Behind the Terrain – sketches on imaginative landscapes

Behind the Terrain (Dok. studiokalahan)

The traveling exhibition “Behind the Terrain – sketches on imaginative landscapes” examines questions that emerge from the interrelation of the politics of remembrance, memory, as well as individual historicities within critical research and art practices. The focus on landscape, in terms of imaginary narrative as well as politics behind actual terrain, is brought into perspective by artists with different cultural and immigrant backgrounds and their relationship to defining terms like: “homeland”, “border” or “identity”, and the landscapes of their practice. The exhibition will travel through Southeast and East Asia (Yogyakarta, Hanoi, and Tokyo).

Our encounter with terrain emerges from the hectic pitch of our daily lives, within spaces where information from outside assault us constantly. Sometimes, there is probably a strange sense of intuition towards what is “seen”: does an image when continually repeated, gradually acquire “truth” due to consistency, or does it remain imaginary? We stray into cracks and grapple with the in/between, as we try to distinguish imaginary landscape from physical terrain, but should we?

“Behind the Terrain – sketches on imaginative landscapes” initiates the recovery of invisible and missing landscape which lay behind terrains of historical controversy. The word  “landscape” within modernity, especially in Western history, connotes vistas and gardening, tourism, exotic destinations— an aesthetic middle-class value, or for the empire: territorial expansion and nationalism. Landscape was never a neutral untouched entity, but rather an empty field unto which to project desires. Tasked with depicting the inhabitants of the newly conquered lands, images and descriptions from discovery voyages became “history”, and it stirred up the imagination, tailoring landscape to the demands of fantasy. This physical intrusion, though thoroughly disregarding knowledge embodied onto the terrain, allowed for a somewhat transnational re-imagining.

In the context of the Asia, whose cultural heritage cuts across national borderlines, but is at the same time clearly delineated with distinct imperial inheritances from past political ambitions, the South/East Asian geographical and cultural multiplicity intersect not only geographically but also as interconnected historicities. Furthermore, the landscape still bares the marks of violence: ravaged for economic gain, harnessed for unseen natural resources, systems of agriculture overhauled to produce that one “export” product— in the end this mined landscape is an extremely artificial one.

With this traveling exhibition, the project aims to ask following questions: how is the history and memory of conflict and repression unearthed, and how has it been been forgotten? Is this amnesia encouraged by a modern state of materialism? How does landscape ground us, at the same time, support a re-imagination of the invisible? And, lastly,  how does the navigation of this in/visible terrain produce a mapping of our daily lives?

Linh Phuong
Based in Hanoi, Vietnam, she concerns about geographic cultural shift, traditional roots and fragmented history in Vietnam – a complex nexus of ethnicities, religions, and cultural and geo-political influences. Her multidisciplinary practices, including installation, sculpture and video, convey the sense of the alienation, the dislocation and the ephemerality of human life. She is also a member of Nha San Collective in Hanoi. Her video in the show is about the rubber plantation, colonial history and human condition today.

Stephanie Misa
Born Cebu City, Philippines and currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria, she works across a range of artistic disciplines including, sculpture, film, printmaking and sound. Using ethnographic methods, her work examines questions of identity, immigration and historical and cultural authenticity. During her artist in residency, she has been producing a new project and sculpture in the specific context of Yogyakarta.

Veronika Burger
Based in Vienna, she has been practicing her activities within a discussion of authorship, artist identity, and performativity in connection with institutional imperatives regarding efficiency and economically utilizable productivity by using several media including video, sculpture, photography, and installation. These productions are based on and related to performance. During her artist in residency program, she will produce a new film about local art institutions with SF-like narrative.

Ran Kokubun
Based in Japan, she seeks something that may (not) have been left on landscape through photograph. “Meanings left behind” (2011-) is an experiment to see what had been the on scene before it was given a name in Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan, where several groups of people such as the Ainu lived together and later they were assimilated into the Japanese nation. Most of names of the places are originated from the Ainu language, which few people today know their meanings. She has taken photograph of snowy scenes, where snow equally covers everything on landscape. She was born and raised in Hokkaido, where she pursues landscape as evidence of non-existent names and memory.

Born in Japan and studied in US and Netherland, he transcribes the soundscape of the specific locations into various forms such as lecture performance, text-score, and installation through listening and extensive research on the history and/or geography; the presented soundscape can be of the past, present, future, and imaginary. He has been working on a project, a long listening journey of a Possible History, especially of Japanese & Dutch & something more, developing around the research on 17th century Dutch geography books. Through the images of the book, he realises gestures that captivated  the Western eye in those days, and produces a new approach to them in multiple formats.

Martha Atienza
Born in Manila with a Dutch mother and a Filipino father, she has moved between both countries and cultures throughout her life. Her video installations are visions culled from her Filipino and Dutch side. The precept of ‘stranger’ emanates as crevice between the operations of understanding and imagining. Her work is a series mostly constructed in video, of almost sociological nature that studies her direct environment. ANG MGA VIRGIN SA LAWIS is a modern interpretation of the sketches of the European explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries, particularly the explorers and colonizers of the Philippines, with religious relevance. The film shows the locals posed awkwardly in their natural environment.

Agni Saraswati
Referring to varied sources such as Javanese traditions, post-colonialism, mass media and the fashion industry,  Agni Saraswati explores the relationship between women and Javanese myth. Within a patriarchal system and Javanese culture, her surreal paintings trace humor and horror as they emerge from scenes of everyday life.

Elia Nurvista
Elia Nurvista is interested in exploring a wide range of art mediums with an interdisciplinary approach and focus on the discourse of food. Through food, she intends to scrutinize power hierarchies, and social and economic inequality in this world.  Rerasan Jaman is a monopoly board games that explores the issues of “property and ownership” and “rights of the city” contextualized within the situation  of Yogyakarta. In general, the landscape of property ownership, as elsewhere in the world, is dominated by the private sector.

Maryanto has drawn multiple realities of the postcolonial and neoliberal global contemporary world, as well as a relationship between fine art and craftsmanship with the Indonesian background. His interest lies in narratives as it appears in landscapes, politics, economics, and industries, especially after World War Ⅱ.

Mika Maruyama
Based in Vienna and Tokyo, she is a writer and critic. Building on her experience working for international art projects, she is currently a doctoral student at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, specializing in contemporary art and art theory.

Project Manager
Ardiana Putri Siswanto


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