Thu, 29 May 2003

Yogya artist has big plans for old socks

Stevie Emilia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Wanting to get rid of your smelly socks? Don't. Yogyakartan artist Nindityo Adipurnomo might need them, badly.

For his upcoming art project, the artist, known for his artistic exploration of traditional konde (hair buns), requested people to donate their used socks -- after signing their names on them -- to him.

The idea to collect signed, used socks came to him after he got an invitation from the fine art curator of the Humanities Research Center, Canberra, Australia, to take part in an exhibition that will involve several reputable artists. The exhibition is being organized as part of the main event, which include workshops and a conference involving humanities experts worldwide.

As part of the program, Nindityo will give a talk for artists, a workshop and display collaborative works with the university's fine art students.

"Then I came up with this idea, a collaborative-interactive model for the artwork. Actually, I could have asked them (the organizers) to prepare all the used socks there, and once I'd arrived, could have finished the installation. But then I thought that the strength of the idea lay in my effort to involve sock donors from both countries, Indonesia and Australia," he told The Jakarta Post.

Under the plan, the socks will be turned into two missile- shape constructions. The one created here will be named Rudal Indonesia (Indonesian Missile) and the other, in Canberra, Rudal Australia (Australian Missile).

"With regard to the political geography, I shall install the Indonesian missile with socks toward the center of the Australian defense; the Australian missile will be directed toward the Indonesian center of defense. In between these two installed objects I shall place an object that will then represent the very super-egotistic idea of being an artist!" he said, without elaborating what the "object" would be.

So far, Nindityo has received a positive response to his project, for by the end of last week, six people had expressed a willingness to donate their used socks, each promising to give him more than 10 pairs. "There will be around 60 socks at least," he said.

By early July, the socks are hoped to total about 200 pairs to 300 pairs from either country.

In Australia, the sock collection is being handled by Drill Hall Gallery curator Christine Clark, who is also from the Humanities Research Center.

According to Nindityo, one problem was that many of his donors did not really understand that he only needed signed, used socks, even ones with holes in them.

"Within the artwork context, these signed, used socks become significant artifacts," he said.

He added that signed, used socks would also prevent the incorporation of used socks from flea markets, which, within an artistic context, would be perceived as mere material. "In my artistic context, these signed, used socks represent people's voices."

The work will be displayed at Drill Hall Gallery and School of Art, Australian National University, from late July to August this year.


For further information call Cemeti Art House, tel. (0274) 371015, e-mail:; website: