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Taring Padi Main Poster 1920x1080

Taring Padi Exhibition in Space 2435

By | event, exhibition, indonesia, north quad, screenings, space 2435, taring padi, university of michigan | No Comments


Through art, they began building an understanding amongst the people to fight against injustice, helping to forge a community aware of environmental, social, political, and cultural issues, inviting the community to be active and courageous in voicing their real life experiences and their opinions on the performance of government. (Sinaga)

The year 1998 is a period of Indonesian history marked by political unrest, ethnic conflict, and general disorder following the end of Suharto’s New Order regime. It is also, however, a period marked by student activism and the fight of the Indonesian people to rise above such chaos. It was in this context that the group Taring Padi (translated as “the fang of the rice plant”) emerged in the city of Yogyakarta, a city that is known for its vibrant and long tradition of both arts and activism.

Taring Padi, commonly referred to as TP, was first formed by students from Yogyakarta’s institute of art known as ISI (Institut Kesenian Yogyakarta). Influenced by an ideology of budaya kerakyatan or people oriented culture, these individuals had a desire to pick up where student activists had left off following the beginning of the reformation period in early 1998. As Toni Volunteero, one of Taring Padi’s initial founders states, there were still many social, political, and economic concerns faced by the Indonesian populace at this time. With a desire to represent those whose voices were rarely heard, Taring Padi set forth with a goal to create art that would both help to educate and give a voice to marginalized communities.

While Taring Padi was initially formed by art students from ISI, it did not take long for individuals with no background in the arts to join in the collective action of this group. An important characteristic of Taring Padi is the democratic collectivism that underlies all artistic production and activity. While in the last decade Taring Padi has been recognized as a part of Yogyakarta and Indonesia’s art history, at its core, Taring Padi is first and foremost a collective of social activists.

Nearly fifteen years after its inception, Taring Padi’s message has not only reached various communities in Indonesia but has also travelled abroad creating a network that is truly global. Taring Padi has participated in workshops in countries including Australia, East-Timor, and Thailand. The relaxed nature of this group and the desire of the second generation of Taring Padi members, who are now carrying on the activities of their predecessors, reinforce the significance that continues to be placed on the necessity of drawing attention to issues faced by marginalized populations in Indonesia as well as abroad.

Since the inception of Taring Padi in December 1998, the work of this group has focused on themes related to the social and political concerns of the Indonesian people. Resembling the style of propaganda posters, the imposing realism of Taring Padi’s work leaves a strong impression on the viewer. While themes present in Taring Padi’s work such as anti-violence, humans rights, and equality are universal, a particular emphasis is placed on the struggles of laborers and farmers. In order to examine in more depth the ideology of Taring Padi expressed through their art and activism, this exhibition divides the twenty prints on display into four categories including: anti-violence, anti-corruption, empowerment and activism, and politics. Working through these larger themes, the context in which each print was created and the message it portrays demonstrates the universality and density of meaning present in each print. As one views these images it cannot be ignored how the concerns of artists and activists in Indonesia reflect the issues faced by marginalized populations throughout the world.

Sinaga, D. (2011). “Taring Padi: Not for the sake of a fine arts discourse.” Taring Padi: Seni membongkar tirani. Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Lumbung Press.

EXHIBITION DATES: February 22 – March 16, 2013
Space 2435, North Quad (located on the corner of S. State & E.
Washington St. in the North Quad building)


  • Friday, February 22, 1-6pm:
    Opening Event: T-shirt printing workshop with visiting Taring Padi member Sudandyo Aprilianto. Space limited- RSVP at Refreshments will be served.
  • Monday, February 25, 7-9pm:
    Screening: In the Eye of the Day by Leonard Retel Helmrich (Trilogy #1)
  • Thursday, February 28, 7-9pm:
    Screening: Shape of the Moon by Leonard Retel Helmrich (Trilogy #2)
  • Friday, March 1, 3:30-5pm:
    Gamelan music demonstration by Anon Suneka.
  • Saturday, March 16, 2-6pm:
    Closing Event: Indonesian Dance Workshop & Performance with Sanggar Bhineka Tunggal Ika. Refreshments will be served.

    For more information about Taring Padi, visit:
    For more information about the exhibition and events, Contact North Quad Programming

  • landscape_Poster

    Reword Exhibition in Space 2435

    By | event, exhibition, international experience, language, north quad, parisa ghaderi, reed esslinger, space 2435, university of michigan | No Comments

    North Quad Programming is very excited to present the next exhibition in Space 2435, Reword, which will be up from Monday, January 7 – Friday, January 18, 2013. The exhibition is a collaboration between artists Parisa Ghaderi (b. Tehran, Iran) and Reed Esslinger (b. St. Paul, MN, USA). Parisa is a current graduate student at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, while Reed graduated from the same program in May 2012. An exhibition reception will take place on Friday, January 11 from 7-9pm. All are welcome to attend.


