KUNCI experiments with methods in producing and sharing knowledge through the acts of studying together at the intersections between affective, manual and intellectual labor. Since its founding in 1999 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, KUNCI has been continuously transforming its structure, ways and medium of working. Initially formed as a cultural studies study group, at present KUNCI’s practices emphasize on collectivizing study, by way of making-space, discussion, library, research, publishing, press and school-organizing. KUNCI traverses and connects institutional, disciplinary and local boundaries. KUNCI’S membership is based on friendship and informality, as well as self-organized and collaborative principles.
From 1999 to 2009, Kunci published Newsletter Kunci and mailing-list as public forums dedicated to discussing contemporary cultural issues in post-1998 Indonesia. Kunci has networked with other critical spaces through developing a library, providing co-shared space for various cultural initiatives, and nurturing a small printing and press Kunci Copy Station. Since 2016, Kunci embarked on a long-term project called the School of Improper Education. School of Improper Education evolves into the intricate part of Kunci’s lifeline. Kunci curated Made in Commons which was exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam in 2013. In 2016, Kunci and Para Site published an anthology of migrant workers’ writings titled Afterworks Readings. Outside within the Colonial Theatre: An Audio Guide was presented during a research residency in Tropenmuseum in 2017. Letters: The Classroom is Burning, Let’s Dream about a School of Improper Education is a chapbook which was recently published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2020.
Members of KUNCI are Antariksa (founder), Brigitta Isabella, Ferdiansyah Thajib, Fiky Daulay, Gatari Surya Kusuma, Hayyu Al Qayyumi, Nuraini Juliastuti (founder), Rifki Akbar Pratama, Syafiatudina, Hilman Fathoni, and Verry Handayani.
This conversation took place via email from December 2020 to February 2021. Though participants had already been acquainted for a long time before this, they began their exchange with casual personal introductions.