Nuraini Juliastuti

Commons Museums: Ecological Archivist Thinking and Alternative Vision for the Future

My research is about alternative spaces that work to develop radical visions of community-based living strategies through radical pedagogies and ecological archivist thinking. I study various independent initiatives in Gunung Kidul (Yogyakarta), Mollo (East Nusa Tenggara), and Surabaya (East Java), all of which are situated at the intersection of archival work and alternative pedagogies. The projects narrated in this research are characterised by self-organisation and the institutionalisation of cultural production. I conceptualise these spaces as commons museums, which means they activate their spaces as public platforms that connect with local histories and learn about the social environment. Their practices revolve around areas in which reflection, imagining, and thinking about precariousness and futurity inform ones sense of connection with the notion of sustainability. Developing alternative schools means counteracting state-built educational institutions and establishing contextual education. It also means posing direct questions about the aftertaste of IndonesiaNew Order regime, the nationneoliberal restructuring, and the globalisation of the agricultural sectorArt practices have emerged between the urgent need to do something about these issues and posing contemporary questionsBy practising artcommons museums establish practical and embodied vessels through which to seek connections with repressed memories, as well as forgotten and indigenous knowledge. In these independent institutionsthe work of the political imagination is propelled by art undertaken through archiving practices. 

The people in Skol Tomolok, Lakoat Kujawas, are practising a kind of contextual education that is designed and planned by the community. They document their food and rewrite their folk tales. They archive the old wisdom and learn how to interpret the star constellations.

In the Pagesangan School, people learn how to study together in a different manner. They observe the edible plants that grow in their surroundings, learn how to go back to being farmers and subsistence culture.