Tony Albert & Timoteus Anggawan Kusno

Tony Albert +
Timoteus Anggawan Kusno

 

KERJASAMA, or ‘COLLABORATE’, is a reciprocal visual arts residency between an Australian and an Indonesian artist. Kerjasama was launched in 2014 through Asialink’s arts residency laboratory, in partnership with Artback NT, Australia and Cemeti Art House, Indonesia. This exchange residency program is supported by the Australian Government through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program, an initiative of the department of foreign affairs and trade. Tony Albert and Timoteus Anggawan Kusno were selected for the 2016 edition of this program.

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On the morning of Sunday 23 January 2011, a farmer in Yogyakarta discovers a crop circle in his rice paddies. Local Air Force launches an aerial investigation, photographing the 70m diameter geometric pattern from a helicopter. The resulting press release concludes the crop circle was imprinted by a UFO from the height of 1000 feet and from a number of different angles.

Tony Albert’s new series Crop Circles of Yogya was developed during a residency at Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta (supported by Asialink). Albert appropriates farmer’s conical hats into wearable UFOs, takes portraits of Yogyakarta locals wearing the objects, and then highly embellishes the subsequent photographic prints with stickers of widely recognisable pop culture symbolism. Notions of otherness – the ‘Alien’ – are subverted through the saturation of Western iconography adorning these images. Exploring how developing countries engage with the Western world, and vice versa, Albert interrogates imagined and constructed understandings of otherness. Situating himself as a visitor, Albert engages local tradition, personal narrative, and collectively relatable symbolism, to ask – who is the Alien here?

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Timoteus Anggawan Kusno (Angga) developed an ongoing project in 2013 which resulted in a fictional institution named Centre for Tanah Runcuk Studies (CTRS) which challenges the dominant discourse in the context of post-colonial Indonesia. Using the medium of storytelling in his work, Angga blurs the fictional narrative in the texts and artifacts of an unknown land in Dutch East Indies called Tanah Runcuk. In this exhibition, the series Tropika Selekta: Echoes from Terra Incognita reimagines and captures the incomplete archive collection of the CTRS. Archives of narrated stories owned by CTRS have never been published and had mysteriously disappeared. This colossal scene full of amok and intrigue is celebrated by the imagined community and facilitated by a number of compradors, with support of VOC guns from the early 17th century.

Through combining collage, handwritten notes, quotes, drawings and photographs, Angga authenticates the fiction of Tanah Runcuk into a realistic narrative with documentations of its unique flora and fauna and agitates the social-politics issues of Tanah Runcuk in detail. By inserting anonymity in authorship, Angga allows free interpretation by the audience of the story and the artifacts of the lost territory. 

 

 

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