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23.03.23—20:00    KASK lecture: Taring Padi Cirque lecture

The collective Taring Padi was founded in 1998 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The group is committed to fighting racism, militarism, environmental injustice and the consequences of neoliberal economic policies that victimise farmers, workers, indigenous communities and other marginalised and minority groups.

The unifying principle of the collective emerged at the intersection of ideology and friendship and paralleled the use of art and activism as political tools. At the last documenta in 2022, these principles were taken as the starting point for participation in the event. The documenta thus became the platform to show solidarity with the anti-colonial and neo-capitalist struggles of the Global South.

During the event, a heated debate ensued about the intentions of the organisers in general and Taring Padi in particular. At this point, the critics failed to look beyond their "own nose" and read the banner with a non-Western perspective. Unintentionally, this constituted a repetition of the repressive mechanisms that Taring Padi has been fighting against for years.
The result was a political uproar and the dismantling of the People's Justice banner of 2002.

This controversy, highlighted the direct links between different artistic forms, ideologies, classes and historical processes in Taring Padi's practice. In this light, the KASK lecture will explore the three main forms of the collective's artistic practice over the past 25 years: woodcut, cardboard doll and large-scale banner. Using People's Justice as a centrepiece, Dr Alexander Supartono will delve deeper into the creation of the visual language, iconography and method of composition. From a description of the formal language of the works of art, its necessity is argued against the historical specificity of Taring Padi's direct political actions.

In addition to the lecture, Taring Padi will create work with students of KASK & Conservatory at SMAK. This workshop is part of the interdisciplinary project week It's About Time! organised by Nomadic School of Arts. On Friday 24 March, these works will be brought from SMAK to the Bijloke site in a procession. The works will then be festively welcomed.

About Dr Alexander Supartono

Dr Supartono is one of the founding members of Taring Padi and an art historian specialising in modern and contemporary art in Southeast Asia. He received his PhD in the history of photography from the University of St Andrews, Scotland and teaches at the School of Arts and Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University. His most recent publications include "Dolorosa Sinaga: Body, Form, Matter" (Jakarta Art Institute, 2020) and "The Silent Waiting: Javanese Antiquity and 19th century photography in the Dutch East Indies" (National Gallery Singapore, 2022). He is currently one of the principal investigators of the Photography Unbound project at the Getty Research Institute, investigating the application of computer vision to art history research.