    Description: Working in collaboration, artists Parisa Ghaderi and Reed Esslinger have created moments of pause along the journey of immigration. They are interested in what happens to language itself when encountering a foreign culture; however banal or basic the language used may be, the margin for misinterpretation or exaggeration can be wide. Each reflecting on her personal experiences of decoding gibberish, navigating social circumstances, and coming to terms with the internal transformation of living an extended period of time abroad, Ghaderi and Esslinger’s work emerges at the intersections of their respective experiences of being alien.

    About the Artists:
    Parisa Ghaderi’s work ranges from graphic design and photography to installation and metal work. As an Iranian woman living in the US, she reflects her experience through her creative practice, and provokes serious questions around identity and women’s issues.

    Reed Esslinger’s work takes many forms, (sculpture, installation, video, writing, etc.) but almost always involves fibers and theatre. Having spent 3 years living on Réunion Island, an Outer Seas Department of France in the Indian Ocean, Reed’s interest in the island’s linguistic and cultural creolization have led to visual metaphors for the elusive process of relinquishing, adding, and transforming parts of one’s identity. She ultimately loves stories- whether absorbing, recording, or recounting them, and sees teaching as a natural occasion for mutual authorship and exploration.

    For more information contact:
    RSVP for the event on Facebook: REWORD

    That Translation Game!

    That Translation Game!: Brought to You by North Quad

    By | north quad, university of michigan | One Comment

    In the past few years, the use of games outside of pure entertainment contexts has been a hot topic. Whole areas of study are opening up around the concept of “Serious Games” and “Meaningful Play”. In 2009 the University of Michigan brought Jane McGonigal to campus for the annual Enriching Scholarship conference. McGonigal has been one of the most visible proponents of the use of games or game elements in contexts beyond just entertainment. Her book “Reality is Broken”, published in 2011, has ignited a worldwide conversation about how games could inform and augment the way we as human beings approach issues like social problems, health and wellbeing, human rights, and education. It is within this environment that the idea for That Translation Game! was conceived.

    That Translation Game! is the brainchild of a collection of representatives involved with the Fall 2012 LSA Theme Semester, the topic of which was translation. The team behind That Translation Game! conceived of the project as a way to bring a new perspective to the idea of translation, which is often thought of as a fairly straightforward task of taking one language and converting it to its counterpart in another language. In reality, there exist many forms that translation can take, such as from one medium to another, like making a poem into a sculpture, or a fairy-tale into food. Even the standard language-to-language translations carry an enormous range of variation in practice, such that a simple one-to-one relationship is rarely the case. Translators make deliberate choices based on assumptions about culture, history, class, and other factors for their target audience and their own goals for the work.

    The idea of situating the process of translation within a game, then, creates an environment where the competition between players would hopefully tease out those multitudes of varying approaches. In That Translation Game!, which is based around the increasingly globally ubiquitous form of a television game show, one player acts as the host, and the others as contestants. The host manages the social and competitive aspects of the game, asking players to pick team names and avatars, and chooses the content to translate along with any guidelines about what kind of translation they might be making. For example, the host may decide to choose a music video of a pop song and tell the contestants that they should aim for a translation that turns it into a Shakespearean play. After the contestants’ answers are submitted, or the round time runs out, the players must defend their translation, explaining why they made the choices they did and why theirs should win.

    Screenshot from That Translation Game!

    A Screenshot from That Translation Game!

    The process of defending the translation is probably the most important aspect of the game, and in this sense there is nothing special about using an iPad or computer in general to accomplish this goal. The activity could easily be done without any technology by having students write down translations and take turns explaining them. Embedding this process into a game format, though, provides a layer of interactivity and novelty that can serve to change the way students approach the task. It also allows students themselves to take on the role of host, and run games with classmates and friends.

    One student from the “22 Ways to Think About Translation” course that the game was piloted in in October did just that. Kelsey Lafferty is a student majoring in Education, and was interested in the way the game might be used in Elementary Ed classes, so for her final project she ran the game with a group of her friends.

    When talking about the use of games in education, we often hear of examples where an educational goal has been very clumsily shoe-horned into an existing game type. Classic examples often take a form where the game is a carbon copy of something like Asteroid or Super Mario Bros. with some of the graphics simply replaced with math problems or verbs. These kinds of games are often referred to as “chocolate covered broccoli”, because they take two things that are very much worthwhile on their own, and combine them into something that merely ruins them both, insteading of adding value to one another through that combination.

