Artist statement from Togar: ‘For me, all things are connected: from atom level to larger societal structures. I am fascinated by the fact that that even small interventions can change something to form new, sustainable support systems. Most, if not all, of my practice derive from rhythms and systems. It depends on the context how I engage with those systems, from preserving to initiating, intervening, supporting, negotiating, hacking, questioning, etc. The closest I may come is to say that my practice is trans-disciplinary and exists on the intersection of sound/music, DIY-engineering, research, biohacking, activism and more. It formulate into an installation, video, audio, gig, happening, events, or anything. As an artist, I always consider how I can function within my surrounding realities. It also made it easier for me to move between systems, therefore I am afforded with the chance to choose what, when and how I contribute. The question is always: How can I put that luxury to use? The broader question is how to best engage with systems? I would like to be able to look at things up close and from afar, from the personal and micropolitics to the universal language of art (if such a thing exists).’
Julian Abraham ‘Togar’ about his first year at the Rijksakademie:
Dear Marinus Plantema Foundation, first of all I would like to express my gratitude for your support in order to make my residency at Rijksakademie possible. Being at Rijksakademie is I would say has been an important step for me to understand how arts and cultures impacted our everyday life from an individual point of view and as a fellow practitioners in the field of arts and cultures. Coming to the Netherlands from Indonesia hasn’t been easy to me. It was rather difficult given the fact of the shared history between the Netherlands and Indonesia, and with the fact that it was happening during the hardest time of our age. There were many doubts around the idea of how art can still serves certain functions in our society, while constantly questioning the role of an artist and art practitioners that often expected to deliver certain understanding from various difficult matters in the middle of global pandemic. But even with that complexities and difficulties I was able to at least build basic understanding about my new environment thanks to the opportunity that was provided by Rijksakademie. In the beginning of lockdown, I decided to buy a drum sets. The idea came up naturally to me because I learn to play drum since I was 11 years old and something that I miss to do and since there is not much to do so I decided to buy the drums and start practicing regularly in my studio. The campus at that time was too quiet it makes me uncomfortable. Me playing drum then, at least for a few residences perceived as a way to give a signal of life. The sound travels through the building to inform that at least there is someone in the building, me, playing drum. And because of that, occasionally, fellow residences knock on my door and come to visit my studio and we start to talk, to update each others states of mind while still trying to figuring out and navigating through the limitation of being together. As the season progresses, fellow residences gradually bringing in their own musical instruments to my studio, we occasionally have a jamming session together and it became a habitual way of socialising through the idea of playing music together. The studio that I inhibit/manage then become a regular jamming spaces for most of the residences. The jamming activity is somehow become a big part of my development as a person going through the year of the residency. I often have to borrow equipment from the media lab or to buy an equipment to support jamming activity while also thinking what I need to do in order to support my personal exploration as an artist.
And through that mechanism of organising and managing my studio, I developed an understanding on how to always welcoming other residences at any time either to chat, jamming, listened to musics, or sharing ideas, discussing certain texts, recoding musics, recording radio drama, screening a film, dinners, meditation, etc. With that spirit me and a few friends now developing an online communal space in the form of online radio, called Ragadigiogo. You can check it on https://ragadigiogo.net. The idea was to continue and develop ways to keep practicing listening and transmitting. And I wanted to start to make a record label to release sound through analog medium like cassettes, cds, or vinyl to distributes some of the sound experimentation, jamming, poetry, speech, quotes, that comes from my studio as the one sites of productions. Right after the Open Studios, I move 75% of my studio to De Appel, to be part of Kundiman para sa mag salbahe (Love songs for the savages) a project in fellowship with Iris Ferrer, and Kent Chan. Right now I wanted to continue to do what am doing, to keep exploring on the idea around listening and somehow contribute back to the practices of listening itself. I really hope that I can develop something while am in Amsterdam and still be functioning to my immediate surroundings, at the very least. And I hope through that process, I could carry some of it back home, and still functioning the way it should and generates other means of practicing listening. Once again, thank you for your generosity to support my residency through the fellowships. It means a lot to me. Warmest regards, Togar This was a temporary project at the Appel until July and my studio moved right back to the Rijksakademie after July 4.