Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina
01 – 29 March 2018
Working together since 2010, Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina are an artist duo from Jakarta, Indonesia. Their tactical interventionist approach is developed in response to their experience of living in Jakarta, a megacity of 15 million people fraught with political power struggles. In their practice, they frequently translate social issues into events that unfold spontaneously in the public sphere as a form of “urban play,” generating critical alternatives to complicated issues. Their work has been exhibited at ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand (2016); Biennale Jogja, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2014); and Singapore Biennale (2013).
Departing from a specific historical episode, the artists will explore the contemporary currency of gestures of sabotage in the context of the geopolitical frictions between Indonesia and Singapore. This research is part of Ring of Fire (2014-ongoing), a long-term project focused on natural disasters and geopolitical collisions named after the vast geographical area that runs from New Zealand to Chile stretching across Southeast Asia. By framing uncanny relationships between tectonic instability and political unrest, the pair seek to address conditions of vulnerability as well as the tensions related to environment, social justice, freedom of expression, and human rights among Southeast Asian countries.
In 2014, Tita Salina and Irwan Ahmett initiated Ring of Fire, a 10-year long research project that addresses manifold forms of vulnerability. Ring of Fire explores the intricate network of human-made collisions occurring in the eponymous geographical area that runs around the Pacific Ocean, from New Zealand to Chile stretching across Southeast Asia—one of the deadliest places on earth due to plate movements and volcanic eruptions. Fascinated by how subterranean tectonic clashes find uncanny counterparts in the political turmoil above the ground, the artists will discuss the scope of Ring of Fire and reflect on how their work engage with humanitarian crisis, environmental disasters, and the darkest histories in the Southeast Asian region. They will also talk about the research initiated during their residency which, inspired by a historical moment of friction between Indonesia and Malaysia in 1965, tackles sabotage practices and haze threats.
The talk will take place in the artists’ studio.