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The Making of an Institution — Reason to Exist: The Director’s Review. Talk by Alec Steadman (United Kingdom/Indonesia) and Sanne Oorthuizen (Netherlands/Indonesia), Co-Chief Curators, Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

12 Apr 2017, Wed 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road

Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society (formerly “Cemeti Gallery”, then “Cemeti Art House”) is the oldest platform for contemporary art in Indonesia. Now in its 30th year, the artist founders have stepped aside from the day-to-day running of the organisation, staying on to advise as chairs of the board. The new team has started their role by taking a moment for public reflection to think through possible futures for the institution.

Instead of rolling out a fully developed programme, they are using 2017 to recalibrate, envisioning Cemeti as being “down for maintenance” (like a website), whilst being open to the public.

By conceptually taking the institution offline through Maintenance Works, several questions are addressed: What are the key social and political urgencies in the city, country and region? What is the social and political agency of art practice? What can institutions (of art) do? What is a gallery for? How do we work together?

In this talk, Alec Steadman and Sanne Oorthuizen will introduce Cemeti’s history, share their experience of Maintenance Works so far, as well as to dream out loud about Cemeti’s possible futures.

This talk is part of the public programme of The Making of an Institution.


Sanne Oorthuizen (Netherlands/Indonesia) is a curator, editor, translator, feminist, daughter, educator and partner. She is Co-Chief Curator at Cemeti — Institute for Art and Society, Yogyakarta, Indonesia where she is currently working with Alec Steadman on Maintenance Works, a year-long project in which they envision alternative futures for Cemeti. Previously she was Curator at Casco-Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht, Netherlands (2012—2016), curatorial team member for the SONSBEEK Triennial, Arnhem, Netherlands (2015—2016, with ruangrupa).

Alec Steadman (United Kingdom/Indonesia) is a curator and researcher. He is currently Co-Chief Curator at Cemeti — Institute for Art and Society, Yogyakarta. Previously he occupied various roles including: Curator, Arts Catalyst, London, United Kingdom (2015—2016); Exhibition Studies Research Fellow, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2015); Artistic Director, Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo, Egypt (2013—2014); Curator in Residence, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (2013), and Head of Exhibitions, Zoo Art Enterprises, London, United Kingdom (2005—2010).

Image credit: Cemeti’s dreams. Diagram with post it notes from design workshop with TUHANTU, March 2017. Courtesy the curators.