STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, 2015
INHABITANT ZERO – IMMIGRANT PROJECT, JARFALLA, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
Immigrant project is part of the Inhabitant Zero residency program with Kalejdohill in Jarfalla, Stockholm for 5 weeks. The idea behind this project is about me as an immigrant, and how I integrate myself to the society. As a person that live in Bandung, West Java with 4 millions peoples live in the city and move to Stockholm is really going to be interesting experience. For this residency I did research about Jarfalla and try to integrate myself with the society by making friends, doing an open house, and also working together with Indonesian embassy collection and exhibit it inside the house.
For this project I need to live inside the house in the middle of the park in the Jarfalla area. As a new person in the area I tried to open and absorb the space, there are many things that I felt differently. The first thing that strike me is the silence and emptiness, it felt ok for few days but I never experienced it back in Bandung. I need to put some effort to get the silence and emptiness, but in Stockholm I don't need any effort. During my sleep on my first night inside the house, I woke up at 3 a.m. because of the silence. Somehow my body reacts into the level of silence that I never experience before, the same thing happen to noise. It really influencing my sense, and it is a really good experience.
After few days I start to make friend with local people by directly introducing myself to a group of peoples that hang out at the park near my house. I found it that they are a group of immigrant from Ethiopia, Chile, and Middle East. They said peoples are afraid to pass the park especially the Swedes when they are around, but they are really happy that I come to them and introduce myself directly to them. This group of peoples is my first friends in Stockholm. For my project I use food for the common ground so peoples can meet and interact. I did an open house and invited peoples to eat for free with me for few days in a row. Interesting fact about free food is most of peoples think that it must be not a good food, and they need to stand in line to get the food. I play with this free food thought I did opposite I serve the peoples like in the restaurant, explain the Indonesian food that cooked and give them a safe space to talk and interact. Some of the peoples are still questioning about they are not sure that I don't want anything in return. I found that Swedish society is a self-sufficient society; they are not used to get something for free they always wanted to pay to make it even. This is really interesting because the interaction and discussion start to develop and the integration process can start step by step from this event.
One day I visit my new friends at the park and ask them if they want to get some coffee inside the house. This group has been lived in the area for 40 years, they give my house a nick name “Witch House” when they are kids because it is an empty house and scary. A few weeks before they said they are planning to break in and see the inside because they are really curious about what is inside. They day that they took my invitation to have coffee are the first time that they are inside the house and they felt really happy. They are telling me about their dream about the area, and what is the meaning of each place and objects around the area for the community. This information is really important for the local government for their development plan, which is one of the goals of this residency program.
For the open house I also collaborate with the Indonesian embassy in Stockholm to exhibit the objects about Indonesia so people that come can eat the Indonesian food and also see and experience a bit about Indonesian culture. The Indonesian Ambassador for Sweden is also come and attend the open house and play some Indonesian music for the peoples that came to the open house.
These projects are giving me a good experience and proof that everyone needs to be open one and another so they can integrate. My project with also taken by the local school for their first day program to interact between the teachers and the parents, because most of the peoples that lives there are immigrants. I am really happy for the outcome of this project that can be useful for the organization that invited me and also for the society in Jarfalla.
To see the short documentary about this project go to FILM section.