POST D: ‘The World Won’t Listen’ – Karina Smole

‘dunia tak akan mendengar’ Video Installation by Phil Collins.

The cultural flourishing of Indonesia and its growing connectivity to the world, after years of turmoil and oppression under the Suharto dictatorship, is evident in the work of English artist Phil Collins’ video installation ‘The World Won’t Listen’. The three-part video installation, showcases fans of the English indie rock band ‘The Smiths’ in Indonesia singing karaoke to the tracks of the album ‘The World Won’t Listen’. It is an exploration of the concept of fandom and the global outreach of pop culture, where the sentiments of ‘The Smiths’ find a voice in Indonesian youth culture – very distant from its origins in 1980s England. (E-flux 2007)

The expansion of alternative culture in Indonesia surged through the demise of the new order regime, where culture was controlled by formal institutions (Kunci Cultural Studies Centre 2009) and was extremely formal and rigid. Along with the rising contemporary art scene,(delete extra space) the onset of globalisation and greater expression of the people allowed for obscure bands like ‘The Smiths’ to find their place in Indonesian culture. E-Flux gallery describes the cities of Jakarta and Bandung as ‘hotbeds of the flowering rock scene’, where the project was filmed. (E-flux 2007) The music scene is highly diverse – with everything from psychadelic rock, grunge and Beatles inspired bands, all however uniquely Indonesian alongside foreign pop references. Essentially the sentiments of bands like the Smiths, pain, confusion, self-analysis are universal and in this sense find parallels in the experiences of youth in Indonesia. There is a level of fascination within the Indonesian music scene with pop culture of the western world, which Collins taps into within ‘The World Won’t Listen’.  (E-flux 2007)  The idea of ‘alternative culture’, of dissatisfaction with the norm, and the desire for individual expression is alive and present in Indonesia and respresentated by the fandom of Indonesians for bands like ‘The Smiths’.

Interestingly, is Collins’ use of beautiful backgrounds in the karaoke sequences, with places that contrast the Indonesian fans. For example, the use of the Arizona Desert behind the subjects. This successfully reinforces the idea that Indonesia is accessing and interpreting the greater world of pop culture, where physical place no long provides boundary to the desire for self-expression. It is a significant sign of a new age in Indonesian culture, where it can borrow and find resonance with the outside world, mixing to form its own unique identity. (NY Times 2013) The rock music of Indonesia today is this combination of old and new, and both Indonesian culture and western pop references, speaking to an audience that is no longer solely bound by traditional culture but has access to a highly spirited alternative culture. (NY Times 2013


Still from the youtube video:

‘The World Won’t Listen’ By Artist Phil Collins



E-flux 2007, The World Won’t Listen, New York, viewed 20 April 2015, <;

Henrik Nillson 2009, The Smiths Karaoke, video recording, YouTube, viewed 20 April 2015, <;

Kunci Cultural Studies Centre 2009,  Alternative Space as a New Cultural Movement Landscape of Creativity, Indonesia, viewed April 20 2015 <;

NY Times 2013, In Indonesia, A New Freedom to Explore, New York, viewed 20 April 2015 <;

Karina Smole

POST B: Design Initiative – Karina Smole

The issues of homelessness and urban waste are hugely prominent in Indonesia. (Jakarta Post 2009) They are two issues that artist Gregory Kloehn similarly identified in the urban areas of Oakland California – the multitude of trash dumped on the street and the lack of shelter for the homeless. In a community driven initiative he has created homes for the homeless out of this waste, solving two problems in one design. Design boom describes the homes as ‘a low-cost, practical and imaginative solution for the construction of habitable shelters for those living on the streets’. (Designboom 2014)

Kloehn makes a use for ‘illegally dumped trash, commercial waste and excess household items piled in alleyways and discarded throughout the city’ (Designboom 2014) in a highly constructive and ingenious way. The garbage becomes useful and even aesthetically interesting in Kloehn’s constructions, and while they are basic designs they still employ design principles of shape, colour and form in their composition. They have slanted roofs to allow rain to run off and include wheels so that they are portable and suitable for the nomadic nature of the homeless person. They also include skylights and windows in their basic, but functional design. The less ‘cutesy’ looking designs are more successful, as they in no way take the seriousness out of the situation they are addressing, however perhaps draw attention towards it. The concept of repurposing waste as opposed to simply collecting it in a different way prolongs its usefulness and encourages its use in other avenues of architecture, even starting at this small scale.

The project has garnered huge community interest, with Kolehn starting workshops to teach those interested how to build these structures. Social media has allowed people to donate money in order to fund these classes and the minor extra materials necessary for building. (Designboom 2014) This is a fully not-for-profit initiative that has garnered increasing attention and the realisation that through more and more people harbouring the skills to build the houses, both the dire situations of many homless and the level of waste dumped around the city could be improved. (Designboom 2014)

Pollution is a huge issue from villages to cities in Indonesia, (Daily Mail 2014) many homeless collect plastic and other rubbish for small amounts of money, whilst living within this urban waste on the street (Jakarta Post 2009). The idea of this waste being useful in an immediate and productive way, presents many design possibilities and is very inspirational. Projects such as Kloenhn’s not only provide solutions through design but bring people together and highlight the issues they are addressing.


