In their second year of collaboration, the Semarang collective Grobak Hysteria – founded by Akhmad Horidin, or better known as Adin Hysteria – is seemingly entering the courtship phase with UK’s Creative Black Country. If last year saw the two collectives joining forces to enhance the heritage route of Semarang using augmented reality, this year they teamed up once again for the 100 Masters of Semarang, whose video installations were displayed at Hotel Monopoli Jakarta during The Other Festival.
Like all romances, it was not always plain sailing getting to 100 Masters of Semarang. “It was a long process to decide who would be picked for the program. We had to map out the movers and shakers of Semarang before selecting and shortlisting them and finally deciding on the final 100 Masters,” says Adin of the project that began its life in UK’s West Midlands.
However, Adin claims to be pleased with the collaborations thus far, especially following his participation at the Creative People and Places conference in Wolverhampton last June. “At this event, I met with many creative people from all over the UK and learned about how the UK government develops the creative industry and provides massive funds for creative projects,” he recounts.
Through this experience, Adin also learned about the difference between the creative industry in the UK and Indonesia. “There’s obviously a greater level of freedom and independence in our creative industry. Consequently, not a lot of people are willing to take part in the industry since it is seen as financially risky,” he observes. The lack of support from the Indonesian government also means that those who make a living off of the creative industry are ‘the chosen ones,’ jokes Adin. “However, although the Indonesian government may not care much about the creative industry, its movers and shakers are able to do a lot of the things they want to do due to the lack of interference.”
One of the ways that a collective like Hysteria is able to survive is via partnerships with arts and cultural organisations such as British Council. “We’ve had a longstanding partnership with British Council, and through this, we would like to prove that we are a serious and strategic partner. We only have one aspiration: to become a stable arts collective in Semarang and have a tangible impact on the city’s ecosystem,” he affirms, while adding that Semarang is in dire need of proper creative networks and cultural centres, which other major cities in Java have in bulk. “At the end of the day, I reckon British Council will be able to take a credit for taking part in developing arts collectives outside of Jakarta, and its impact in Indonesia will be more assured,” he concludes.