KUNCI Cultural Studies – RCMC

KUNCI at the RCMC/Tropenmuseum

Researchers in Residence

The Research Center for Material Culture in collaboration with the research platform Heterotropics, invited KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) to be Researchers in Residence at the Tropenmuseum for the period May – June 2017.

Resound, Revision, Recollection: Sensing Through Colonial Archives

During their residency KUNCI researched the various collecting and representational practices related to the former Dutch East Indies and their afterlives in the museum and broader society today. With the aim of proposing alternative readings of these collections and their histories, and how these histories are mediated to diverse publics, KUNCI’s critical practice addresses sediments of colonialism in the present, in archival language, in representation techniques and in the politics of memory. This they explored taking the Tropenmuseum as a starting point; an institution that is currently rethinking its own collections and displays of the colonial past, and developing new exhibitions around this theme.

KUNCI is a collective of artists and theorists initiated in Yogyakarta in 1999. Its activities span different fields that move beyond existing disciplinary boundaries. Since its founding, KUNCI has been preoccupied with critical knowledge production and dissemination through new media, cross-disciplinary encounters, artistic intervention and educational projects within and across diverse community spaces.

The 6-week research residency resulted in the symposium Tropical Dissonance: Decolonizing Knowledge Through Ethnographic Archives. Bringing together local and international speakers, the symposium explored the intersections between decolonial research, artistic practices and alternative knowledge production.

The residence is accompanied by a series of radio broadcasts on RADIO KUNCI.

The project forms a part of a new long-term project by KUNCI entitled School of Improper Education’, in which the collective will engage with alternative modes of education and knowledge transmission. The radio will be used as a strategical way of disseminating knowledge across geo-political boundaries and also as a reference to the use of this medium during colonial times.


Heterotropics is a long term research and curatorial project initiated by Amsterdam-based curator Sara Giannini and organized in collaboration with the art platform TAAK. Unfolding through different chapters and collaborations, it investigates the immaterial and material remnants of colonial desire in the city of Amsterdam. More info on www.heterotropics.com.

Heterotropics is realised with the kind support of the Research Center for Material Culture, Amsterdamse Fonds voor de Kunst, and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

AFK    Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds