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DISTANZ releases interview book with ruangrupa

This year’s documenta will be curated by a collective for the first time in its history. Another first: the artistic directors come from Asia. ruangrupa is an association of nine friends who unconditionally combine art with their everyday lives as a practice of living and surviving together under the socioeconomic conditions of their native Indonesia. Fourteen other collectives, so-called lumbung members, have been invited to join ruangrupa in transforming Kassel into a new, sustainable ekosistem. Lumbung, the Indonesian term for a communal rice barn, is the starting point for all their activities and also this documenta.

“Our curatorial approach strives for a different kind of collaborative model of resource use—in economic terms but also with regard to ideas, knowledge, programs and innovations.” —ruangrupa

Founded in 2000, the transformation and rewriting of history and authorship lie at the core of ruangrupa’s artistic and curatorial projects. Their collective practice is based on an alternative, community-oriented model of social, ecological, and economic sustainability. Everything is based on social participation. Everything develops out of values like humor, generosity, and local anchoring instead of idealized premises or superstructures. What makes ruangrupa special is that they not only share ideas and knowledge, but also distribute their financial resources among all members and friends in the form of a basic income.

In this volume of the book series Thoughts on Collective Practice ruangrupa talks about their beginnings, the harsh struggle for survival under the Suharto regime in Indonesia, the post-dictatorship euphoria, student protests, punk, and video culture. About their first art projects, maintaining solidary social relationships, the Indonesian tradition of sharing, and their unusual approach to resources.

The autobiographical conversations are supplemented by five exemplary glimpses into ruangrupa’s projects since 2003 and unpublished archival material.

The Collective Eye (TCE), founded 2012 in Montevideo, organizes exhibitions and symposia on collective practice in art. The collective has pursued a partnership with DISTANZ since 2021, publishing the book series Thoughts on Collective Practice as an extended collective between the publishing team and TCE.  Their practice aims to strengthen polynational dialogues between different collectives as well as between collectives and theorists. The volume of conversations with ruangrupa is the fourth installation in the series.

The Collective Eye: In Conversation with ruangrupa—Thoughts on Collective Practice
Eds. The Collective Eye / Dominique Lucien Garaudel, Heinz-Norbert Jocks,
Emma Nilsson; and Matthias Kliefoth
German and English edition
Softcover, 17 × 24 cm
192 pages, 82 color images
ISBN  978-3-95476-466-2 (English edition)
ISBN  978-3-95476-465-5 (German edition)
24 EUR / 35 USD
Release June 2022

The publication is available here.