Despite Indonesia’s primarily Muslim population, the country does not have a national lottery. Rather, a number of regional lotteries exist where prizes are awarded on a weekly or monthly basis. Prizes are usually a fixed amount of cash or goods. Alternatively, prize money may be a percentage of ticket sales. The percentage of ticket sales is often based on the number of tickets sold, which allows organizers to distribute winnings equally among the participating communities.
The arisan is popular in day-to-day conversations in rural Flores, a society that has a long history of mystical traditions. People rarely mention their losses and often brag about their wins – especially men. The shio is also a medium for interpreting dreams and omens, with the prevailing logic being that a good omen means the winner will win big, while a bad omen implies a loss.
While these omens are important, the arisan is ultimately a social institution that provides members with the security of knowing they will have enough income to live through any future hardships. In a country where poverty and exploitation are pervasive, the arisan is an important way of supporting local economies.
The emergence of alternative spaces for cultural production in post-1998 Indonesia exemplifies an interest in collective modes of survival. This essay explores how Gudskul, Parasite Lottery and Serikat Sindikasi use their respective practices to articulate questions about, and imagines, sustainability in the context of contemporary art practice in Indonesia.