ruangrupa started from friendships and networks among students of art schools in Jakarta and Yogyakarta during the mid 1990s. It became an organization in 2000, two years after the fall of the New Order regime, which had restricted freedom of expression and freedom of assembly for 32 years.
From its inception, ruangrupa has dedicated its own space and resources to enabling young people to meet, share, experiment, and collaborate as a means of developing fresh ideas for the creation of contemporary art in the context of urban life in Jakarta. This principle of regarding young people as bearers of new perspectives and different contemporary sensibilities has accompanied ruangrupa in all its activities and led, among other things, to the founding of the initiative Jakarta 32℃ (2004–ongoing), which was established as a student’s forum and biannual art event.
Against this background, ruangrupa invited students from Kassel and Jakarta to collaborate and take part in developing documenta fifteen’s visual identity. From more than twenty submissions by individuals and groups, a jury composed of members of ruangrupa, documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, and documenta’s Artistic Team selected two winning projects, one from Jakarta and one from Kassel. The teams submitted two very different concepts and each team has been given the opportunity to pursue their own approach: The main visual identity of documenta fifteen will be developed by the Jakarta team, Studio 4oo2, while the Kassel team, kmmn_practice, will realize their concept of an open access platform for public participation trough parts of of the exhibition’s visual design.