Due to a family matter, I spent some time in Istanbul at the end of September 2005.
At that time the 9th Istanbul Biennial, curated by Charles Esche and Vasif Kortun, was taking place. Escaping family commitments, I got on the ferry to visit the exhibition. Later that day I came across the theme of kaos in the ruangrupa space. Kaos means T-shirt in Indonesian and chaos in Turkish . I can still clearly remember the various posters and T-shirts of local heros turned into international icons. I was thrilled because the popular Turkish character actor Kemal Sunal was included, whom I found fascinating.
I did not meet ruangrupa at that time, but only many years later in Kassel when the Artistic Direction for documenta fifteen was announced. I was very happy that for the first time in documenta’s history a collective had been selected and appointed.
In June 2019, I received a message from ruangrupa asking if I would like to meet. I spent two days with different members—Ade, Ameng, Reza, Ajeng, Daniela, Sari, farid, Iswanto, and Andan— discussing Kassel’s history and its current socio-political situation, about how the various districts are constituted, who lives there, and what each part of the city says. We ate together, visited specific places, and met with local groups and initiatives. I was impressed by the attention, accuracy, and also humor with which ruangrupa approached topics and contexts. After this meeting, ruangrupa asked if I was interested in joining the Artistic Team. One week later I said yes and took part in the first meeting of the extended Artistic Team in the hilly rainforests near Sukabumi. Here a collective thinking began as a working practice to explore what documenta fifteen can and should be, not only in 2022, but before as well as after.