university of michigan

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!


    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.