The fine art market in singapore and indonesia have always been actively looking out to the west, reflecting and reacting to bigger powers like art basel, frieze, documenta, the venice biennale etc. Some parts of the market definitely relies on white people's money to be justified / priced higher, seen higher, both monetarily and on the social ladder. Academically, i think there is also a desire to be acknowledged by the big boyos / western philosophy daddies. So it’s very natural for us that whatever drama that happens in here is heavily correlated to what yall are doing, which now i realise is sadly a one-sided affair XD

Hi everyone!! this is dika and lija, we are from jakarta, indonesia who has lived/is living in singapore atm. its really crazy far from UK i know.  

 

I don’t know if you’ve been to jakarta or singapore or southeast asia. (we’ve never been to the UK). I wonder how do you guys see us, whats the first food you thought of when you think of us, what’s the first image you think of when you hear about us. different parts of us have history of being colonised by the british, the dutch, the japanese, the spanish, the portuguese, the french… sometimes i feel like i know you guys more than you will ever know us, but that is for another time and another story :")

click on the chat bubbles to fill the gaps !!!

As we navigate the art scene… it really felt like we were growing up with @indoartno. their followers also grew to the point that every single curator, museum directors, gallerists, and collectors in indo are following, supporting and liking their posts. And then there is @antikolektifkolektifklub, also an indonesian art meme acc but so much more in tune to the indonesian local memes / indo twitter memes. they recently had more public attention due to their seamless references and integration between 1. International art world, 2. Indonesian art drama, 3. Indonesian local, general twitter memes. Their growth is literally... *chefs kiss*!!! Our singaporean and malaysian friends were relating, vibing with, and sharing their memes so much & so often!!

art memes only came to surface in indo when @jerrygogosian went viral and were spilling specific tea about life as a gallery girl, life in the art market, super niche stories about being an "art insider" etc. The first local art meme account we spotted was @indoartno, back in 2018. And it was such a joy to see them citing super western memes being super spiced up (and maybe even creolised?) by classic indonesian sass — it’s quite a known character that indonesians can be very mean online, with our virtual spheres being rampant with comedy/gossip forum accounts talking shit about local celebrities + influencers. see @lambe_turah and how they're verified, even though they're not a legit media outlet.

For both of us, between existing in singapore and jakarta, and working in both art scenes brings a lot of weird feelings of displacement. SG’s whole identity (and branding) revolves around being a melting pot of cultures and races, of majorly chinese, and minorly malay, indian, and eurasian. (Striving to be the centre of SEA arts too at that) And while we find no problem in speaking english malay & chinese, no matter how easy it has become to camouflage ourselves as singaporeans, i still find it hard to think and behave like one. Which is plain mad, because sg and jkt is only a 1.5hr flight away from each other…

Vice versa, we notice that bahasa-speaking folks in singapore are familiar with indonesian culture, slangs, celebrities, pop songs, but seem to struggle going deeper in the culture / pop culture, more familiar with certain cliches like krisdayanti or agnes monica (both local indo singers). Bahasa-speakers in Singapore, and Malay-speakers in Indonesia, they mutually struggle to be truly an ‘insider’ of the locality, like something is always slightly but noticeably different, but can’t really point my finger where. a certain je ne sais quoi! LOL.  Even the most linguistically similar countries - malaysia, indonesia, brunei, singapore - speaks, jokes differently. Is it because we were colonised differently? So many subtle difference in tone, use of words, the way we talk, created a faux sense of understanding/belonging/identity/unity. Maybe its the different way we deal with the loss of memory, and displacement. we're still not sure.

So we started to invite non-indonesian practicing artists, writers, curators, activists, and art practitioners to do an online art-writing meme residency with us.

 
  1. Online residency: 

    • With the pandemic and borders tightened, can we still have a residency?
       

    • Yes
       

    • virtual residency’s parameters: not geographical, but is set within the contents of two meme accounts, @indoartno & @antikolektifkolektifklub
       

    • The residency happens through participants’ interaction with the two organisers and two meme account administrators
       

    • because the core concept of having a residency is an exchange of lived experiences by immersively absorbing a space or a locality

2. Art writing: 
 

  • dethroning academic writing

  • dethroning constant desire of art writing to be legitimised by obsolete western philosophical daddies
     

  • countless local experiences are unable to be conveyed in simplistic one-liners in an outsider’s language
     

  • The fluidity of human expression VS the stubbornness of institutional texts
     

  • Legitimising alternative forms of research

 

3.Art memes: 
 

  • Meme as part of linguistic evolution 
     

  • Studying memes = a very accessible and universal way to understand another culture, another way to perceive the world
     

  • Art memes = niche, targeted; unreadable and unrelatable to an outsider; i.e., a non-art person. An engineer looking at a finance meme would understand the superficial premise of the joke, but not much of its original context and references. 
     

  • This “outside-looking-in” phenomenon is constantly experienced by diasporas, who would juggle two cultures in the locale where they live and the virtual arenas tying back to their hometowns.  
     

  • As Indonesians, we’ve always assumed that Indonesian humour is insular and hardly translatable due to colloquial and linguistic puns, layered references taken from local pop culture, socio-political current issues, as well as ethical and moral values of various demographics spanning across the nation. 
     

  • Surprisingly, however, the Indonesian meme accounts @indoartno (stylised as INDO/ART/NO, a wordplay based on Indonesia’s pioneer art media INDO/ART/NOW) and @antikolektifkolektifklub has crossed the territorial border and found followers in singapore and malaysia.

 

Halfway through the project, we realised that our outlined expectations are unrealistic. We have decided that the residency’s launch on 25 October, 12PM Singapore time, will only include the paper’s abstracts, introductions, and prefaces; paired with the online residency process of text exchanges.

 

By trying to “meme” academic writing and to “academise” memes, we hope to highlight the surface-level performativity found in artspeak, encourage play in research processes, and dig deeper into understanding various layers of colloquial humour.

Academic Fantasy Indonesia

A research residency on internet art memes | an online art-writing initiative 

Launching on 25 October, 12.00PM Singapore time, exclusively on www.academicfantasy.xyz 

 

Participating writers:

Mysara Aljaru (Singapore), Zhiyi Cao (Singapore), Daniel Chong (Singapore), Bernice Dela Cruz (Singapore), Makarand Dhotre (Mumbai), nor (Singapore), Seelan Palay (Singapore), Juria Toramae (Bangkok/Singapore), Sherry Zhang (Shanghai/Singapore)

 

In partnership with:

@indoartno

@antikolektifkolektifklub

 

Organised by:

@anathapindikadai | @lija_markus

{ the only reason The White Pube can still exist is because some of our readers choose to support us each month via Patreon. We sometimes do talks n other jobs but Patreon is how we get paid for the actual writing here - the reviews, art thoughts and so on. it’s important to us to stay independent critics without ties to big funders or institutions, public or private. thank you for being our old timey patrons - we’ll do our best to produce quality output; write stuff that is thoughtful and sincere }

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