Berlin Yogyakarta – Discovering Kampungs

08 Jan 2013 | Lars Hayer - Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Beside the return to physical verticality due to the low construction profile of the city, Yogya and my stay at KUNCI offered me a new access to possible involvement with existing communities. The former SCAPE/SPACE project as well as the current activity of the Bon Swung collective with the people on Ledok Timoho provoked a rather radical shift in my perception of the 'wasteland' spaces. The past and ongoing critical questioning of the term 'waste' in the WTN title among the partners of the network was brought to a new level for me: how to conceptually have coexist an artist 'playground' worth 10+ Million Euros (Köpibrache Berlin) and a densely populated space where the inhabitants seek for a form of legitimacy (Ledok Timoho)?

Ledok Timoho developed in the continuity of large areas of the city's centre along the Code river, where 30-40 years ago the early settlers still ran a slum like existence before developing, little by little, to the typical Indonesian 'Kampungs'. Today, these Kampungs seem to offer a minimum of existential 'convenience', the many inhabitants I met during a walk through these little quarters appear to be able to run a halfway decent live. Kids play on the alleys in the afternoon, men meet to chat and have a kopi and smoke cigarettes. One of the main income sources are the private industries: fabrication of sandals, bags, umbrellas, etc. in small workshops in private houses, often with reclaimed materials and leftovers ('waste') of the more advanced and globalized consumption habits.

Space is limited though, and along the Code river banks the emerging space, when not covered by flood, is appropriated by the neighboring inhabitants in a similar way as on the Ghats in Guwahati: kids play football, laundry dries in the sun and along the river channel walls small basins even serve for breeding goldfish. All until the next flood comes through...

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