By Ismal Muntaha, Curator
As a part of the New Commissions Fund 2018-2019 project, last May I visited London, Leeds, and Marsden for a three-week residency together with Bunga Siagian, representing Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF), to develop several ideas for our collaborative project with George Clark, Village Video Festival: Tools for Conviviality. Not only it helped us determine the themes of the festival, it also gave us the opportunity to engage with diverse communities and establish new collaborations between artists and organisations in Indonesia and the UK.
During the first week of our residency, artist, curator and writer George Clark took us around a village in England called Marsden, which helped us understood how industries in the village played a major role in shaping Marsden’s cultural landscape. We were also introduced to a community of women at Marsden’s Mechanic Institute, where we learned how the institute used to function as an educational institution for the wool factory workers there.
Will Rose, Director of Pavilion - a visual arts organization in Leeds, organized a public event where we were asked to do a public presentation on Jatiwangi Art Factory’s Village Video Festival (VVF), as well as introducing on our collaborative project: Tools for Conviviality. George also took the opportunity to present his project developed during his residency last year in Indonesia in Jatiwangi called Living Archive: VVF. This is where we chatted and discussed the possibilities of developing this project until the idea of "West Java-West Yorkshire Cooperative Movement" (WJWYCM) came to discussion.
WJ-WYCM is expected to be a platform that stimulates sharing of methods and ideas about how contemporary art and cultural activities play a role in the context of rural industry in each region. West Yorkshire has a long history of textile industry while West Java, particularly the Northern region such as Jatiwangi, is well known for its tile industry, which through a new government policy will soon transform into textile or garment industry. The similar post-industrial and transformational of the two areas is an interesting relationship we would like to explore and focus on, starting with Video Village Festival. At the moment, there are at least two sites that will be the focus of this cooperation, the first is Jatisura Village collaboration with Marsden Village, the second is Jatiwangi Cinema with Hyde Park Cinema in Leeds. Furthermore, this cooperation is expected to also stimulate more political cooperation between local governments within the two regions.
We are still developing the output, but certainly this WJ-WYCM project will kick off through "Village Video Festival: Tools of Conviviality" in December at Jatiwangi and ending March in Marsden / Leeds, as the closing of the festival. Over the course of time, there will be various projects undertaken in West Java and West Yorkshire, which also will also enable the exchange of artists and non-artists. Through VVF we will try to intersect with various kinds of industrial sites, institutions, as well as communities in these two areas with the premise of activation and collaboration.