Politics of the unseen: visual practice, spirituality and resistance in contemporary Indonesia

Dr Intan Paramadhita1, Dr Wulan Dirgantoro2, Dr Edwin Jurriëns3, Ms Naomi Srikandi4, Mr Garin Nugroho5, Ms Arahmaiani Feisal5, Mr Gustaff Hariman Iskandar6

1 Lecturer, Macquarie University, 2 McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow, The University of Melbourne, 3 Senior Lecturer in Indonesian Studies, The University of Melbourne, 4 Peretas Network,
5 Independent, 6 Common Room Foundation

The roundtable discussion will examine the intimate connection between spirituality, creative practices and social empowerment through the perspective of leading Indonesian cultural producers. As the rest of the world experiences the impact of global populism, neoliberal policies and most devastatingly, climate change, Indonesia is also not immune to these issues. The panel will discuss the possibilities of agency for Indonesian society in the present as well as in the broader context of future Asias, through a renewal of traditional knowledge. The discussion will engage in practical ways of learning both from the past and the present within various communities from West Java to Papua. Rather than making a priori distinction between modern and non-modern, the speakers will discuss not only cosmologies but also on the ground observations and from varied historical and cultural points of view in contemporary Indonesia.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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