Thu 03 October 2013

Notes from the Underground #24

This spring, our colleague Willem Bongers-Dek spent a week in Semarang, where he met citybooks’ Indonesian participants, attended a press conference about the project, and, together with coordinator Inge, recorded the Dutch- and Bahasa-language podcasts. Celebrations to mark the publication of a volume containing all of the Semarang citybooks will take place on the 25th of October. Willem tells us more about all of this in this month’s Notes from the Underground.


There, in that little café in Semarang


Last May, together with the enthusiastic Widjajanti Dharmowijono (‘Inge’ to her Dutch-speaking friends) from the Widya Mitra Foundation, I visited Semarang’s historic centre, where citybooks photographer Dadang Pribadi gathers regularly with a group of artists to develop his skills as a photographer and illustrator. Together, they form an open association of free spirits invigorating the Old Town by virtue of their youthful presence alone.

After a stroll around a small park, occasionally peeping into drawers’ sketchbooks, we paid a visit to the handsome, recently opened Noeri's cafe. The friendly managers welcomed us warmly and we drank coffee together. A happy coincidence, then, that this is where the presentation of the citybooks Semarang publication will take place on the 25th of October 2013. The stories and poems in the volume each devote their attention to the rich, divided legacy of the port city, while the photos and videos shed light on the artistic side of contemporary Semarang.

What’s more, the theatre adaptation of Candra Puspitasari’s citybook Golden Child proved the stories needn’t be bound to letters on paper, making an impressive debut at the Kota Lama Festival.

Finally, a tip for our Indonesian friends. Keep an eye on the website where the Erasmus Taalcentrum has a great overview for users who enjoy most to read and listen in Indonesian.

I sincerely hope that this presentation is not the last time that our citybooks bring the past and the present, their artists and citizens, The Netherlands, Flanders and Indonesia together all at once.


candra dewi dian puspitasariPS. Do you want to get to know Candra even better? Then read the ‘good advice’ (in Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia) she wrote for deBuren’s grand reopening!


(Willem Bongers-Dek, citybookscoordinator)



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