Why this material is being made available
The texts and resources on this website are based on some ten years of research for a PhD thesis, titled Powerlines: alternative art and infrastructure in Indonesia in the 1990s, the PhD being obtained in 2008. The title is unwieldy, I know, and ‘alternative’ has proved to be problematic as there are whole books given over to discussion of the term; but if you are interested, the original thesis can be viewed online and downloaded from the University of New South Wales Library Catalogue by searching under my name, Susan Ingham.
The thesis was rewritten into a book and the first publisher with whom I had preliminary negotiations required the text to be rewritten after having sent it to reviewers. This was valid as the thesis has a very broad sweep and for purposes of publication, required focus and structure. By the time it was rewritten and updated as Going Global – Indonesian Visual Art in the 1990s, the publishing world was changing under the pressure of the digital age. Publishers were increasingly nervous about a book with so many reproductions on a topic they considered a niche market. I appreciate that reproductions were costly but I was not prepared to publish a book about the visual arts without the visual art. The comment about ‘niche market’ was annoying as it implied that a book about Indonesian contemporary art would only be of interest in Indonesia. This art is, amongst other things, an insight into the history and culture of an important Asian nation with some major and moving examples of art. This knowledge, I felt, should be in the public domain.
One final comment about the images: permission was obtained from the artists for the use of their mages in the book and in many cases they provided better, high resolution versions. But their images on this site are in low resolution so that a quality reproduction cannot be made without obtaining the artist’s permission. Artists like their work to be seen of course, but the work remains theirs.