Released Note: From HONF to Indonesia

an extra note on aesthetics

Father Gregorius Budi Subanar, SJ

1) HONF (indeed) seems to be a distinct phenomenon of their own with their uniqueness. Their choice of the name HONF signifies their readiness and their intention to enter the global sphere. Furthermore, they work in the field of information and communication technology with all the modifications. House of Natural Fiber (HONF), a name which sounds so serious, can be imagined as a house, a place for people whose interests lie in tweaking optical fibers for digital technology modification. However, now the “natural fiber” also returns to its literal meaning as the fibers from the field of agriculture, hay and suchlike.

2) This was made possible by concerns of their members, who are indeed strongly based on and rooted in the local experience. From the wealth of the agricultural realm, which has been threatened by industries with their innovations, expansions and pollution, emerge researches such as electromagnetic waves, fermentation of hay, polluted water purification, satellite data hacking, Open Design, Generic Infrastructures, EFP platform, as well as other forms of basic laboratory researches. HONF’s researches on fermentation and destillation must have been based on strategic choices in response to existing environmental issues. When such a research is conducted by experts in scientific institutions, it (should) be done for the advancement of science, which will then in turn be dedicated to the people. Or, when it is conducted by industries, it will be projected towards sales to the customers. In HONF, the research is conducted by scientists but coordinated by an artist, to be exhibited as a work of art.

3) The usual route of a research would be: Lab, papers, to end up in a seminar room; or: Lab, prototype, to be manufactured in a factory as products for sale. In HONF, the route of their research is: Lab, audio-visual execution, galleries, free workshops or trainings, and explorations of alternative spaces to widen their scope and develop their research further. It is remarkable how this process is in fact a voice of criticism, resistance, as well as as a jest and mockery, “We are used to playing around, but we are also serious, mind.” Geguyon pari keno, the kind of humour characteristic of Yogyakarta. Delivering subtle yet sharp criticism. HONF’s installations drive people to unleash their imagination, to enter the realm of mystery; that which is usually concealed by the intellectuals or the merchants, is instead distributed for free by HONF. “Who wants to be smarter, come.”

4) ABC – Army, Bueraucracy, Company – are the main actors of the technology development, who are sought after by highly-paid intellectuals from universities. In HONF, the experts all sit together and conduct their researches “just for fun”. Fund vs Fun, Control vs Distribution, Consumption vs Imaginary… All for the people.

5) Amongst the numerous annual festivals in Yogyakarta and in Indonesia, many of which are organized extravagantly and resplendently, HONF has been organizing CELLSBUTTON, the Yogyakarta International Media Art Festival for the past six years. They integrate themselves among the others, achieving the “possible world in (im)possible space”. They dream but not just dreaming, imagine but not just playing around, because INDONESIA does need a helping hand.