PEACE PREVAILS

May peace prevails upon all beings on the earth and beyond. You may scroll down to browse the contents of this blog.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

POST-INSTITUTION

I was recently invited to attend a 'general discussion' on 'The Role of Institutions in the Malaysian Art Infrastructure', at the Galeri Petronas on Wednesday, 2 April. I could not make it. Nonetheless, I was asked via a letter from Shuryati of Petronas to share some feedback in regards to 'the developments and activities of institutions involved in Malaysian art", perhaps in reference to my seven years experience of running the Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah (MGTF), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Several objectives were underlined by the letter, all of which are pertinent. Challenges and issues regarding to the roles, responsibilities and relevance of institutions were also mentioned.   

It has been close to two years since I left MGTF, and I am not anymore wearing any kind of institutional dressing. I'm still with USM though, on a study leave. But I'm not sure whether I can speak on behalf of an 'institution', in this case, MGTF or even the School of the Arts USM anymore. Perhaps, my feedback can be taken as my personal interpretation, action and reflection on the topic, predominantly based on my experience with MGTF. This feedback is long, so better sit back comfortably, especially those with low attention span. To make it even worse, this blog does not have any image at all. Here we go.

First, the term 'art institution' has to be properly defined and contextualized. We are living and breathing in the post-institution age where everything is hyper-connected and inter-dependent. Deploying the rhetoric and binary of independent vs institution (as deployed by some), may not be relevant anymore.

But unless we can get over those easy demarcation and lazy dichotomy and stereotyping of institution vs non-institution (independent), we are not ready to enter the "AGE OF SHIFTING CONSCIOUSNESS AND COLLECTIVE AWAKENING".

In fact, in so many ways, 'independent' or not, we have been 'institutionalized' since birth. I'm not going to get into this further. My point is that we have to be a bit more specific in discussing about art institutions to avoid lazy generalization and stereotyping.

Anyway, those interested in reading my rantings  on 'post-institution' and the rhetoric of independent/non-institution, here are the links. These are rather important pre-requisites before we engage with 'institutions', at least for me. Of course, if one doesn't like them, they can just trash the rantings:



Having highlighted that, allow me to contextualize MGTF through the following points:

1. 
MGTF is a public university museum and gallery (established in 1972, officially opened as Muzium & Galeri USM in 1982, expanded to include science and technology in the 90s and re-branded as Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah in 2007). MGTF has a long history (second museum and gallery to be established in the local public university, after the University of Malaya), with many names and landmarks too lengthy to write here.

2. 
It was initially headed by a 'curator', which was later designated as a 'director', appointed by the Vice Chancellor. I was 'borrowed' from the School of the Arts to serve as the Director from 2005 until 2012, but my permanent position in USM is still a lecturer. MGTF's current director is Mr. Zolkurnian Hassan who is also a senior curator at USM.

3.
In the USM departmental structure, MGTF is placed directly under the purview of the Vice Chancellor and categorized as a 'Servicing Department'. This is correct until 2012. I can't speak on its current 'position' now. There are many implications related to MGTF's 'positioning' in the bigger university structure. Amongst them include its vision and mission, its objectives, its roles and functions, strategies and job specs, operational budget and allocation, 'tabung', human resource, physical infrastructure and many more.  

4.
MGTF is a museum and gallery that combines both the arts and sciences in its research, publication, collections, exhibitions, support programs & audience development activities.

5.
MGTF is a member of the International Committee of Museums (ICOM), University Museums and Collection (UMAC), Persatuan Muzium Malaysia and University Museum Network South East Asia (UMNET) and its Malaysian chapter (MyUMNET). The last two are not official yet.

6.
MGTF's vision and mission, roles and functions, have been underlined, amended, upgraded and updated from time to time since 1972. Yet, central to them has always been the initial policy paper drafted by T.K. Sabapathy (1973). They also have to compliment USM's vision and mission as well as its institutional roles and functions. USM itself, responds to the larger national, regional and global imperatives in positioning itself. USM's and MGTF's current vision and mission, roles and functions can be obtained through their current PR materials. I'm not sure whether they have been changed or not after I left.
 
