LINTAS-BATAS: SOMEWHERE or NOWHERE?

The Lintas-Batas project is a starting point on International engagement curatorial practice to develop more connection and relationship for local artist to have a greater chance on sharing and experiential learning on arts and culture. The relevancies of this program is to enhanced our knowledge by crossing our boundaries or beyond our comfort personal bubble, and that’s what we call LINTAS-BATAS.

 

LINTAS-BATAS: SOMEWHERE or NOWHERE?

Curatorial Review by Syafiq Ali Am

Experiential learning theory was identified as the element on Constructivism which is founded by John Dewey from the traditional and progressive learning method. The theory of learning that user creates personal learning outcomes through reflecting on previous experiences[i]. This can be more for us to understand by referring to the Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory. Besides that, a lot of theories and methodologies have been applied in contemporary art practices. Lintas-Batas was one of my expanded versions of progress after discovering the Documenta structure in Kassel, Germany in 2016.

Contemporary arts nowadays deal with various structures in order to search on possibility for another meaning and practices. Malaysian artist not much on engagement with another structure rather than just doing an artwork and exhibitions, certainly swallowed by the business system. In another perspective on contemporary curatorial practices in the Southeast Asia, most likely were very Modern Art approaches and conservatives because of lacking on curatorial understanding including academic institutions.

In 2015, there was a discussion among the young curators with a few established curators in Bandung in a context of regional development towards the ASEAN countries on contemporary arts[ii]. Shockingly, the idea on culture enrichment becoming a major topic for contemporary artist to engage rather than Western Modern Art oriented practice based. The ‘Mutual Unknown’ was launched as a young Southeast Asia curator’s research and application funded by the Gothe Institute, Jakarta in 2016. Through this curatorial practice, a lot of potential on contemporary young artists has been reveal on cultural engagement.

Malaysia and Thailand have a lot in common but in fact which is not really align, the studies on ‘Folklore’ in Lintas-Batas Art and Culture Exchange was only a beginning for us to engage. In context of regional impact, Bangkok and Seri Iskandar was totally difference in many ways. The culture and adaptive tradition in Bangkok were more economic based and ‘Indo-China’ influenced among the community. Seri Iskandar have an interesting demographic and geographic, a small city compounded with a small town and Kampong (Village) with a Malay Traditional and British Post-Colonial background[iii].

Saroot and Rawiruj (Todd) was the best candidate artist selected by our cooperative partner Tentacles Art Space from Bangkok to have an exchange program in art and culture. They were exposed to brief Malaysian history and also Perak traditional culture. The idea of ‘Folklore’ was constructed to spark on a very light structure for the artist to explore. Saroot merely transaction with a new media application through his idea of the mystical world connected with few different atmosphere. He also projects his idea on memorial value and a concept of awareness on so what he called interesting subjects. Saroot unbelievable response actually about one of the Muslims community in Bangkok which is abandoned their spiritual practice barrier (Manzil and Ruqyah) from the bad Jinn (Evil).

Rawiruj (Todd) developing his understanding on the unconventional ways to respond about the ‘Folklore’ itself. The way of he look at things in different perspective is something unpredictable, especially when he tries to evaluate the concept of ‘Folklore’ into visual translations by capturing projector light with DSLR sensor. A lot of results and discussion appeared when the digital database translated into a form of printed photos. He tries to be a ‘Panglipur Lara’ (Storyteller) at his point and capacity as a visual artist.

The Lintas-Batas project is a starting point on International engagement curatorial practice to develop more connection and relationship for local artist to have a greater chance on sharing and experiential learning on arts and culture. The relevancies of this program is to enhanced our knowledge by crossing our boundaries or beyond our comfort personal bubble, and that’s what we call LINTAS-BATAS.

 

 

Syafiq Ali Am

Independent Curator & Southeast Asia Curatorlab Committee

[i] David Kolb’s Experiential Learning, Teaching Practice I, 2014

[ii] CURATORLAB, Bandung ‘Mutual Unknown’, 2015

[iii] Malaysia- A Pictorial History 1400-2004, Wendy Khadijah Moore, Archipelago Press 2004.

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