documenta 15

ruangrupa Reveals Curatorial Practice and First Members for documenta fifteen

The Jakarta-based collective ruangrupa announces lumbung as their curatorial practice for document fifteen, which is based on the principles of collectivity, resource building, and equal sharing. The next documenta will take place from June 18 until September 25, 2022 in Kassel.

ruangrupa: lumbung drawing, image: Iswanto Hartono, 2020

ruangrupa: lumbung drawing, image: Iswanto Hartono, 2020

lumbung is the Indonesian word for a collectively governed rice-barn, where the gathered harvest is stored for the common good of the community. ruangrupa has built the foundation of documenta fifteen on its core values and ideas. lumbung, as a concept, is the starting point for documenta fifteen. Over the coming years, lumbung will be operational in the lead up to documenta fifteen in 2022, and beyond.

At this stage, ruangrupa gives an insight into how they understand and implement lumbung in their curatorial practice. In the spirit of lumbung, ruangrupa has invited the first lumbung-members and the Artistic Team to individually introduce themselves by sharing stories of their respective practices and how they connect to the wider project. This first members are Fondation Festival Sur Le Niger (Ségou, Mali), Gudskul (Jakarta, Indonesia), INLAND (various locations, Spain), Jatiwangi art Factory (Jatiwangi, Indonesia), Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center (Ramallah, Palestine), Más Arte Más Acción (MAMA) (Nuqui, Choco, Columbia), OFF-Biennale (Budapest, Hungary), Trampoline House (Copenhagen, Denmark), and ZK/U – Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (Berlin, Germany).

ruangrupa explains: “We want to create a globally oriented, cooperative, interdisciplinary art and culture platform that will remain effective beyond the 100 days of documenta fifteen. Our curatorial approach aims at a different kind of collaborative model of resource use—economically, but also in terms of ideas, knowledge, programs, and innovation.”

ruangrupa’s central curatorial approach for documenta fifteen is based on the principles of collectivity, resource building, and equal sharing. They aim to appeal not just to an art audience but to a variety of communities, and to promote local commitment and participation. Their approach is based on an international network of local, community-based organizations from the art and other cultural contexts and can be outlined by the Indonesian term lumbung. lumbung, directly translatable as “rice barn,” is a collective pot or accumulation system used in rural areas of Indonesia, where crops produced by a community are stored as a future shared common resource and distributed according to jointly determind criteria. Using lumbung as a model, documenta fifteen is a collective resource pot, operating under the logics of the commons. It is an agglomeration of ideas, stories, (wo)manpower, time, and other shareable resources. At the center of lumbung is the imagination and the building of these collective, shared resources into new models of sustainable ideas and cultural practices. This will be fostered by residencies, assemblies, public activities, and the development of tools.

Interdisciplinarity is key in this process. It is where art meets activism, management, and networking to gather support, understand environments, and identify local resources. These elements then create actions and spaces, intertwine social relations and transactions; they slowly grow and organically find a public form. This is a strategy “to live in and with society.” It imagines the relations an art institution has with its community by being an active constituent of it. Strategies are then developed based on proximity and shared desires.

The main principles of the process are:
• Providing space to gather and explore ideas
• Collective decision making
• Non-centralization
• Playing between formalities and informalities
• Practicing assembly and meeting points
• Architectural awareness
• Being spatially active to promote conversation
• A melting pot for and from everyone’s thoughts, energies, and ideas




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