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In Session: Performative Traditions of Southeast Asia
Issues of Sustainability in Indonesian Grassroots Popular Music Archives: The Value of Kesadaran (Awareness) in the Lokananta Project
Thursday, March 25, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Otto G. Stuparitz
University of California, Los Angeles, United States
This paper explores how “kesadaran” (awareness) has contributed to a growing “culture of documentation” (budaya dokumentasi), producing new grassroots audiovisual archives in Indonesia over the past decade. These archival projects seek to transform sites of memory into acts of remembering by “resisting forgetting” (melawan lupa), using digitization and online circulation to reexamine and reinterpret the past for future cultural reconciliation (rekonsiliasi kultural). Based upon ethnographic and archival research, I consider how “documentation awareness” (kesadaran dokumentasi) has paradoxically engendered complications to the longevity of archival projects, focusing on the Lokananta Project (LP) established in 2014. LP has aimed to “straighten out the history” (meluruskan sejarahnya) of Lokananta, Indonesia’s earliest state-owned recording studio. The project’s initiators strove to build the first publicly available digital library detailing the development and history of Lokananta. The LP has needed to negotiate the “inalienable” value of Lokananta’s recordings, as heirlooms resisting circulation, with a growing need for awareness through online circulation (Weiner 1992). This awareness, which emphasizes the dissemination of knowledge from and about the collection, has also attracted sponsorship opportunities from governmental agencies to fund maintenance and preservation activities. I argue the government’s involvement has over-emphasized the commodification of Indonesian culture, requiring time and effort towards promotional events and redundant publications, which has meaningfully stifled preservation efforts by students and archivists and kept heirlooms out of circulation.