Chess Park

Artist: Saleh Husein, Dua Kuda Poni
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Year: 2009
Researcher: Stella Prasetya

As part of Jakarta Biennale 2009, Saleh Husein in collaboration with Duo Kuda Poni has conducted site-specific artworks that involved a public interaction along with the process in creating a public space.

Utilization of a space has been an issue for people in Jakarta to create a space that enables people to interact through numbers of public activities. As a metropolis, Jakarta, Indonesia has always been a target of rapid urbanisation every year. Within the rapid flow of urbanisation, local government has not been able to balance with the pace of urban space development. Since public spaces necessities for people has been replaced by the development of highway and commercially interest spaces. As a result underneath flyover became the target of space utilization by people in Jakarta; nevertheless they still need to compete with private sector that attempt to utilize the space as commercial interest such as parking lot.

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Chess Park is created through artists’ collaboration with chess community that has been using the space frequently. Situated underneath flyover near Tebet train station, South Jakarta, the space that was considered to be a dead space has become a place of interaction through chess activities by local citizen. Since the activity is unlisted in the municipal office, this community has always been targeted by sudden police raid; although this positive activity has contributed to the neighbourhood safety.

Based on the related issue, Saleh Husein and Duo Kuda Poni observed the potentiality of public space creation to become Chess Park and Jakarta Biennale 2009 art festival supported artists’ intention in the process of legitimating the park. The observation took one month through the process of communication and brainstorming with local citizen.

In order to authorise the site, two column of highway structure was painted by mural painting of two black and white chess piece complemented with the chess community title. Moreover the park is equipped with portable table that has chessboard painted on the surface along with seating arrangement that was designed to accommodate 16 people. As an anticipation attempt of sudden police raid, the community requested the table leg to be detachable.

Saleh Husein and Duo Kuda Poni (Yusmario Farabi and Aprilia Apsari) envision in restoring the potentiality of city space as a public space through public engagement in public art creation. This is a means of public education in perceiving the conception of public space as a shared space.

The project was based on the observation of space utilisation issue to be used as public activities in Jakarta. With the rapid flow of urbanisation, people have to compete with private sector to have a space for public activities, there are numbers of activities that has been conducted illegaly. Through this project, Saleh Husein and Duo Kuda Poni has enabled a community to legitimate their space as a community park. The project has given an impact for community building in that area, in which has given a conception for the society of public space as a shared space.

Jakarta Biennale 2009 has supported the artists project in legitimating the space for public activities. Through an observation that involves public engagement, Saleh Husein and Duo Kuda Poni has identified the issue that the community faced. To legitimise the space, Saleh Husein and Duo Kuda Poni painted both column of highway structure with mural painting and equipped the space with a portable chess board table.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency