“Bukan-bukan” dalam Parodi Situasi, sebuah Vertigo ditengah Paradoks
“Bukan-bukan” in a Situational Parody, Vertigo in the middle of Paradox.
According to Louis Althusser, ideology plays a vital role in our entrance into the symbolic domain (language) and in our constitution as a subject (a person)1. I personally use Althusser’s perspective to understand the subject matter in this exhibition. As stated by Hawari:
’’Sedar atau tidak politik sudah meresapi dalam kehidupan seharian samada dalam institusi kekeluargaan mahupun kerajaan itu sendiri. Kebiasaan inilah yang membuatkan kita berperasaan patriotik, bersatu, demokrasi, menentang, menilai dan sebagainya. Semasa kita kecil jugalah setiap perbuatan yang terarah kepada sesuatu yang memerlukan jawapan, kita akan cenderung kepada pandangan dan juga perintah ibu bapa, dan tidak mustahil pengaruh kuat ibu bapa itulah yang akan menentukan apa saja pilihan kita.’’
”Politics is permeating in everyday life whatever the circumstances might be, whether in the family institution or even within the government itself. Habit is what makes us callously patriotic, united, democratic, against, evaluate and so on. When we were young, too, every act that is directed to something that requires a response, we will tend to see our parent’s opinion and order, and it is possible that strong influence of parents will determine what our available options are.”
Ideology leads us to the condition where ideas and notions of living the life are being cultivated. Ideology of course, as Althusser believe is formed unconsciously, it has become day-to-day rite accompanied by its substantial apparatus, yet the ideology will become the family matters as revealed by Hawari in the practice of the command of mother and father governance, which helped to provide and determine our preferences. In understanding the workings of ideology, Antonio Gramsci formulated ideology as ideas, meanings, and practices; despite looking like universal truths, it is actually the representation underpinning the meaning of certain social groups. He stated that the most important aspect of ideology is not something dispersed from the activities of practical life, but it is the factual phenomenon that has its roots in everyday conditions2.
For Gramsci, everyone put through a reflection on the world they live in, and through the ‘common sense’ of popular culture they organize their lives and experiences. Thus, common sense becomes a site of ideological conflict. Being accepted as reasonable (taken for granted), common sense would be the most important ideological conflict because it is a place where things inhabit; it is also the place where awareness of practices that guide our everyday actions resides.
At this point, a number of Hawari’s two and three dimensional artworks can be seen as deliberately acquired anthropological objects, they are the materiality of everyday life which Hawari believe also has ideological (Gramsci), or mythical (Barthes) ingredient. See the artwork of Bou(m) quet, Cerita sebuah negeri dongeng di zaman milenia (Fairy tale story in the millennium era), Rapuh (Fragile), Senjata makan tuan (Backfire), Bukan Ai Wei-Wei (Not Ai Wei-Wei), Mona kini lebih advance (Mona now is more advanced), Bukan-bukan dongengan # 1-5 (not-not mythical # 1-5). In each of these artworks, Hawari practice symbolization together with aesthetic convergence on different representations of power. Hawari’s selection of iconic symbols, invites us to find the association ourselves with the image of power: from flowers, poker card, various trapped hand gestures, black dog biting some fingers, the iron, the figure who wore ‘never sorry’ T-shirts, to the intriguing iron trap. In a number of rows of images with classic frame, we can see the gestures of the figures of woman (or man?) sitting, or standing, with dramatic actions and a contrasting ‘east-west’ background, with the atmosphere of a classic interior, till the rice field landscape.
Hawari intentionally makes his exhibition as a reflection of himself, his community and its political context, as he implied:
“Saya cuba mengkritik masyarakat dan persekitaran saya terhadap apa yang saya lihat, saya dengar dan saya baca, dan ini merupakan respon saya sebagai seorang seniman yang peka dengan cara saya sendiri. Perasaan marah saya cukup membuak-buak apabila semua benda dalam kehidupan ini sudah dipolitikkan. Samada dari isu semasa, pendidikan, agama dan malahan seni itu sendiri sudah dipolitikkan. Kekuasaan politik itu semakin menjadi-jadi dan dijadikan sebagai agenda penting dalam mencapai apa sahaja hasrat.”
