The street is a blank ‘canvas’ on which anyone can freely inscribe meanings. however, freedom is not without costs – there is an ongoing negotiation or even confrontation in the public space. Laymen and artists can create visual objects on the streets, but the government can erase them while corporations relentlessly pursue advertising space.
In response to this phenomenon, Forum Lenteng and Kampung Segart initiated a program called Visual Jalanan (‘Street Visual’). Since 2012, the program has been actively archiving and discussing visual activities on the streets—murals, graffiti, street signages, warning signs, posters, banners, or just plain writings— through the online journal visualjalanan. org and the Instagram account @visualjalanan.
The works are then displayed in the exhibition called ‘Free but Proper’, curated by Abi Rama and Andang Kelana—as part of ‘Jakarta Biennale 2015: Neither Forward nor Back.’ The exhibition gathers over a dozen of artists, both individuals and groups, who are inspired by the objects found on the streets. In January 2016, the exhibition will publish a post-event catalog.
‘Street Visual: Free but Proper’ exhibition is supported by Forum Lenteng, the Jakarta Biennale Foundation, the Jakarta Arts Council, the Jakarta Tourism and Culture Office, the Indonesia National Gallery, the Ministry of Education and Culture, Gardu House, Serrum and ruangrupa.