Anca Rujoiu: What form did the collaboration with the initiative Dapur Umum 56 (Public Kitchen) take in the context of this year’s edition of Jogja Biennial and in what ways did it connect with the biennial’s focus on the Pacific region?
Elia Nurvista: In this Jogja Biennale, Dapur Umum 56 (Public Kitchen) are eager to use art events as a vehicle to continue to experiment with the forms of redistribution suitable for the needs of those accessing the aid. During the exhibition, Dapur Umum 56 will collaborate with several collectives and communities, mostly from the East part of Indonesia, such as the student community from Lembata, Fak-Fak, and Tidore to give a response by cooking and sharing food-related strategies in emergencies. For example they use the tagline: makan disini rasa disana (literally means ‚eating here, taste over there (east)) so it’s about how they adapt some of the ingredients which are not easily found in Jogja. Another example is Mama Fun, a female activist who cooks corn as substitute for rice because the abundant of corn rather than rice in their place. The purpose of focusing in the east part of Indonesia not only because of this edition of the Biennale was working with Oceania, but also we feel there are still many racial and stereotyping discrimination facing by east people in Yogyakarta.
By utilizing the structure and publicity of the Biennale platform, Dapur Umum 56 tries to become a place for sharing for collaborators, donors, as well as beneficiaries of Dapur Umum 56.
Digital Solitude: With the online presentation of the project in the frame of the Web Residency you aimed to archive the research and share what you and the Bakudapan study group have learned about food scarcity/security. What were new aspects and what challenges did you have in translating a local community project into an online (archival) environment?
I think within this online platform there are still possibilities that we lose something, like proximity, understanding gesture, the bodily experiences, therefore it’s such a challenge to build on solidarity without physically meeting each other or even speak different languages. But also at the same time I am open to new experiences of learning and understanding something that is unfamiliar with us and still thinking about solidarity.
Digital Soliutde: The strategies you share are linked to economic aspects and your project focuses on people and communities with limited income. Do you think that solidarity has a higher value in regions and communities that are financially more vulnerable?
It’s not only about the financially vulnerable, but mostly with the injustice of accessibility for those who are engaged with struggles for the right to self-determination and sovereignty over basic human needs. It can be access to food, health facilitation, or being a documented citizen for some immigration cases, and so on.
The interview was conducted by Anca Rujoiu in collaboration with Denise Helene Sumi (Digital Solitude)