ORDE BARU OK. VIDEO – INDONESIA MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL 2015
Exhibition, Screening, Multimedia performance, Open Lab, Workshop, and Symposium
15 – 28 June 2015, Galeri Nasional Indonesia – Jakarta
50 years ago Indonesia saw a defining moment in the fight for public perception between political forces., “1 October 1965, the September 30th Movement (G-30-S) broadcast four statements from morning until noon via Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) that had been seized since the wee hours of that day. Radio was the only popular information channel accessible to most of the Indonesian population, although the national television, the TVRI, already existed then. Besides RRI, the G-30-S movement also took control of the telecommunication building. After dusk, however, units of the Army Para Commando Regiment (RPKAD) raided and seized RRI and the telecommunication building from the G-30-S movement. At 7 pm, RRI broadcast a recorded speech of Major General Suharto declaring that the G-30-S Movement had been destroyed. The next day, all mass media, electronic and print, was under the control of the army.”
These events of 50 years ago marked the starting point of control of media technology by the authoritarian New Order regime (the State), from upstream to downstream, to maintain political stability in Indonesia for the next 32 years.
The period of state control of media technology during the heyday of analog technology also occurred in other countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Such control was most vital, effective, and efficient to implement the authority’s propaganda strategy and to control the public’s perspective. This grip on media technologies loosened up around the end of Cold War as new digital media technologies emerged in late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The public began playing an increasing role in producing alternatives to the ‘official’ truth with a diversity of perspectives, while IT companies produced and marketed more affordable and accessible media technologies. Ultimately, as the analog era wound down and digital took over, states had no choice but to face their people. A contestation of two perspectives ensued and still continues to this day.
In its seventh year, OK. Video presents ‘New Order’ as its axis theme. It borrows from the name that Soeharto gave to his new regime in 1966 to distinguish it from the ‘anti-change forces of the Old Order’ under the previous leadership of Sukarno. The New Order lasted for the next 32 years until 1998.
As the festival’s central theme, New Order will confront two things: (1) the analog media technology politics controlled and used by authoritarian regimes (the state) to build public perception and resolve their problems, and (2) digital media technology politics increasingly controlled by the public after the end of Cold War that saw the fall of authoritarian regimes around the world and the onset of democracy.
Through this year’s programs series, OK. Video plays by mapping, deconstructing, even ‘nihilizing’ the strategies of authoritarian regimes to control media technology to build its simulacrum of leader’s heroism, monopoly
to truth, and uniformity of perception; even a means to resolve problems of the state.
The reading of analog media technology with digital media technology is intended to produce new perspectives of seeing history and the myths of public perception created by authoritarian regimes that prevail even to this day. The people who, during the analog era, were treated like children, naïve and weak, in need of ‘development’, while the authoritarian ruler was the benevolent and wise father figure, strong, smart, important, and grand, who does all the developing. The two will be confronted in this festival.
Since the dawn of digital technology and the internet, people around the world have acquired tools of independent communication and production as well as means of information dissemination to formulate their own problems and process data to effect or produce solutions that are applicable to real problems. During the analog era, the opportunity for democratizing media technology was closed shut. People who were ‘creative’ enough to solve their own problems have run into trouble with the State as ‘subversives’ for producing alternative information (truths) outside the official version of the regime. In digital era, this opportunity is wide open. Today, the people formulate and resolve their own problems with media technology independently and more systematically.
The choice of New Order as the theme paves the way for OK. Video festivals in the coming years for a wider artistic achievement by presenting not only temporal works (video, film, and performance) and installations, single channel or multi-channel, but also sound art, digital imaging, internet-based art, and other possibilities from works based on media technology. By pushing the boundaries further, OK. Video creates the opportunity to explore new artistic ideas and address new critical issues in regard to its central theme. This year, OK. Video also developed institutionally and established itself as Indonesia’s Media Arts Festival.