Brought to you by The Japan Foundation Yangon and Myanm/art
SPACE EXCHANGE: Yogyakarta Meets Yangon brings three professionals from the art ecosystem of Jogjakarta, Indonesia to Yangon to present their work, speak with artists, and forge new friendships and potential collaborations and partnerships.
The aim of the grant is to promote exchange and friendship between Southeast Asian nations and creative communities. Space Exchange will create a bond between two of ASEAN’s most creative cities, and supported by Japan, will note the possibilities of working together and learning from each other in the future.
Yogyakarta is a former capital, just like Yangon. It has numerous universities and prides itself on its creative scene, just like Yangon. It is known as a destination and refuge for young people and artists, just like Yangon. However, Yogyakarta’s spaces and organisations have much more experience than those in Yangon. They maintain a resourcefulness and professional integrity in their events despite having few institutional resources.
As the first of what we hope to be many SPACE EXCHANGES, Myanm/art proposes starting with a small pocket of Yogyakarta’s creative community to come to Yangon to share their artistic journeys with the creative scene. The proposal includes one curator, one artist, and one musician – all of whom are in charge of their own careers and the collectives or spaces which they are a part.
Grace Samboh -Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, 1984, Grace Samboh lives in between Yogyakarta and Medan, Indonesia. Due to questioning (a little bit) too many things all at once, she does curatorial work as well as research. She truly believes that every person needs at least three copies of themselves.
Grace is an independent curator and graphic designer. She has forged her own path in curatorship through her self-guided research and organisation of exhibitions, but also through negotiating with local and government institutions, serving as a bridge between collector and artist, institution and artist, collective and catalog. She designs her own digital catalogs for each of her shows and travels the world to share her knowledge. She’s a great example for early curators in Yangon how to pursue new work, research and self-sufficient projects.
Julian ‘Togar’ Abraham (b. 1987, Indonesia) is an artist, musician and pseudo scientist. Words like generative, manipulating, dematerialisation are often used to identify his work. Connecting one thing to another, expressed in complex algorithms, have enabled his experiences in how art, the environment, science and technology relate to one another to provide new tools to educate and engage both the artist and the society.
Togar likes to experiment. He uses sound, film and performance in his work, three popular and ever growing mediums amongst artists in Myanmar. He is also navigating the path between nature and technology, a challenge that Myanmar as a country is facing currently. Togar can offer insight and possible solutions to working in a transitioning space like Yangon.
Indra Menus is the founder of Jogja Noise Bombing (JNB=. Jogja Noise Bombing is a open community for noise artist around the city of Yogyakarta. Concentrating in experimental audio, noise, harsh noise, ambient, drone, circuit bending, etc., JNB also hosts performances, exhibitions and workshops in Jogja and abroad.
Why Menus? There’s a fledgling Noise and experimental music scene in Yangon which is gaining popularity amongst all musicians in Yangon, for its alternative narratives in music as well as the opportunity it provides to be free from constraints or expectations. It is an important avenue for young musicians to know what’s possible within music. Menus is not only a musician but an organiser. He can share on the challenges of public performance and audience interpretation, as well as help to advise local young groups about how to pursue collective consciousness while organising music and art events.
SPACE EXCHANGE is not a reference to a physical space, but to any space that is created when people engage with each other. When a curator decides to write about the scene around her, she creates a space for herself, her words, her audience, her research. When a musician chooses a group of artists to play or organise shows with, they create a space for themselves, for sounds, for music.
SPACE EXCHANGE would like to require participants not only to share their personal stories but also to outline specific steps they took to achieve their goals, in spite of hardship, political turmoil, lack of funding, or lack of physical space.
In Yangon, there is a constant feeling of inadequacy – a focus on what Yangon does not have. But practitioners in a city like Yogyakarta can hear from the scene in Yangon and suggest alternatives outcomes. Sometimes we need an outsider’s eye and advice to remind us what we are capable of achieving.