for different narratives? What might come as the consequence of one’s big idea? As an effort to convey the varied experiences, Kenji’s work moves as you hop on the bicycle while wondering how energy could be generated by human power.


National Awakening Museum

The cafeteria lures people for different reasons. Some may be thirsty, hungry, needing some space to digest the recent experiences in the museum, or simply waiting for a friend to catch up. That said, the cafeteria also attracts a particular group of artists with a certain kind of practice, the actively engaging one. Or, dare we say, the non-representational one.

There are infiltrated consumable products by Rempah Embassy in this cafetaria, if you can find them. The embassy collaborated with popular merchandiser Kamengski, Kandura who meticulously designed and crafted ceramic cups, and, lo and behold, one of the oldest jamu (traditional herbs) cafes in town, Suwe Ora Jamu. Back in their hometown, they are known for always popping up in concerts and such, and for doing pilgrimages tracing the now rare local herbs.

Not only that you will find the new publishing platform Ufuk’s presence from here towards the toilet area, you would also find them in our website, www.jakartabiennale.id where they are expanding the exhibition space beyond the physical realm. The exploration is also part of their endeavor to expand on the limits of writing histories by providing a publishing platform.


National Awakening Museum

You are halfway through our exhibition now! And you are right at the place where it will seem as if we are giving you too many options and making too many assumptions. This panel is on the left side, so we assume you’d read this first before the next. If you are here for a break, please read the next panel first.

If you’re here to continue your wandering, there are three buildings that you could go through from here. One has the works of Jimged and Xuân Hạ who looked closer into where and how particular cuisines were made, prepared, served, along with the histories around it. Have you ever thought of how certain ingredients ended up in your day-to-day delicacies and where they actually came from?

Another one is Krabstadt Education Center, a multifunctional learning hall that is designed from a pretzel, a common foundational food where they are at now. KEC’s space is regularly used by other participants of the biennale for workshops and educational programs.

Finally, one of Vincent’s collaborations with Rahmad Larae, Virdinda La Ode Achmad & M. Junaidi Dide where you can overhear them sharing while speculating ‘facts’ of the romanticized colonial memories of Banda Islands.


National Awakening Museum

Did you just arrive? Hi! Glad to see you out here! We are here to be with and around you, if you wish. If you came from other parts of the museum, you would have either enjoyed us as a break or you wouldn’t even have read us to this point. Anyway,…

In thinking about ESOK, we thought of what is to come. Rizki and Erika, whose works you will encounter in this direction, questioned, confronted, appropriated, and challenged existing narratives that are understood as history of modernity and progress. How does one be part of these narratives? Or what kind of occasions or events qualify as history? Who gets to decide? Where are we in this process? What are the genders of these figures who feature in this narrative? Is history a singular narrative?

How does a narrative occur and manifest in our everyday life as proposed by Praneet? Like Erika, what if we see a series of facts and events differently? When we are granted access to multiple stories, how do we recompose our reality like Rizki did? Do we have a chance in updating, if not rewriting, what may be understood as our past? What would it contribute to what is to come? What will change, move, shift, travel, adapt, migrate along?


National Awakening Museum

Through her installation, Phaptawan takes us into an adaptation of the divine cosmos within the space of and surrounding the sculpture and painting of a mythical Thai heroine. This work  questions the omission and marginalisation of heroic women in mainstream mythology.

What was that? What are we seeing in this museum? Well, museums are where public histories are being told. Sometimes factually, sometimes lyrically. But, in all cases, pretty convincingly. They are historical monuments that are built for us to embody as they are believed to celebrate foundational values for a progressive, modern future, together. Wait, together? With whom?

To begin with, maybe, with each other, as you will soon see in Anchan and Tamarra’s conversation. Or with the legends, folklore, tales, histories —if you may— that we have inherited, embodied and lived on, in spite of our differences. We are all humans, afterall. Or with those whose works we feel and experience yet who rarely have the chance to hear our gratitude; the hundreds of individuals to whom many arts and cultural events owe their achievements to that Cecil & Anggra have made staged in front of us. After walking through Anusapati’s all-wooden classroom, can you imagine children who have only experienced school through the Internet? What would togetherness mean for them?


National Awakening Museum

Left you went! Hello! We will occasionally appear in case you need some sort of insight amidst your wanderings. How have you been? Never in our minds have we imagined that we’d survive for months and months behind our screens. When was the last time we played a board game with friends? What happened to land, forests, trees, nature, people living away from urban cities, and people around us, on earth?

Various endings of Maharani’s board game might take you back to where you begin and, hopefully, rethink. What were the decisions that I made that took me there? Ines’ boutique allows us to extend the fights of several heroines, simply by wearing these t-shirts to places. These female land defenders have strived for the rights for a better living environment for many of us, if not all. The apple trees, though… Where are they from? Would they still be around the botany that Miljohn’s time machine is rendering to us, bewildering us?

Are these environments for real, real? Do we really see, hear, treat our environment as mere resources or assertions of geopolitics as Köken’s installation suggests? Can we think of a time when we might have met and trusted each other as Maha has woven? Be it in the past, now, or in the coming days….

Yori Antar

Yori Antar​

Yori Antar’s works show a dedication to ethnic and traditional architecture in the way he conserves Indonesian design, and in the way he empowers communities. Starting his career as a modern architect, Yori takes inspiration from tradition, embracing traditional aesthetics and function, winning him various awards for his role in highlighting local values.