7.
I had my own interpretations of MGTF's vision and mission, roles and functions. They were contextualized within the several issues, settings and challenges. I approached these contexts as 'pathways' for creative potentials. For me personally, critical to the issues, settings and challenges is 'epistemological', or how I position, define, approach, use, apply and experience knowledge, both the arts and sciences.  All the issues, settings and challenges have provided ample opportunities for a set of paradigm shifts and transformation to take place in regards to epistemology, including the ways I approached MGTF. The shifts and transformation can bring about what I like to fancy as collective awakening in a post-institution age. Here are some of the 'pathways':
 
7.1.
Knowledge in a globalising world, post-colonial awareness, colonial cosmopolitan, de-colonization of a university museum and gallery, humanizing university ('humaniversity' or 'multiversity'), indigenization of knowledge, local and regional values, sustainability
7.2
Positivist(empirical/scientific) vs interpretative methods of approaching teaching, learning and research; interpretative methods as comlimentary in exploring the theme of sustainability in dealing with subjective human experiences (identity, gender, ethnicity, psycho-social condition, deeper meanings, spirituality, higher ideals) 
7.3
New approach to history (non-linear), cultural studies, convergence of the arts and sciences, trans-disciplinarity (example : art+design+new media+communication+mind/brain/learning+neuroscience+quantum physic)
7.4
Liberal capitalism, global market, information and new media implosion
7.5
Beyond 'thinking' and 'feeling' - meta-cognition, higher consciousness, neuro-science, quantum physics, re-proaching creativity, expanding intuition, higher self, 'spiritualism', healing, global 'awakening', wisdom and universal intangible values in the age of fragmentation
 
8. 
Contextualized by the 'pathways' above, the following are my interpretations of MGTF's vision and mission, roles and functions:
8.1
MGTF is an extension and translation of USM as a sustainable garden of knowledge in both the arts and sciences. It is a site where local and regional repository of heritage and knowledge are continuously planted, gardened, nurtured and sustained to enlighten its visitors, clients and stakeholders, predominantly schoolchildren and USM students (based on the findings of MGTF's audience research (2010).
8.2
As a garden of knowledge, central to its activities are teaching, learning and research in both the arts-culture and science-technology. These converging activities encompass the physical, mental and emotional dimensions of human experiences, anchored by universal spiritual values, based on a set of guiding principles (will be listed later).
8.3
I looked at my duty then as the chief 'gardener' and MGTF as a small garden. Together with the other staff members, we planted, gardened, nurtured and sustained the values (especially intangible). I also took my duty like a film director - to create different changing and always fresh 'settings' for favorable characters, thinking, emotions, actions, dramas, stories and events to unfold.

9. 
The following are several examples of guiding principles  (inspired and based on Asia's traditional key design principles found in many forms of traditional arts and cultural practices throughout Asia) that I used as my reference in running MGTF:

Portable, human-friendly, visitors/audience-centered, visitors/audience/stakeholders also contribute in creating their own visiting and learning experiences, modular and adaptive, micro-macro in complimentary symbiosis, emphasis on choice, interconnected and interdependence, contextual, non-linear, repetition, cyclical, interactive, flexible, convergence, trans-disciplinarity.

These guiding principles were applied and embedded in the following aspects of running MGTF:

Human Resource, Finance, Physical Development, Collection and Acquisition, Research, Publication, Exhibition, Support Programs and Audience Development, Professional Services and Consultations, Public Relation/Networking/Marketing/Branding. 

Tangible examples and further details in regards to the above especially in regards to collection, research, publication, services, audience study, curatorial strategies, key performance indicators (KPI), relevant statistical data, can be sourced from several documents and writings/papers, some of which have been presented and published in seminars, conferences, conference proceedings and books (especially those published by MGTF itself). Further listing can be provided upon request.

10.
The guiding principles above were also deployed to propel several key shifts or transformation strategies. I have written about them many times including in this Jiwa Halus blog.

Here's the link:

For those who are too lazy to browse, here's the whole essay, with minor changes.

Many people had asked me about how I run and transform Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah (MGTF), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Unfortunately, I can't give them straight answer most of the time. Perhaps, it is due to my lack of 'academic' background in organizational and human resource management, business planning and brand development. I don't have a Phd in those things. Heck, I don't have a Phd in anything (at least, not yet). Most of what I've done came from my scattered readings, asking people (in the business of running a museum and gallery or anything to do with them) and most of time, 'practically' testing my own hyphotesis (on several key issues related to museum and gallery). 
But I do have my own list of key principles on what clever people would call 'paradigmatic shifts'. They were taken from several sources (reading materials, practical actions and personal experiences). I guess such shifts can be applied to many other situations as well.
So here we go:
 
