Irwan AHMETT & Tita SALINA, Salting the Sea, 2015, video, dimension variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Rangga ADITIAWAN.
Irwan AHMETT & Tita SALINA, Salting the Sea, 2015, video, dimension variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Rangga ADITIAWAN.
Irwan AHMETT & Tita SALINA, Long Life, 2015, video, dimension variable. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Rangga ADITIAWAN.



Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina are an Indonesian artist duo. Their art practice often make art projects based on social, politic and humanitarian issues. Their artworks always intervene public space by inviting and involving specific groups in specific areas. Public space as part of creative process where the conversation and awareness are built between participants who involve and public as the audience and the subjects as well. In the last couple of years, they have interest in groups of societies who are in the position of the most vulnerable. The last art project they have done is a documentary film about the undocumented migrant workers come from Indonesia in The Netherlands. In Asian Art Biennale 2015, Irwan and Tita raise the issue of migrant workers again, who generally they come from South East Asia and specially who come from Indonesia. Their ambition is to reflect the real situation and what has been happening through their creative process approach and radical imagination as artists. They believe a good artwork could stimulate a different perspective towards problems and it has a complex layer of meaning in it.

The unfinished crisis situation in Indonesia plus the state has not been able to provide its citizen to live in humane has made the labor migration flows growing bigger. The total numbers of Indonesian migrant workers are approximately 4.5 million. Many happy stories but many of which ended with grief. With the very minimum access of information, low education and experiences also the protection system from both countries are weak, brokering practices, exploitative working agents have made the working condition not as wonderful as expected. It’s loaded with risks and dreams that don’t match with reality. It’s forced to be trapped in complicated human trafficking chain. It's not even completed talking about the segregation where local authorities quite often neglect the human values.

Therefore Irwan and Tita will create two art projects relate to exposed problems above:

1. Salting The Sea
This is an intervention project yet a poetic narration about the story of migrant workers in Taiwan. There were similar methods but Irwan and Tita are interested in collecting individuals stories who’ve been in difficult situation like in legal issues, sick, victims of human trafficking, trapped in inhumane working condition, and undocumented workers are outside the system. They believe from that kind of situation the society could learn and understand the most universal human values in modern human soul that are sometimes already numb. The representation of story will be manifested through the deepest of human expression and emotion that is tears, the body liquid that produces when we are happy, laughing, sad and touched. Which those could represent a paradox situation. For one month, Irwan and Tita will try to record stories and collect tears. In exchange also gratitude, they will come to several migrants hometowns to bring objects that have emotional closeness with them. This would also help to understand migrants problem from upstream to downstream. Tears are collected will be brought in ritual procession to public space starting from Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung to the most southern side of Taiwan, South China Sea which geographically connects more than 8 countries that relate to migrants issue. During the journey, the tears would evaporate and leave extracted material that is dried fluid (salt). The salt produced by migrant stories will then be sprinkled to the sea reflecting how meaningless this problem is, because states and its citizen prioritize more into materialistic matters only. 

2. The Forum
The artists would like to create a collective event that is processed from fact findings during their stay in Taiwan. The event will be held in public space by involving several sectors relate to migrant issue and conveying basic matters as migrant workers that are situational and urgent such as wage increase, policies in favor, segregation, etc. It will be a series of activities starting from raising the questions, discussion and doing action with creative and playful approach that is easy to understand and accessible by participants and public in general. The forum content will be designed altogether so that the form, location and momentum could be decided. In this project, the artists would act as the facilitator by processing the imagination and sensibility that is sometimes unthinkable by the conservative way of thinking towards a complicated problem.



Two artists formed in 2010, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Lives and works in Jakarta, Indonesia.