Clear Collective- Ali, Kwan, Josie and Robert

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Throughout our time in Central Java, we have been exposed to various environmental challenges of the area. These problems we understand are layered and complex involving governments, industries, over consumption and over population, as well as vastly different types of community systems and environmental challenges specific to the area (Djadjadilaga, Sigit & Tejalaksana, 2008). After interviewing various activists and organisations as well as experiencing design initiatives in Salatiga and Yogyakarta, we have decided to address the lack of clarity and understanding of the types and causes of waste in Jakarta’s rivers. Where is our river waste coming from and where is it going? Our process developed as an investigation of waste disposal systems in Jakarta, our hope was to map the pollution of one river of Jakarta.

Through the process of mapping pollution of the Ciliwung river from upstream to downstream, we have understood and identified the problem to be multifaceted, and clouded by layers of lack of consistency in governmental programs, a large difference in community systems, and socio economic status along different areas of the river. This coupled with industry and agricultural pollution our solution for the future is to connect those that do not experience the pollution on a daily basis to the reality of Jakarta’s river and the reality of our joint responsibility (Hansen, 2010)

Our design initiative seeks to take the issue of Jakarta’s river into the future through connecting Jakarta’s community in a joint conversation about water pollution, ultimately raising awareness throughout society. Throughout our research, interviews and observations we have identified a problem with connecting certain communities of Jakarta to the reality of water pollution and waste who do not experience waste as poignantly and obviously as others like the river bank residents. Whilst we have been lucky enough to experience collectives and designers such as Sapu, XSproject, Ruangrupa and sustainable homestays such as bamboo bottle in Yogyakarta, not everyone is engaging in the discussion. Retno of XSProject identified the different attitudes of people in Jakarta, “it is much easier to educate poorer communities about waste management as they understand first hand what is happening” whilst other areas of Jakarta are able to turn a blind eye and hope the river will wash the waste away. Movements such as these “use art to encourage social and environmental change” (Crosby, 2007). The artistic project Clear Collective aims to correct this unequal level of engagement, awareness and responsibility of waste issues in Jakarta by creating an artistic platform for further conversation in differing areas and communities that do not experience river waste first hand and on a daily basis.

Clear Collective is a group of activists and artists focusing on transparent pop up art installations and structures in the hope to bring clarity and common understanding of waste issues in Jakarta. Our latest project is a visualization of our investigation or mapping of the waste of Ciliwung River. We have here a visualization of the waste patterns specifically to the Ciliwung River. The project seeks to encourage an open conversation about waste responsibility and accountability for all areas and communities of Jakarta, demonstrating that waste is a common responsibility. The pop up installation creates an artistic representation of the travelling waste, as the water falls through levels and it represents the water becoming increasingly polluted as the flow of the river moves from upstream to downstream. This is the opposite of a filtering system, the water is polluted from the top and continues as it flows down showing the gradual pollution of the Ciliwung River as the clean water moves through the waste ending downstream toxic and unusable.

Construction of Clear Collectives latest transparent structure
Construction of Clear Collectives latest transparent structure

The discussion and issue of waste management needs to be made accessible and digestible to the middle and upper class youth, a demographic that does not live with the extensive polluted rivers as their backyards. Through creating this artistic platform Clean Collective hopes to connect communities of Jakarta to participate in an interaction conversation to raise awareness about water pollution in Indonesia.

1.Djadjadilaga, M. Sigit, H. & Tejalaksana, A. 2008, From Data to Policy, Ciliwung River water quality management, viewed 9 July, <www.wepa-db.net/pdf/0810forum/paper22.pdf>

2. Hansen, A. 2010 ‘Our beloved rivers of waste’, contributer, Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Feb 2010, viewed 10 July <www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/02/09/our-beloved-rivers-waste.html>

3. Crosby, A. 2007 ‘Festival Mata Air’ in Inside Indonesia, Oct-Dec 2007, viewed 10 July <www.insideindonesia.org/festival-mata-air>

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