Transformation from (In governance) • GOVERNMENT CULTURE to SUSTAINABLE CULTURE • MAINTAINING STATUS QUO to TAKING RISK • ENLARGEMENT to CONVERGENCE • RETAINING SIMILAR METHOD to CHANGE OF DIRECTION
(In working culture) : • From KISS ASS to INTEGRITY • COERCIVE to INSPIRATIONAL • PASSING JUDGMENT to GIVING MOTIVATION • GIVING COMMANDS to SHARING KNOWLEDGE • SECRETIVE to OPENNESS • WORKING ALONE to WORKING AS A TEAM • DEMANDING PRAISES to GIVING ACKNOWLEDGMENT
(in management culture) : • From FIGHTING THE DARK to EMITTING LIGHT • MANAGING to INSPIRING • FOCUSING ON TODAY’S CRISIS to DEALING WITH TOMORROW’S OPPORTUNITIES, NOW • REACTING TO CHANGE to INDUCING CHANGE • CHEERLEADER to VISIONARY • CONTROLLING OTHERS to EMPOWERING OTHERS • PUNISHING BAD BEHAVIORS to ENCOURAGING GOOD BEHAVIORS • FINDING FAULTS to SOLVING PROBLEMS • LONE DECISION to CONSULTATIVE DECISION • CENTRALIZED to NETWORKED
Plus many-many more scenarios of transformation that our mind can imagine.
Hijra to the road of fitrah (after a series of several workshops and teh tarik kurang manis sessions) :
• Open-minded • ‘Participative’, • Cross-disciplines • Transparent • Prudent • Confident • Balanced • People-friendly • Nature-friendly • Gender-sensitive • Diverse • Tolerant • Creative • Innovative • Risk taker • A sense of humor • Hard work & fast • Think visually • Good psychologist • Set high standard • Strategic thinker • Research-minded • Power of analysis balanced with a ‘blink’ sharp instinct/intuition • Imaginative • Trustworthy
Everyone is a 'leader'. Everyone is a winner. Remember those millions of zygots swimming along with only one (winner) managed to fertilize the egg....to become 'me'. Every soul is an emitting light. A good transformative leader will bring others back to traits that are closer to our fitrah - light, passionate, innovative, focus on ideas, inspiring, eyes on horizon, long-range scenarios, vision grounded in values, humble, comfortable with oneself, honest, just, most of all, full of love and joy.
A leader makes peace. Pray that we all become one, who is peace (salam).
In regards to the arts, perhaps the shifts here may spark few frequencies here and there, from lower vibration to higher ones...
FROM Singular or master narrative (read Euro-American) TO discourses and multiple (small) narratives
FROM Passively safe TO provocatively challenging, insightful and meaningful
FROM Aesthetic only TO cultural studies
FROM Formalism only TO multiple methodologies
FROM Modern only TO beyond post-modernism or whatever 'ism'
FROM Homogeneity TO trans-cultural
FROM National only TO regional & global
FROM Exclusive TO inclusive or participative
FROM Mass(mess) media TO multimedia/new media
FROM Status-quo (for abuse & unjust domination) TO deconstruction (of whatever that is abusive/unjust)
FROM Rigidly prescriptive, given & predetermined TO choice
FROM Nation-state TO trans-national
FROM Independence TO interdependence
FROM Centralized TO multi-centers
FROM Singular discipline/media/medium TO trans-disciplines/cross-media
FROM Linear TO non-linear
FROM Form TO information (and value)
FROM Fixed and frozen (dead) TO change and flux (alive)
FROM Content TO context
FROM Singular meaning TO multiple meanings
FROM Product TO time
FROM Mass TO customization
FROM Artist as the controller or artist-centered TO artist as facilitator or audience-centered
FROM Review of end product or summative TO review of process or formative
FROM Sequential and single direction TO cyclical, simultaneous, concurrent and multi-directional
FROM Isolated specialist TO multi-skilled expert
FROM Hierarchy TO network of relation or web
FROM Physical skill TO thinking or mental skill TO intuitive skill
FROM Product-centered TO services or user-centered
FROM Global competition TO global collaboration
FROM Dominance TO synergy
FROM Passive audience or consumer TO interactive audience or prosumer
FROM Physical attributes TO intellectual attributes TO emotional attributes TO spiritual attributes
FROM Fractions TO convergence
FROM 'Zahir' TO 'Batin & Zahir'

FROM 'lower consciousness' TO 'higher consciousness'

FROM form TO spirit 

FROM thinking TO intuiting

Those on the right side of this transformative shift are perhaps more friendly or healthy to the true nature of our mind and more importantly, our soul. They will hopefully unveil the inherent creativity in all of us.
Berhijrahlah sayang, demi masa mu.


