Gotong Royong. Things we do together

Gotong Royong. Things we do together

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Tita Salina, 1001st Island (still), 2015. Courtesy the artist.

October 19, 2017
Gotong Royong. Things we do together
October 19, 2017–January 14, 2018
Opening: October 19, 7pm
Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
2 Jazdów Street
00-467 Warsaw
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–7pm,
Thursday 12–9pm

T +48 22 628 12 71
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Marianna Dobkowska, Krzysztof Łukomski

Maciej Siuda

Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina, Francis Alÿs, Dorian Batycka, Imani Jacqueline Brown and Blights Out, Centrala Designers’ Task Force, Intervalo-Escola: Tainá Azeredo, Claudio Bueno and collaborators, Forum Lenteng, Marta Frank, Clara Ianni, Edyta Jarząb, Jatiwangi Art Factory, Open Place, Robert Kuśmirowski, Alfadir Luna, Alicja Rogalska and Komunitas Pengamen Jalanan, Vincent Rumahloine and Rumah Cemara, Iza Rutkowska and LBH Jakarta, Maciej Siuda, Magdalena Starska and Komunitas Pasir Putih, Cooperative Spółdzielnia Ushirika, Jaśmina Wójcik and Ursus Zakłady Project


Gotong Royong. Things we do together is an exhibition-meeting in which the idea of community drives the films, objects, documentation and public activities offered by the artists, activists and educators from places around the world.

Gotong royong (“common task”) is a method of work practiced in Indonesia, which can be described as “things we do together as we learn about them by acting together”. This title pays homage to the practices of informal arts education and social self-organization that are specific to Indonesian culture, but also common under various names in many other places in the world. It is both the subject and the work method used in the exhibition-meeting. Activities aimed not at creating objects but affects are presented and triggered during the exhibition and parallel public program.

More and more frequently, artists, activists and educators initiate social situations—in places where institutions fail, they establish their own. Often they work collectively and their influence is situated outside the gallery rather than inside it. They treat art as a tool for building the community and not a production of market goods. Their practices are often based on research, process, long-term cooperation and readiness to take risks connected to exchange, generosity and trust. They produce alternative systems for teaching and for un-learning, new economies and imagination spaces.

Looking for an answer to the question of what the Things We Do Together are, we present reports of the many years’ experience of participants using their own rules of good-work ethics in practice. Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina’s films are based on their work with marginalized communities in Jakarta. Jatiwangi Art Factory collective from West Java runs a program of activation of local villagers through visual arts, music, art education and community projects. Ursus Zakłady Project by Jaśmina Wójcik and associates conducts the grassroots revitalization of Warsaw’s Ursus district. Vincent Rumahloine, artist and activist, is engaged in fighting against the stigmatization of marginalized social groups in Bandung, Indonesia. Their long-term activities are showcased in the program amongst other works.

Wanting to break an over-production problem and wasting materials we were searching for unused resources of the institution. The architecture of the exhibition by Maciej Siuda, built from decades-forgotten parquet, provides a workshop, a cinema, documentation of practices, photography cycles, video works and a collection of objects and materials presenting methodologies of invited participants.

Intervalo-Escola – Time for a Break, an informal temporary collective of young artists, activists and researchers from Warsaw works in the exhibition space for the whole duration. It is the heart of the exhibition where encounters and workshops take place and actions permeate into the rich public program.

Clara Ianni’s performance in public space, Open Monument, asks questions about the possibility and necessity of representing collective memory and is based on a poll the artist conducted in Warsaw. Imani Jacqueline Brown, a New Orleans researcher and activist hosts a series of public discussions titled Kaleidoscope conversations.

By emphasizing the potential for changes that could be introduced by art into everyday life, the exhibition-meeting Gotong Royong. Things We Do Together can be a space for actual encounters between creators and recipients who, by resigning from playing their customary roles, exhibiting and viewing, can also become participants in an experience of “getting to know each other in action.”


Institution is funded by Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. Honorary Patronage: Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Warsaw. Exhibition is presented in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Polish avant-garde. Project co-funded by the City of Warsaw. Support: Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

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Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
October 19, 2017

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