Ruangrupa is a contemporary art organization founded in 2000 by a group of artists in Jakarta. As a nonprofit organization, it works to advance art ideas in urban context and the broad scope of culture through exhibitions, festivals, art laboratory, workshops, researches and book, magazine, and online journal publications. In 2015, Ruangrupa alongside with Forum Lenteng, Grafis Huru Hara, Serrum, OK. Video, and Jakarta 32°C moved and founded Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem, a cross disciplinary space that aims to maintain, cultivate, and establish an integrated support system for creative talents, communities, and various institutions.
What is the nature of the organization, for how long has it been around and what are its set goals?
We wouldn’t and we don’t think it’s necessary to define our nature of practice. Of course, by general view you can name it: artist collective, alternative space, cultural platform, etc. However, we keep it mind “structure follow content”, this give us more flexible borders to work around and collaborate with anyone we want. It is a very organic structure and shape-shifting based on our needs. We had been play in the field for 17 years, since 2000, quite long considering the nature and infrastructure in Indonesian contemporary art. If we go back to what we have written in the beginning 2000 responding to the context that day about arts, and social context, some of the things are actually even bigger and more relevant to be challenged. Such as institutionalization, elitism, and market. The people around us change, and we change too, in many ways. We evaluate every programs, and try to give a specific task that we can fulfilled. One consistent thing, though: we always think our biggest ability in art is to negotiate, activate, shared and caring.
What kind of events have you ever done?
We do many things (everything as long as we still able to do it), from exhibition, publication, research, festival, student forum, supporting system, workshop, discussion, music festival, film screening, party, playing soccer, etc.
What kind of expectations do you have for the development of local contemporary art?
Things have been change progressively in Indonesian contemporary art scene, although we still pursuing another things to create a ideal condition: There are more support from government, the amount of art space that support young artist is increasing, public awareness is uniquely rising, and more art practices connect and related to the public.
Have you ever worked with other art spaces?
Yes, refer to our current condition. We just moved, occupied, sharing resources with other Jakarta-based collectives (Serrum, Forum Lenteng, Grafis Huru Hara, are to name a few), a warehouse and dubbed it Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem (gudangsarinah.com).
Please, describe briefly your organization. Are all member’s artists?
Managerially, we de-grow from 30-40 people in the end of 2014, to around 10 people now. But in reality, our practices are expanding, as when we say “we”, we no longer referring to only ruangrupa now. We are this unidentified mass of a mess who operates and moves in a way that is still mysterious, even for ourselves. We are figuring things out again. Not all members is artist, some is musician, some is architect, some is writers, some other are teachers.
Do you have a space? Is it open for everyone to visit?
Yes, we have it now in Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem. Basically a 24/7 space that everyone could come and visit.
In general, who takes care of the space?
ruangrupa alongside with Serrum and Forum Lenteng, has been established a business unit division called RURU Corps and now they are the one who responsible to manage and running the space.