11.
I have also written (or rather ranted) few thoughts and feelings in regards to running MGTF. Here's the link:



I hope this entry has provided the requested feedback from Petronas , especially Shuryati who has been persistence in politely reminding me by phone to give my feedback. Now I can resume my art of doing nothing. 

Happy "BEyond seeING".



     



   

Saturday, 5 April 2014

'CAHAYA MATA' DAN 'TERANG HATI'

Ada orang hanya mempunyai anak, bukan 'cahaya mata';
Ada orang hanya memiliki ijazah sarjana muda, sarjana dan Phd, bukan 'terang hati'.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

DEMI MASA - SURAT PADA SEMALAM, ESOK, HARI INI DAN SEKARANG

Kehadapan semalam yang telah terjadi dan diredhai,
Aku maaf dan terima kamu seadanya
SEKARANG
dan dalam dakapan Kasih Abadi
cahaya zikir 
setiap
SEKARANG
yang BAGUS, BAGUS dan BAGUS

Kehadapan esok yang belum terjadi dan bakal diredhai
Aku maaf dan terima kamu seadanya juga
SEKARANG
dan dalam dakapan Kasih Abadi
cahaya zikir 
setiap
SEKARANG
yang BAGUS, BAGUS dan BAGUS

Kehadapan semalam dan esok
yang 'sebelum' dan yang 'akan'
yang telah tertulis dan bakal ditulis
'kuasa', 'pengaruh' dan 'rasukan' kedua kamu hilang
dalam dakapan Kasih Abadi
cahaya zikir
setiap SEKARANG
yang BAGUS, BAGUS dan BAGUS

Duhai semalam
engkau sudah tiada
Duhai esok
engkau belum tiba
Duhai hari ini,
engkau adalah esok untuk semalam
semalam untuk lusa
Ilusi minda
permainan rasa
punca lupa

Duhai SEKARANG
Hanya dalam kamu saja
aku didakap
Cahaya
Kasih
Abadi
hadir dan ada
yang selamanya
BAGUS, BAGUS dan BAGUS


Yang benar,
KEBENARAN

ZIKIR SETIAP SEKARANG

Duhai yang sedang membaca
apa jua fikiran yang tercetus semasa kata-kata ini dibaca
apa jua perasaan yang terbit semasa kata-kata ini dibaca
semuanya hanyalah gelombang

Gelombang fikiran dan perasaan datang dan pergi
muncul dan hilang
yang jika dibiarkan terus berkocak tanpa 'disuluh'  'penyaksian kamu'
boleh menjadi ombak besar
yang berpura-pura menjadi kamu
hingga kamu hanyut dan lemas dalamnya.

Duhai roh yang sedar
cahaya tenang abadi
dalam dakapan Ada yang Hakiki
pancarkan tempias cahaya
agar segala pergantungan pada fikir
segala pertautan pada rasa
segala ketagihan pada identifikasi diri yang palsu
segala obsesi pada situasi, pada alami mimpi jasad dan benda
hilang lupus bersih lutsinar
persis hilangnya kotoran tompok hitam degil dan keras
di atas kaca pelita
yang mengizinkan cahaya pelita menembusinya

Duhai kebisingan gelombang fikiran dan rasa
yang terus degil mencipta ilusi diri yang palsu
menghijab cahaya
mencipta tompokan situasi demi situasi alami
termasuk situasi 'membaca' kata-kata ini
Sekarang
dan
Setiap Sekarang

DIAM DAN HILANGLAH
dalam cahaya zikir
setiap sekarang
yang abadi



SEBELUM TERZAHIR (BAHAGIAN 2)

Sebelum ide yang mencetuskan kata-kata yang tertulis ini terbit dalam minda,
......ia di mana?


SEBELUM TERZAHIR

Sebelum kata-kata ini tertulis,
......ia di mana?

Saturday, 29 March 2014

NAIK SAKSI

"Wahai minda yang memancarkan pengalaman ruang-masa, fikir dan rasa, juga pengalaman jasad-fizikal. Wahai minda yang memancarkan mimpi benda yang sebenarnya tiada, ........KAMU BUKAN AKU. Wahai minda, kembalilah pada syahadah, agar kamu tidak lagi boleh berpura-pura menjadi AKU."

Yang benar
(Saksi SEDAR yang memerhati minda memancarkan pengalaman ruang-masa, fikir, rasa, jasad fizikal dan mimpi benda)