In the last IDEAL PARADISE, a daring multidisciplinary exhibition presented by Goethe Institut and Produksi Film Negara, German artistic director Claudia Bosse and media artist Günther Auer collaborate with local artists from different backgrounds to explore the changes following Indonesia’s past cultural, political and religious upheavals as a way to contemplate the current.
Established in 2015 by the Vienna-based theatercombinat, The Ideal Paradise series was previously held in its hometown and Düsseldorf (2018) before Claudia focused her lens on Indonesia for the third and final installment of the series.
Embracing catastrophe as its theme, spectators are presented with installations and choreographic performance on social and political constellations which link to the present state of Jakarta and its society. “I have to say I have a positive notion on catastrophe. I find the word tricky because it ruins an order, and you can see that the destroyed narrative structure is still there, but then it gives room for something new,” Claudia commented on her approach.
Taking place at Perum PFN (Produksi Film Negara) in Kampung Melayu, the last chapter of The Ideal Paradise utilises the historic building where past Indonesian educational movies and even notorious propaganda features were once produced. “I found this urban texture extremely interesting. How it seems interconnected, and it feels that every spot [in the building] gets an appreciation of re-use, that people can survive,” she continued.
The 2.5 hours exhibition, which took Claudia two years to produce and research with the help of activists, such as Akbar Yumni (journalist of Forum Lenteng), is divided into two separate excursions: an exploration through installations and performance, both executed in collaboration with local artists of different ventures, including performers dubbed as the Ghost Team to enact a space-exploration performance that weighs in on power abuse, matters of territory to colonised and decolonised Indonesia.
For the exhibition of the last IDEAL PARADISE, Claudia Bosse redesigned rooms in the timeworn construction into open set-ups with objects and visuals that trace back to decades, such as colonial-era ethnographic photographs, archives from the 1984 propaganda feature film Pengkhianatan G30/SPKI to photoworks and spoken words about the practice of beheading.
Covering elements of history, controversy and violence, many works found in the last IDEAL PARADISE are derived from materials of daily use, namely foams, feather duster and clothes. Here, one is welcomed to roam around the space as narrative texts, thematic sound works and visual objects abound. “I learned step by step and saw the film An Act of Killing (2012), and then I was surprised by how this culture goes together with such extreme brutality of a political murderer and the history of the younger nation,” Claudia expressed.
In this Jakarta-adaptation of the exhibition, everyone is welcome to wander and engage with the performing artists. Come as you mingle with works that confront functions of time, space and the nation’s socio-political traces that led the city (and its dwellers) to where it is now.
the last IDEAL PARADISE is held at Perum PFN (Produksi Film Negara), Jl. Otto Iskandardinata Raya 125-127, East Jakarta until 29 February (show starts at 5pm). For more information on the exhibition, click here.