“I tried to criticize the society and my surroundings to what I see, I hear, and I read, and this is my response as a sensitive artist, in my own way. My anger boiled enough when everything in this life has been politicized. Whether on current issues, education, religion and even within the art itself that has been politicized. Political power is becoming more common and serve as an important agenda to achieve whatever desired.”
As an issue, Hawari’s reflection can remind us of what is theorized by Gramsci’s two concepts of society, namely civil society (popular) and political society. The political community is the state apparatus that performs the functions of a state monopoly by coercion, which includes the army, the police, judiciary, prisons, all the administrative departments in charge of tax, financial, trade and so on. Civil society is an area where relations between groups are not done with coercion. Gramsci said that the civil society includes the private organizations such as churches, trade unions, schools, and families as well. The apostle puts his critical position on two types of people reading about it.
“Saya lahir dalam kehidupan tahun 80an dan sempat menikmati cara hidup anak-anak 80an yang semasa kecil menonton tv selepas jam 4 petang kerana siaran rancangannya kurang dan kebanyakkan berita hanya berada didada-dada akhbar dan siaran percuma melalui bualan di kedai-kedai kopi.”
“I was born in the life of the 80s and had enjoyed the way of life of children in the 80s where we were watching tv after 4pm because the broadcast plan less and most of the news was just front- page headlines and broadcasted freely over the talk at the coffee shops.”
Hawari’s contemplation explores two concepts of society, both in the realm of ‘politics’ and the jurisdiction of ‘popular’. As the generation born in post-industrial era, he is one of the artists that is interested in the question of ideology as a discourse thronged his daily life by ‘common sense’. In other words, ideological culture settles in popular culture. I think this exhibition project is a journey of Hawari’s critical-creative way to browse various ideologies that has no history as mentioned by Althusser. We know that ideology become an important element in the social formation. In relation to these social formations, hegemony is contested by the power of the dominant and the subordinate. Hegemony is temporary because it uses the practices that are always reproduced continuously.
“Jika saya gambarkan pameran saya ini seperti menonoton filem di panggung wayang, bukan-bukan itu merupakan tajuk filem saya. Kehidupan sosial merupakan jalan ceritanya dan saya sendiri sebagai hero dan politik itu sebagai latar dan sinematografinya. Filem ini (karya) dalam bentuk parody yang mana tafsiran penceritaannya terpulang kepada penontonnya samada mahu menilai dalam bentuk positif atau negative. Ini mungkin suatu protes saya terhadap keadaan semasa termasuklah isu dan polemic yang berlaku dalam kehidupan seharian.”
“If I describe my show as like watching a movie at the cinema, its title would be ‘bukan-bukan. Social life would be the storyline and myself as a hero and politics would be the background and its cinematography. The film (work) in the form of parody in which narrative interpretation is up to the audience to judge whether in the form of positive or negative remarks. This may be my protest against the current situation, including the issue and polemic that occur in everyday life.”
Sociologist Dick Hebdige said that in the everyday life, commodity could only be retaken symbolically and given meaning by oppositional. In this notion, I believe Hawari is signifying an insubordination strategy, that hegemony could be broken, refuted and canceled3. To see how these ideological forms works, Hawari utilizes parody approach, because these forms manifest themselves in signs. This exhibition is one of Hawari’s very important and interesting projects in relation to a form of analysis of how ideology works through various symbolic practices. The project “bukan-bukan” for me, is nevertheless a form of vertigo of Hawari’s paradox of reality.
Sudjud Dartanto, Kurator, dan pegiat Cultural Studies
Sidjud Dartanto, Curator, Cultural Studies Activist.