900mdpl: Genealogy of Ghost and How to Co-Live with Them* (2021)

(*) provisional title


900mdol is a biennial site-specific project in Kaliurang. Located 7 km away from the crater of Mt.Merapi with average altitude of 900 meters above the sea, around 2800 inhabitants of Kaliurang today are living in an immediate vicinity with the active volcano. The first edition of 900mdpl was held in 2017 as a ‘family portrait’ of the community and their living space. The second edition in 2019 was an attempt to pinpoint the small village within the map of Indonesian bigger history. The third edition (2021) will look upon the relationship between mythology and local wisdom on how it affects the environmental sustainability of the area. 

Provisionally titled "900mdpl: Genealogy of Ghost and How to Co-Live with Them”, the project aim to collect local beliefs, mythology, rituals, oral tradition, bedtime stories, and cautionary tales on how to behave around a sacred sites that manifested as local wisdom. It will explore the decentralized polycentric knowledge that allow us to start learning back from the rooted local wisdom for ecological sustainability. The landscapes of Kaliurang and around Mt.Merapi are subjected to the whims of colonizers and capitalists through tourism, over-development, exploitation of the land and extraction of its natural resources. This project try to propose a more sustainable approach to the daily reality in Kaliurang as tourism area. 

Mt.Merapi is considered as one of the two most powerful mythical kingdoms in Yogyakarta, connected through an imaginary axis with the Sultanate of Yogyakarta and mythical Queendom of the Southern Sea. Around Mt.Merapi, the ontological knowledge of Javanese cosmology used to coexist with Islamic values, tradition rooted in Hinduism and animism as a heritage knowledge. The aim of this project is to stimulate and discuss the possibility of exercising folklore and mythology as a heritage knowledge of how to co-live with the non-human counterpart. It suggests not only about how to control nature but stresses the importance of maintaining an equal position of human and non-human alike. The findings would later be presented to wider public through an art exhibition, series of public programs, and a publication to transmit the knowledge to younger generations. 

The final project presentation of all artists at scattered sites around Kaliurang where wider audience will be guided on the exhibition walking route as a spatial practice—turning the site into a space of experience. The exhibition route is chosen based on the current topic as a way to connect the different ideas brought up by artists’ solo projects and researches. At the end of every walking tour, the audience will be provided with the complete whole narratives of the project. For this edition of 900mdpl, the audience will be guided through forgotten natural tourist spots around Kaliurang and a nature walk close enough with the nature to experience the richness of it and the microclimates of Kaliurang but not getting to the point where the nature is still virgin and protected. Some of the artists’ projects will be presented outdoors and all artistic production will have carefully measure impact to remain eco-friendly. Artwork production using natural resources that are abundant and available, or recyclable waste, or those that are not changing the ecosystem of the non-human part of the nature are encouraged. The artists coming from outside Yogyakarta are expected to travel slowly by train instead of taking a flight and artists from abroad are encouraged to rethink a more sustainable way to travel or ship the work. For international artists, new media installation consisting of video or sound work and a publication format are expected instead of a large scale installation. 

At the end of the three edition of 900mdpl, the afterlife of the projects will be made to support the continuous process of archiving the space and extend the life of the project. The publication will be consisting of text contributions from writers and academics and available in two different editions (English only, or Indonesian only). A simpler version of a module for elementary school consisting of local history and environmental sustainability will be made too. The module and e-pub/pdf version of the publication can be accessed for free for the local community of Kaliurang under the creative common. For the audience worldwide, a website is accessible with all the essay and artwork info. Aside from this, a movable Transient Museum of a Thousand Conversations Kaliurang will be made for wider audience to learn about the previous editions’ findings and achieve. 


900mdpl #3 - July/August 2021 | Artistic Director: LIR
'Friend of 900mdpl' call will soon be open