This gets a little complicated although the March 8, 2022 University of Göttingen press release (also on EurekAlert) starts out simply,
Festival in Indonesia and exhibition in Forum Wissen Göttingen [Germany]
Keeping the environment unspoilt, promoting social equality and strengthening sustainability – this is what connects researchers from the University of Göttingen and the university in Jambi on Sumatra with artists from Indonesia and documenta fifteen. Together, they are organising a festival in Permatang Kabau, a village on the island of Sumatra, as part of a collaboration for the contemporary art exhibition documenta, which will be held this year for the fifteenth time. The festival of Semah Bumi (balancing, serving, seeding) will feature concerts, art exhibitions and theatre performances from 12 to 13 March 2022. Starting with the question “What do we want our village to look like in twenty years?”, the participants will formulate their wishes for the future and develop common goals from the perspective of sustainability in the region.
“The holistic approach of our research offers a variety of opportunities to answer questions about sustainability and human-environment interactions from an artistic perspective,” says Professor Alexander Knohl, head of the Bioclimatology Research Group at Göttingen University. The Collaborative Research Centre EFForTS brings more than one hundred researchers from Indonesia and Göttingen together to study the changing ecological and socioeconomic functions of tropical lowland rainforests. They work to find out how the inhabitants of Sumatra can use their land more sustainably, promote biodiversity and, at the same time, meet the local needs.
The village of Pematang Kabau is the perfect spot for this: years ago there were extensive tropical forests there, but today the landscape is dominated by rubber and oil palm plantations. The effects of change are therefore also the focus of the Semah Bumi festival. “This festival connects art, science, nature and society,” says Adhari Donora from Rumah Budaya Sikukeluang, a collective of artists from Sumatra, who are responsible for the artistic conception of the festival. The artists – including Rani Jambak, Helmi Hardian, Uncle Twist and Ismet Raja Tengah Malam – and the researchers want to exchange information with the local community about the latest findings in sustainability research. In addition, they plan to initiate a long-term project, based on local experience, to mix palm oil monocultures with native tree species. Documenta fifteen is supporting this project along with many long-term sustainability projects and one euro from every documenta fifteen ticket sold will go towards these.
The results will be on display at an exhibition at the Forum Wissen Göttingen from June 2022. In parallel to documenta fifteen, visitors will be able to experience the social and ecological dimensions of research in Indonesia from different perspectives.
For further information, see the festival’s Instagram account www.instagram.com/semahbumi/, or find out more about the Collaborative Research Centre EFForTS: https://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/310995.html
Here’s more about Semah Bumi from its webpage on the Documenta Fifteen website,
Semah Bumi Festival of Science, Nature, Society and the Arts, Jambi, Indonesia, 2022
The Sustainable Village Project is a collaboration between documenta fifteen and the Collaborative Research Centre 990: Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems in Sumatra, Indonesia (EFForTS) of the University of Göttingen, Germany. Together they initiated this research project to diversify palm oil monocultures with native tree species.
The project’s overall aim is to explore and implement more sustainable land use and value chain management in two villages in Jambi Province, Indonesia, starting in the village of Pematang Kabau. The results will be presented to the public at Forum Wissen in Göttingen in 2022, taking place at the same time as documenta fifteen.
In March 2022, the first two workshops of this long-term sustainability project will occur during the Semah Bumi Festival in Pematang Kabau. Participants are invited to reflect on their hopes for Pematang Kabau and to try and develop a common vision for the future in answer to the question, “What should our village look like in twenty years?”
The organizers have provide a visual image,
Getting back to the Semah Bumi webpage on the Documenta Fifteen website,
The Sustainable Village Project’s research experiences a stronger local anchor through its collaboration with the festival, hosted by the artist collective Rumah Budaya Sikukeluang from the province of Riau in Sumatra.
Various artists will undertake a residency in Pematang Kabau a month before the start of the festival. During this time, they will work collectively to observe, recognize, and experience the local environment and its community while having access to the research of the Sustainable Village Project. Later, the artists and collectives in residence will produce artworks based on their explorations and collaborate on one shared project, which will be led by the local participants and presented during the festival.
It doesn’t look like there will be a livestreaming or online events for those of us unable to attend Semah Bumi in person.
The sustainability bit
Here’s more about the sustainability project from the Collaborative Research Centre 990: Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems in Sumatra, Indonesia (EFForTS),
Collaborative Research Centre 990: Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia) (Phase 3: 2020 – 2023)
Over the last decades, the lowlands of Jambi province in Sumatra (Indonesia) have undergone a major transformation from forests towards a cash crop-dominated landscape of rubber and oil palm plantations. EFForTS is a Collaborative Research Centre 990 funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) that investigates the ecological and socio-economic effects of such transformation based on research carried out in the Bukit Duabelas and Hutan Harapan area in Jambi province focusing on smallholder systems.
In the EFForTS project, more than 160 researchers from the University of Göttingen in Germany and the Indonesian universities IPB University (Bogor), UNTAD (Tadulako University, Palu) and UNJA (University of Jambi) work in close cooperation, representing a wide range of disciplines including ecology, forestry, agriculture, remote sensing, economics, human geography, and cultural anthropology.
The art bit
There are two artist collectives involved. Rumah Budaya Sikukeluang in Sumatra is hosting the Semah Bumi festival and workshops (March 12 – 13, 2022) in Pematang Kabau, Indonesia. ruangrupa, a Jakarta-based artist collective, is providing artistic direction for documenta 15 (June 8, – September 25, 2022 in Kassel, Germany).
Before describing documenta 15, here’s an introduction to documenta (from its Wikipedia essay), Note: Links have been removed,
documenta is an exhibition of contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. It was founded by artist, teacher and curator Arnold Bode in 1955 as part of the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticultural Show) which took place in Kassel at that time. It was an attempt to bring Germany up to speed with modern art, both banishing and repressing the cultural darkness of Nazism. This first documenta featured many artists who are generally considered to have had a significant influence on modern art (such as Picasso and Kandinsky). The more recent documentas feature art from all continents; nonetheless most of it is site-specific.
Every documenta is limited to 100 days of exhibition, which is why it is often referred to as the “museum of 100 days”. Documenta is not a selling exhibition. It rarely coincides with the three other major art world events: the Venice Biennale, Art Basel and Skulptur Projekte Münster, but in 2017, all four were open simultaneously.
Here’s more about Documenta Fifteen,
ruangrupa is the Artistic Direction of the fifteenth edition of documenta. The Jakarta-based artists’ collective has built the foundation of their documenta fifteen on the core values and ideas of lumbung (Indonesian term for a communal rice barn). lumbung as an artistic and economic model is rooted in principles such as collectivity, communal resource sharing, and equal allocation, and is embodied in all parts of the collaboration and the exhibition.
In parallel with Kassel-based documenta 15 (June 8, – September 25, 2022), Forum Wissen, an academic museum, at the University of Göttingen, will display results from the Semah Bumi Festival and workshops held in Indonesia.