May 24, 2011

San Fuckin' Francisco

It all began back in 1999, months before the death of my beloved father. I remember a conversation we had in the car while munching on a kind of fried banana snack Indonesians like to enjoy. I told him that I plan to become a film director once I grow up. After years of changing my aspirations; being a president, an architect, a veterinarian, a rockstar, even a cashier lady at McDonald's. It was finally fixed, I wanted to become a film director. A visual artist. Then so, I can't remember the exact words, but he said that I can go study that back where I was born then come home to Indonesia and relive the Indonesian film scene. Too optimistic I must say. But as a 10 year old, it was a dream to die for.

To make a long story short, even though I once had no intentions to get into any Indonesian university, I ended up getting into a prestigious one and failed big time. I got through it though, transferring myself into an art institute, while still secretly admiring a dream I thought I'll never have. Financially, studying out of this country is impossible. College in Indonesia is expensive enough, let alone studying abroad.

San Francisco. Oh where do I start? I once started admiring this beautiful city because of film scenes I often see. I always had a passion for the image of San Francisco, especially in it's 70's and 80's timeline. The victorian architecture, the steep hills and cable cars, the hippies with flowers in their hair, the parades of liberalism, I can go on and on. Always found this city inspiring in so many ways. And so, I always dreamt of living there. One day.

Because of this obsession and my anger towards my failure of finding motivation to keep on continuing my studies, I kept on applying for scholarships and shit like that in order to make this happen. Yet again and again I never got it. I started this hobby of applying into SF colleges in late 2008. I tried every year. 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. I could easily get in, who couldn't. But even though I could get in, I won't be able to pay for the extremely expensive tuition. A little amount of time after New Year's 2011, my latest application was for a portfolio based scholarship to get into one of the most prestigious art universities in America, Academy of Art University.

It was hard deciding on which photos I should put into my portfolio. Days went by still confused. Until I met film makers Kel O'Neil & Eline Jongsma who were currently filming project Empire in Jogjakarta. We became close friends and they taught me a lot about affordable and easy film making. I found out later that apparently Eline had studied photography in college, so I asked her a favor to help me decide which photos I should send in. I gave her photos that I thought were my best. It did not impress her AT ALL. How strange. The photos that have made me won competitions and earn recognition in Indonesian magazines wasn't "describing" me enough, she said. Then she browsed through my old works and thought that I should make a photo essay on these black and white photos. She said they were romantic in a way. I would have NEVER picked those photos for a portfolio, in my opinion they're very personal and blurry and stuff. But I followed her advice anyway and made short essays for those grainy photos, sent them in, then waited.

Then who would have guessed.. Months later, I got the scholarship.

I've always thought that San Francisco would be forever a dream. It was crazy how fast this happened. As my good friend, Alanda Kariza said, "Dreams do come true if you pursue them!." (I just noticed that Al has her own Wikipedia page now! Whoa girl, you're getting uber famous!).

So yeah. I'll be moving to San Francisco in two weeks. It's gonna be so fucking ace! Thanks to everyone who always believed in me, especially all you readers that have been so patient reading through my babblings about this wonderful city and my obsession to study there. Can't wait to get there, there'll sure be fun posts to write! Wish me luck!


Cass x

P.S : Dearest Kel & Eline, if you ever stumble upon this post, a billion hugs and thank yous to you. I look forward to the day when we will meet again.

May 13, 2011

Klastic YK Portraits

This me at the exhibition opening day. My hair just couldn't be shitier.

Cirque du Plastic - Animal Instinct lo-fi photo exhibition went very well. The opening was pretty successful, attracting a lot of guests and artists from all around Yogyakarta. Only one thing fucked up, and that was my hair. The second day was like a little reunion gathering for the Klastic members, welcoming members from other cities. I was very happy with our limited space, because limitations was supposedly our first concept for the whole exhibition. The installations had flaws, but we got through it all well. Yet again, I still had to explain over and over again that I am NOT a member Klastic, not saying that it would be wrong, but I worked as their curator. That is it. The lovely Klastic Yogyakarta members gave me a little surprise after my welcome greet. They made a frame of 'Thank You' artworks and gave me free toy cameras. It was so unexpected and beyond sweet. You'll be seeing more lo-fi works of mine pretty soon.

The last day was touchy, it was hard seeing all the artworks being taken off the walls. And oddly, after only 3 months of getting to know the artists, I felt close to everyone. I did not just curated, I earned so much more. I ended up becoming a mentor and friend to all artists participating in the exhibition. This was more than an achievement, it was an experience I'll never forget and never stop feeling grateful for.

Here I leave you with some portraits of the Klastic artists I took for the photo book slash catalog that you can download for free. Download to see all the artworks! You can also check out more photos from this series at my Facebook page. If you're curious to see how our installation looked like, you can check out some documentation on Klastic's page, find the links on their Twitter.

With love,


P.S: Big news coming up. Can't wait to write about it x

May 2, 2011

Cirque du Plastic - Animal Instinct | Lo-Fi Photo Exhibition

It has been a busy 3 months as I work for my first curatorial debut. Months ago, I was contacted by a group of young photographers whom are planning to hold their annual exhibition. That group of people go under the name of KLASTIC representing the city of Yogyakarta. The sent me a proposal in hopes of having me curate their exhibition.

Being a curator isn't a teeny weeny easy job. It is a very respected job in the art world. A curator is a person who manages or directs a museum collection or exhibition. The curator is the decision maker, one who decides the artists, selects the artworks, outline the displays, etc. If you see it as a film, the curator is like the film director. Most curators are expected to acknowledge in total about the form of art one is presenting. Here in Yogyakarta, at the art university I'm currently attending, I've learned that a curator's job is to become the "bridge" between artists and the public.

Even though I hesitated at first, I finally took the job. Receiving looks and critics even before I've done anything. But then, I promised myself to prove that I can do this job.

KLASTIC Yogyakarta and me

KLASTIC is a community of toy camera photographers who are seeking more than just being a part of a trend of plastic cameras. A big community consisting of small groups of people from so many cities across Indonesia. This year, KLASTIC Yogyakarta and I worked together in the making of the annual exhibition of lo-fi photos named "Cirque du Plastic - Animal Instinct". "Cirque du Plastic - Animal Instinct" is a collection of photo series where each artist contributes their own definition and correlation about/with animal instincts in a form of photo stories. We discussed, we executed, we selected and we created. Hopefully we will touch some hearts. In this year's exhibition, not only I became a big part in decision making but also in learning.

Just like animals that rely on their instincts to survive, this community of plastic camera photographers also need to conquer their instincts in order to achieve survival in this digital era.

If you are in Yogyakarta or somewhere near, we would love to see your faces. Especially me, as this is my curatorial debut, it would mean so much if you can come see our hard work.

With love,


P.S : RSVP yourself at our Facebook event page! :D