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Dimensions vary
Installation (bamboos, paper, used tires)

Eko Prawoto & Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) Jakarta

Eko A Prawoto was born on August 13, 1958 in Purworejo, Indonesia. In 1982, he obtained his bachelor's degree from the Department of Architecture at the Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, and in 1993 he received his master's degree from the Berlage Institute Amsterdam. From 1986 to 1990, Eko Prawoto was involved in the slum-upgrading project for the urban poor on the bank of the Code River, Yogyakarta. Since 1984, he has also been designing several buildings such as private houses, office buildings, campus dormitory, hospital, and church. He has participated in several exhibitions, including the Anyang Public Art Project 2005 in Korea (2005); a traveling exhibition titled “Transforming Asian Cities” in Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta (2004); “The Arte all'Arte”, in Buonconvento, Tuscany, Italy (2003); “The Gwangju Biennale” in Korea (2002); and “Cities on The Move”, KIASMA Helsinki, Finland (2000).

Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) was founded in September 1997 and is a non-governmental organization working together with the marginal urban community. Among the exhibitions and activities that the group has conducted are: “Slametan Segara Gunung: Lima Tahun Rakyat Miskin Kota” (2003); “Ruwatan Kota dan Kampung” (2002); and “Kemerdekaan dan Ember Bocor (Kemerdekaan dan Rakyat Miskin Kota)” (2001).

... some of the social rhetoric of CIAM urbanism did cross the Atlantic, to be appended triumphantly to the CIAM-type urban renewal projects that were built in America during 1950s and 1960s to house, not the poor and working class as in Europe, but the rich and the very rich, at the expense of the poor whose homes were demolished to provide urban renewal sites and who found themselves living at greater density in existing slums in the path of yet more urban renewal.

Apparently Indonesian cities have similar experience with the developments of cities in America in the 1950s. Social concerns of the modern architecture have not been made the base for city developments. The face of the city development, therefore, becomes highly aggressive and invariably threatens the poor. Modernization has lost its early soul.

The urban kampong is more often understood as a “yet-to-be-urban” space, and must thus be developed and “made urban.” Just like an empty land waiting to be planted by buildings.

Architects in planning have distorted planning by putting physical problems first and by defining urban problems in physical rather than in economic, social, and political terms. Physical solutions do not touch the worst problems of the urban poor...

The urban kampong becomes like a parasite that must be eradicated-killed. The beauty of the city resembles that of a plastic tree with colorful lamps, standing grandly yet sterile.

If the understanding of the city's ideal space is still based on mere physical aesthetics, eviction will be a recurring phenomenon.

It is probably interesting to contemplate on Nelson Mandela's recent statement, saying that our attitude toward poverty should not find form in alms, but should be seen as a fight for justice…

The installation is not the representation of the eviction phenomena in the city, but more as an invitation to see “their” life using “their” perspective.

House as a nest is a place that should be able to protect the life within it. But how often do we see the nests forcefully torn away and destroyed…

The house is an extension of our body, our personal space, a place of sanctuary and our most precious psychological territory.

Poverty is not an option, and therefore not a crime…
Life is much too complex to be justified merely from its external looks. (Eko Prawoto)

(Quotes are taken from: Denise Scott Brown, “On Architectural Formalism and Social Concern: A Discourse for Social Planners and Radical Chic Architect”. In Oppositions Reader. Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.)

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