The Lottery of Indonesia

lottery of Indonesia

Lottery is an important part of the day-to-day life in rural Flores. People play a small amount of money (in the form of rice or beans) in a lottery every month, hoping to win a large prize – such as a cow or even a car – when they get lucky. Although the majority of people lose, some – especially men – brag about their winnings in daily conversations. The’shio’ is popular among all age groups, both women and men, and is a key point of discussion in family and social gatherings.

The project was developed during Wok the Rock’s residency at Casco Art Institute in Utrecht, Netherlands, in 2016, and is an attempt to reflect existing collective modes of survival based on arisan (a cross between lottery and a commons-oriented micro-crediting system commonly practised in communities in Indonesia). It consists of a lottery drawing that invites art institutions to bid for a sum of money as “fee for deviation,” to be spent for something they would otherwise not be able to achieve within their budget. This ‘deviation’ also enables larger organisations to fulfil their public mission and support smaller art spaces or artists in a gesture of solidarity.

Gudskul, Parasite Lottery and Sindikasi demonstrate that contemporary art practices in post-1998 Indonesia are not only concerned with their viability but also articulate questions around, and imaginations of, sustainability. Rather than a utilitarian model of making things useful, these projects seek sustainability measures inspired by local principles and exercise an approach to the future that is based on ‘making do with what is available’ and maximising what one has got.