After all, what is left?

Wimo Ambala Bayang, Adelina Luft, Elia Nurvista

7.6. – 10.7. 2018


1989, 1998 stand as two mirrors facing each other, looking at and through each other, taking turns. These are not mirrors for oneself, but mirrors turned to history. And yet, we now gaze at them with advanced capitalist glasses having left mere imageries to deconstruct, speculate with, to collectively draw new geographies of possibilities and futures. Socialist movements enjoyed their great influence during the anti-colonial and nationalist struggles for Indonesian independence. The left played a pivotal role in the development of civil society in those years, to be too soon buried and stigmatized. In a different yet similar East, socialism in Romania knew various manifestations over the decades, while at the same time the New Order was taking over the archipelago under Suharto’s regime.

These traumatized regions live with ghosts of the past floating around, occupying history and space. They are the spectres. Thinking through Derrida’s Spectres of Marx, they are here and are not here to inform us of what was, or could have been but never was. To look through spectres does not mean to look retrospectively, but to enter in a dialogue with what is visible and invisible, what is or is not left. The aim is not to attempt a just critique of communism, but also to engage with it from a horizontal allegedly South line, both in time and across the regions.

Following Walter Mignolo’s notion of the ‘epistemic disobedience’, the performative interventions of the Indonesian artists in Bucharest are in essence their own means to confront another anomalous region of the Southeast and to further engage with de-colonizing ways of thinking and acting.


* Image credits: Wimo Ambala Bayang.