(designboom 2014)


Jakarta Post 2009, Trash Pickers Cash in on Political Rallies, viewed 25 April 2015, <;

Designboom 2014, Trash Houses for the Homeless, USA, viewed 28 April 2015, <;

Daily Mail 2014, The River you can’t see for Rubbish, UK, viewed 25 April 2015, <;

POST A: What does design mean in different contexts? – Karina Smole

Design & Context

Design is strongly shaped through its context – its responsive to the people, culture and issues of its environment. The designer is never focused on a single action within design practice in isolation. There is always a greater influence and intent at work, whether the designer is conscious of this or not. Every individual senses something unique in response to a stimulus…whether its a sound, image, or simply an emotion. A design utilises its context and is often contigent to its context. The design is not purely representational or isolated – the connection of that object with its context becomes vital. It responds to the needs of the people and environment it exists within ( Roderiguez, D. 2010 )the materials and the platforms for the design are part of this local context. It is also the broader connection with culture and history that becomes the context for the design.

Indonesia has always had a strong visual and artisanal culture – from Batik fabrics to traditional crafts and architecture. This tradiitonal context for design was firmly enforced under the Dictatorship, however naturally, the yearning for more contemporary culture and new ideas grew increasingly stronger. The context of design in Indonesia was changing – external world influences were influencing the culture, new technology and new ways of thinking, and therefore designs responded differently to this new environment.  The presence and discussion around design entered less formal spaces of galleries and museums to alternative spaces of cafes. (Jakarta Post 2012) Towards the 21st century cities were expanding, people were moving and continue to urbanise, presenting a multitude of new and different issues for designs to respond to. Issues such as pollution, over-crowding, insufficient transport systems, multi-culturalism and globaisation require different design solutions. As the context of Indonesia changes, design must respond to this change.

A very contemporary example of design in Indonesia that is highly contextual is the newly designed space ‘The Playroom’ (Indonesia Design, 2015) which provides a hollistic entertainment venue as traffic conditions are so congested its too difficult for people in the area to travel to the mroe entertainment centric areas further away. The design is both sophisticated yet cartoonish, and is intended to provide patrons with nostaliga to their own childhood – visuals and sentiments which are highly tied to their local context. (Indonesia Design, 2015) Design is constantly responding to the people and their changing desires and needs. In Indonesia the blurring of lines between the country and city contexts as well as the influences of globalisation on society result in a rapidly changing context, where design can lead certain lifestyles and behaviours directly.

Indonesia Design, 2015, All Fun and Games at the Playroom, Indonesia, viewed 21 April 2015, <;

Roderiguez, D. 2010, ‘Why Design Matters’, Business Week, 01 February, viewed 25 April 2015, <;

The Jakarta Post 2012, Arts Collective Evolution, Jakarta, Indonesia, viewed 29 April 2015,  <;IMG_0426-300x200

‘The Playroom’, (Indonesia Design, 2015)

POST C: Art and Design Collectives in Indonesia – Karina Smole

Art and Design Collectives in Indonesia

Art and Design in Indonesia has blossomed since the end of the Suharto dictatorship, fuelled by the people’s desire for self expression and in response to a changing urbanised landscape. (Modern Art Edition 2012) Under the rule of Suharto, the arts were very much segregated to the formal and the traditional. In discussion with visual comunications student Intan Purnamasari, it appears the contemporary arts scene is still very much driven from, or responding to, traditional arts and crafts. “There is lots of Batik and Wayang, which are traditional arts, we still want to maintain and keep the culture of Batik and Wayang.” (2015, pers. comm., 29 April) However, while keeping that tradition alive, Intan explains that there are modern interpretations of these artforms. Similarly in painting, a uniquely Indonesian hybrid of modern and traditional exists – for example the works of Gusti Agung Istri, an female artist part of the Seniwati Arts Collective. Her paintings are highly refined and traditional, yet also have modern references in technique and composition.

Progressive collectives such as The Seniwati Arts Collective are extremely important in expanding modern arts and design in Indonesia. Intan laments that she believes the contemporary art and design scene, in her experience, is something you have to actively seek in her home city of Jakarta (2015, pers. comm., 29 April) – it is still something quite underground. Seniwati promotes female Indonesian artists in the alternative sphere of arts – rejected by the mainstream. They currently represent 22 artists that are highly diverse – producing contemporary works to traditional paintings. As well has having a permanent gallery space in Batu Bulan, they have also established ‘The Imagination Club’ where neighbourhood children develop their creativity and artistic talents. (Modern Art Edition 2012) The group is encourages and empowers women and their role in the arts scene, where they are hugely under-represented. The collective has a very important place in a changing the Indonesian art scene and is gradually gaining international recognition. (The Jakarta Post 2012,)

As Indonesia progresses and changes, influenced by globalisation and urbanisation processes, this is reflected in the contemporary arts scene. Intan identified the high density of the population, and subsequent traffic and pollution issues as key problems in her experiences of living in Jakarta. (2015, pers. comm., 29 April) The expansion and over-crowding of cities brings up questions of identity, that tradition and tighter-knit community living perhaps once solidified. Artists such as Mella Jaarsma question what constructs identity in works such Moral Pointers (Modern Art Edition 2012). Indonesian artists and designers are responding to a changing environment, where the search for new senses of identity firmly shapes their practices.


Mella Jaarsma’s ‘Moral Pointers’

(Modern Art Edition 2012)


2015, pers. comm., 29 April

Modern Art Edition 2012, Indonesian Contemporary Art, Indonesia, viewed 20 April 2015, <;

The Jakarta Post 2012, Arts Collective Evolution, Jakarta, Indonesia, viewed 29 April 2015, <;