|COLLABORATION and ART, Backgrounds and Facts|
|Wednesday, 22 September 2010 09:01|
By Adikara Rachman
Translation by Ferdi Zebua
The word ‘collaboration’ that we often use, in its history is a term born from Western culture. The logic of collaboration is an activity of independent fulfillment of economic needs (subsistent economy) where a number of persons trade the results of their labor with other persons to fulfill the person’s life needs. This term cannot be adequately translated as barter because within collaboration there is a value that cannot be measured in mere material terms. The most valuable aspects in collaboration are equality and mutual introspection within the exchange of needs.
This culture of exchange occurs within cultures of fishery and also agriculture, where collaboration can also happen between the two types or within the members of each cultural society. Here we recognize communalism, a people that can cooperate together creating a goal within a mechanism agreed upon by its members.
The West read and understands their history of economic activities and gives their own terms as the result of their identification efforts, which are next applied for the purposes of science.
In a span of thousands of years, at this moment the West views a cultural activity from the viewpoint of various sciences, and the consequence of this there occurs some ‘borrowing’ of terms for other activities, collaboration is one of these borrowed terms, and of course they fully realize the need to provide an objective explanation which is differentiated from where the term was originally born.
On the other hand, Western culture emphasizes individualism, which originally was born to appreciate the rights of others, therefore the appreciation of individuals are applied without differentiating gender, age, or social status.
In short, individualism is an individual identity and has become a signature applied on various aspects of their lives. Arts, architecture, literature, various inventions etc., until which each individual is the owner of intellectual rights. The consequence of this individualism is how common sense decides a formal law which provides protection, and also sanctions for those attempting non-normative actions.
Communalism and individualism are two models which are not in conflict with each other in daily life application. Within communalism is provided freedom to develop individualism, and so too in individualism there is also a communalism carried out by the culture in each historical period that they brought about.
The art grown by the West is a reflection of their situation and condition. They exist within their cultural context when they responded to the various issues which appeared in their communal lives. Politics, technology, social, history, religion and economy often become backdrops in the arts that they create. Collaboration in Western art is not the product of Modernism, but had already existed since Ancient Greek as the formative period where logic was formulated. What differentiates between 6000 years ago and the current times are its forms, in connection to their periodic context.
Right now, when democracy is believed upon as the area of individual appreciation, then the principles which underlie Western collaboration is common vision, common goal, and introspection between two parties of artisans as an economic manifestation.
Among us [Indonesians], the term collaboration is equated with “gotong royong” which in essence is born from a subsistent economy, but in reality through a period of 350 years our culture was frozen because of VOC mercantilism and Dutch colonization, causing it so that there was no chance to acquire how our values and historical logic could become the basis of the development of a cultural identity. And most unfortunate it was that post colonization in our attempt to become equal to developed nations, we use in wholesale what the West had created. This was carried out without any consciousness of logic nor understanding of cultural context, resulting in which what the West had developed (is expected to) must exist in Indonesia. Various arts with western terms are used without questioning the issues behind them.
When we realize that Indonesia is an agricultural nation, the agricultural culture which relate directly with our economic activities will very much help to develop an understanding of the difference between collaborative art and “gotong royong” art, and once again context will provide identity for both.
And now what we must decide is a CHOICE between always PRODUCING or to have the courage to GROW?
*Adikara Rachman is the founder of Maros, a visual culture initiative based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 02:11|