    When designing That Translation Game! we tried to avoid this problem by making the game and the technology subservient to the social interactions that take place during the gameplay itself. Thus, the iPad and the app merely act as a visual and logistical tool for distributing and displaying content and keeping score, rather than a rigid box that constrains the players to one path or mode of play. In this sense, the game acts as a vehicle for the pedagogical goals of the host, and does not impose any overt goals of it’s own. This puts more burden on the host, and places primacy on social and interpersonal interaction, but in our experience with testing the game this allowed a much greater degree of freedom and spontaneity during play, and in turn made the experience much more valuable pedagogically.

    That Translation Game! was funded by a NINI Grant from LSA Instructional Technology. The development team was led by Christi Merrill (Comparative Literature) and Johnathon Beals (Language Resource Center), with help from staff and students in LSA and the School of Engineering, the School of Information, and the School of Education, including Hans Anderson, Caitlin Barta, Alex Migicovksy, Evan Moss, Pranay Sethi, Patrick Tonks, and Jen Steiner Tonks.

    Much of the work of developing, testing, and implementing the project was done right here in North Quad. The Language Resource Center has been providing the development space and management resources for the coding of the app, and many of the events where the game has been exhibited and played have taken place here. Many of the team members also come from departments housed in the building. The cross-disciplinary nature of the community here has been essential to the success of this project, and hopefully serves as one of many testaments to the existence of a collaborative, interdisciplinary space like North Quad.

    At the moment, the team is trying to wrap up development of the final stages of the app, with an end-of-January launch date. At that time the project should be freely available to anyone on campus and hopefully beyond if the app successfully makes it through the Apple App Store approval process. In the meantime, if instructors are interested in using the app in their classes, they can contact me to set up a consultation with the team.

    * Update: That Translation Game! recently received 3rd place in the Fall 2012 Mobile Apps Challenge. Congrats to the TTG team, and many thanks to the organizers of the competition!


    Reflection in the Mud: a lunch-time presentation

    By | event, indonesia, lapindo mud disaster, north quad, space 2435, taring padi | No Comments

    From 2005-2009, I resided in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I first went on a scholarship provided by the Indonesian government called the Darmasiswa Scholarship, to study traditional dance and music at the Yogyakarta Institute of Arts for one year. I was so fascinated by Indonesia that I stayed for three more years.

    During the majority of my time in Yogyakarta, I worked closely with the political arts collective Taring Padi. Translated to mean the “fang of the rice plant”, Taring Padi was started by a group of young artists in 1998 during the upheaval following the fall of former president Suharto. Best known for the amazing woodblock prints they create to address issues surrounding human rights, the environment, women & children, political corruption and other relevant topics, Taring Padi is recognized internationally for their continued commitment to bringing “art to the people”.

    We are very excited to announce that one of the Taring Padi members, Sergina, will be visiting North Quad during the week of October 15. Her visit is short, as she will be traveling from the Creative Time Summit in New York, to Ohio University in Athens. During her short stay in Ann Arbor, Sergina will give a talk in Space 2435 at North Quad on:

    Tuesday, October 16 from 12-1:30pm

    View calendar

    Don’t miss this great opportunity to hear first-hand about Taring Padi’s recent project with the victims of the Lapindo mudflow disaster in Porong, Sidoarjo in East Java, Indonesia:

    Commemoration of the Lapindo Mudflow Disaster

    A Project with the Community of Mudflow Victims in Porong, Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia

    The Lapindo mudflow disaster started on May 29, 2006 and since then has issued approximately 100,000 cubic meters of sludge material from the earth every day. This event became a tragedy when the hot mud flooded the rice fields, residential, and industrial areas. Thousands of houses were damaged, tens of thousands of villagers were displaced, and agricultural areas, plantations and over 20 factories were destroyed, leaving devastating environmental consequences. Thousands of people lost their jobs, leaving educational facilities not functioning. People left their houses, lands, villages, and stories behind.

    Forced displacement (forced migration) is an extraordinary cultural disaster; people leave their history and the ways they live and interact with each other behind. Because there is no longer a social or cultural common ground that unites them, the people affected by the mud lose cohesion. The loss of history, life capital and social interactions become a catalyst for social fragmentation.

