O.K. Videofestival Jakarta: subversion and piracy

August 2005 -

Little masked men swathed in black cut through the pipelines, fouling up the little yellow men’s oiled machine. This spectacular piece of animation is the perfect visualisation of ‘Sub/Version’, the title of the second O.K. Videofestival held in Jakarta.


The O.K. Videofestival is a biennial event that was first staged in 2003. It is organised by ruangrupa, an artistic collective from Jakarta led by Ade Darmawan, who worked for Amsterdam’s Rijksacademie voor de Beeldende Kunsten (national academy for the visual arts) from 1998 to 2000.

The O.K. Videofestival 2005 actually got underway as early as October 2004, with some shows that were put on at smaller art centres in the Jakartan suburbs. Between 17 and 31 July 2005, the National Gallery in the Indonesian capital played host to installations, readings and discussions.

Globalisation was one of the main themes, which were all connected to piracy in some way. ruangrupa takes the view that piracy is more than just theft, and that the less well-off may see it as their only way to get their hands on a little bit of the world’s wealth.

The artists represented at this year’s O.K. Videofestival included Klaus Ohad Said Auderer from Austria, who used the opportunity given to him by a journey through Iran to make a probing video documentary that denounced the power of the Western media.

Several of the featured artists came from Indonesia itself, so it is clear that Darmawan has at least succeeded in his aim of promoting artistic innovation in his homeland.