Alongside Lifepatch (a citizen arts and science organisation in Indonesia), The British Council and ThinkWeb (a digital agency in Indonesia) we have been working to foster new female (or those who do not predominantly identify as male*) led practice with creative technology. The project aims to stimulate new creative practice and build relationships between practitioners and organisations in the UK and Indonesia.
BOM and Lifepatch worked together for 2 years to understand the issues affecting women in Indonesia and devise pathways to new solutions. This included a residency by the BOM team to Indonesia in 2016, and a two month residency in Birmingham for female members of Lifepatch. From these activities, we formed three areas of interest.
- Gender: non-binary* cultures, histories and queer spaces
- Islamophobia: Rising cultural tensions, social cohesion
- Neuroscience: Art and neuroscience, modern vs alternative medicine
From these areas, we focused on gender and devised the project: Sarinah, apa kabarmu? (Sarinah, how are you?) It takes its name from the title of a book written by the first President of Indonesia, Soekarno, who led Indonesia to Independence in 1945. The book Sarinah: Kewadjiban wanita dalam perdjoangan Republik Indonesia (literally translated – The female obligations in the struggle of the Indonesian Republic) reflects on perceptions of gender roles as a social construct, comparing religious views (Islam / God’s will).
The title asks important questions about the current political and economic state from which to position a new female-centred programme. It asks for care and consideration in approaching complex trans-cultural issues, and prompts us to investigate past beliefs, experiences and cultures. It causes us to re-think perspectives and imagine new possibilities for a different creative economy.
As part of Sarinah, apa kabarmu? (Sarinah, how are you?) we wanted to create an open source map that detailed practitioners who do not predominately identify as male and are creating work that explores gender through creative technology and/or digital modes.
If you know of practitioners who fit this criteria please email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet their name and #sarinah to @BOMLab
2019 will see us collaborating with ThinkWeb to develop a programme which will expand opportunities for people who do not predominantly identify as male to gain employment in the creative/digital industries
* Non-binary. Non-binary people do not identify within the margins of gender binary (the classification of sex and gender in two distinct forms of masculine and feminine.) Instead, they understand their gender in a way that goes beyond simply identifying as either a man or woman. They may identify with both male and female identities or with neither.
* those who do not predominantly identify as male. A persons gender identity is theirs and theirs alone & we do not want to assume another persons gender or label them. Someone who does not predominantly identify as male may identify as female, both female and male or neither.