    In the face of the Lapindo mudflow disaster, the political arts collective Taring Padi facilitated cultural activities focused on reviving the collective memory of the victims; addressing the events of culture, relationships, and social interaction that were left under the mud. “Reflection in the Mud” invited the entire Porong community to communicate their feelings about the loss and sorrow caused by the mud of Lapindo, encouraging them not to constantly be in pain, but to continue to fight for their rights. Taring Padi hoped that the rise of collective memory would reinforce the cultural ties; breaking the tension that had been prominent among the victims. The emergence of collective memory was expected not only as a reinforcement of public solidarity to the victims of the mud (which was beginning to be lost in the hustle and bustle of newly rising issues), but also as a marker to the public that similar incidents will not happen again in the future.

    About Sergina:

    My full name is Sergina. I was born 29 years ago in Makassar, South Sulawesi. I spent more less 21 years of my life there and 3 years in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, before I moved to Yogyakarta 5 years ago to take my master program. During my thesis writing process in 2009, I met a friend who introduced me to Taring Padi. And since that time, I have been involved with Taring Padi Collective. My study background is not art, but I do really love the art. And I love the way that Taring Padi integrates “social realities” into their artwork. I have learned how to make art in Taring Padi, such as woodcut prints and drawing.

    I have been involved in some projects with friends in Taring Padi. I was the project secretary for the Commemoration of four-years of the Lapindo Mudflow Disaster Project in 2010; the project coordinator of “Taring Padi: Art Smashing the Tyranny” Book Launch Project in 2011; the project manager for Under, After, and In-Between II Project in September 2012, a collaborative project involving Indonesian, Thai, and Burmese artists. Within Taring Padi’s structure, I was elected as a secretary of our organization for July 2012 – July 2013 period.

    Currently I am working in Handicap International, an INGO who concerns to disabilities issues, based in Yogyakarta.

    We hope to see you there!!!!!!!!


    Screens @ North Quad

    By | north quad | No Comments

    North Quad features digital screens in several areas of the building. These monitors can be seen featuring digital signage, artwork, and interactive exhibits! Locations include the Lobbies, the Media Gateway, Space 2435, and the Residential Hall. This article reviews best practices for creating content geared towards our Lobby Screens and provides an overview of each location.


    Content Creation

    Interested in promoting your campus event, course, or organization on our Lobby Screens? Getting started is easy! The digital signs in our Lobbies are geared towards static graphics.  First, select your favorite design application such as Photoshop, Powerpoint, Acrobat, or similar programs. For motion video or interactive content, contact us to discuss potential Media Gateway or Space 2435 exhibits!

    Content for our digital signage should be landscape orientation and sized between 1280 × 720 and 1920 × 1080 (16:9 aspect ratio) with a suggested minimum 24 Font Point. Files can be saved as either JPEG or PDF. To send us content, please contact us to submit your request.


    Best Practices

    The following sections provide select best practices for working with static digital signage. When creating content for our Lobby Screens, readability is an important consideration. These tips will help you to achieve this goal:

    High Contrast

    Using high contrast color combinations allows your text to stand out from the background and catch the eyes of potential viewers. High contrast colors combinations work to draw viewers’ attention to your sign and are hard to ignore! The following examples compare high contrast (left) and low contrast (right) combinations:

    Intent & Composition

    When composing your sign, it is important to consider your “call to action“. If your intent is to inform about an event, the text content on your sign should be limited to the core information required to achieve this goal. Information provided beyond the Date, Location, Subject, and Audience may detract from the overall readability of your sign. Limiting text content to this core information will help you to recover screen “real estate” to work with on your canvas. Deliver a single focused message and use active voice and action verbs. A clear call to action can often be conveyed using intuitive images in place of words:

    If you wish to direct viewers to more detailed information, you may want to consider linking to an online resource. The easiest way to incorporate a URL into your sign is to use a URL Shortener such as TinyUrl or a QR Code generator. Smartphone users will be able to follow your link by imaging the QR code with their mobile device. For example, the QR code below links to this blog post:


    Font size and selection is important! We suggest a minimum of 24 point font when composing static signs for our screens. Signs with small font point are often overlooked as viewers will encounter your sign while standing some distance away. In addition to font size, selecting a sans Serif font has been shown to enhance on-screen readability. The following graphic demonstrates this distinction:

    Size & Aspect Ratio

    The screens at North Quad are 16:9 aspect ratio and run at a resolution of 1920 x 1080. When composing your static sign, be sure to select landscape orientation. To ensure that your sign appears correctly on our screens, select a resolution that is compatible with 16:9 aspect ratio such as 1280 x 720, 1366 x 768, or 1600 x 900. For the highest clarity it is recommended to start with a canvas size of 1920 x 1080 exactly. The following figure demonstrates a 16:9 aspect ratio:


    The following examples are signs with great readability! These signs have previously appeared on our North Quad screens. Credit in order of appearance: Sweetland Center for Writing, Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, UM3D Lab, UMMA, and the College of Literature, Science & The Arts.

    Additional Resources

    For further tips and effective design practices check out the following resources:



    The North Quad lobbies participate in the ITS Digital Signage project. These screens display a weekly listing of Space 2435 and Media Gateway events, @umnorthquad tweets, and are host to a rotation of digital signs created by U of M Faculty, Staff, and Students. Content on these screens is intended to promote events, courses, and inform about organizations and activities on campus.

    Space 2435

    The screens in Space 2435 are used most commonly alongside events held in the space. Presenters may opt to display their content on two large projectors and six LCD monitors. These monitors may also be set up as workstations to provide an interactive environment to event attendees. In addition to displaying event related content, these displays may be used to showcase new-medi artwork and film. Contact us if you are interested in utilizing the technology in Space 2435 in conjunction with an eventexhibit, or art installation!

    Residential Hall

    University Housing maintains the LCD Monitors throughout the Residential Hall. These screens feature social media content and serve as a nexus for events and activities for North Quad’s residential community.

    Media Gateway

    The Media Gateway features seven 46″ displays. These monitors feature local and international photographyartwork from U of M students, and may also be used to showcase research. If you are interested in displaying photographic work, presentations, or research; contact us to request an exhibition of your content!

    The central screen in the Media Gateway is used to showcase interactive demos and live streaming events. The following two visualizations have been showcased previously on this “center stage” display:

    Milk Drop

    Milkdrop is a real-time 3D visualization. Jam packed with pixel-shaders and fractals, Milkdrop is being used to create Generative Art from Ambient Audio in the Media Gateway. That’s right, make some NOISE, you drive the artwork!


    Twingly is a screensaver that visualizes global blog activity in real time. Forget RSS readers where you see only what you’re interested in. With Twingly screensaver you get a 24/7 stream of world wide blog activity, straight to your screen.


    Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap’s objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.



    We are always looking to collaborate with students and faculty to explore advanced uses for our digital signage. If you have an interaction or visualization project, feel free to contact us. Our signs support a wide array of media and can run hardware accelerated, full screen applications. Ideas for potential collaboration include the following topics: internationalism, new-mediaimmersion, inclusion, awareness, connectivity, and other multi-disciplinary projects!


    Coming in 2013…

    Here is a small sneak peak at something special coming to the Media Gateway in 2013. Get ready to let loose, create, explore, and interact with a natural user interface: Leap Motion.


    NQ’s interdisciplinary mixer: “The Exposure Series”

    By | exposure series, north quad, powered by pechakucha, university of michigan | 4 Comments

    The Exposure Series is an ongoing interdisciplinary presenter series based off the PechaKucha Night framework. Taking place every 3rd Wednesday of the month in Space 2435, this event features presenters from across the university and from the Ann Arbor and Detroit communities. With FREE coffee served by local favorite RoosRoast Coffee, this is an informal mixer event not to miss!!!!

    Below are the dates and themes for the Fall 2013-Winter 2014 school year:

    [note align=”center” width=”640″]

    Wednesday, September 18, 6-8pm: MY SUMMER ADVENTURES

    Wednesday, October 16, 6-8pm: DESIGN

    Wednesday, November 20, 6-8pm: INTERNATIONAL NIGHT

    Wednesday, December 18, 6-8pm: COMMUNITY NIGHT

    Wednesday, January 29, 6-8pm: ACTIVISM

    Wednesday, February 19, 6-8pm: HUMOR NIGHT

    Wednesday, March 19, 6-8pm: RESEARCH NIGHT

    Wednesday, April 16, 6-8pm: INSPIRATION


    If you’re a student, faculty, staff or community member interested in presenting, please contact North Quad Programming right away to reserve your slot. We would love to hear from you!!!

    Not familiar with the PechaKucha Night framework? Here are the details:

    [blockquote align=”center”]PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace. (taken from the PechaKucha official website)[/blockquote] [blockquote align=”center”]Collaborative, Interdisciplinary, International, Technologically-innovative and Engaged.[/blockquote] [blockquote align=”center”]Good PechaKucha presentations are the ones that uncover the unexpected — unexpected talent, unexpected ideas. Some PechaKuchas tell great stories about a project or a trip. Some are incredibly personal, some are incredibly funny, but all are very different, and they turn each PechaKucha Night into “a box of chocolates. (view the PechaKucha FAQ for more information)[/blockquote]

    Watch past presentations from the event on our Vimeo page.