Collective Individualism As a Path of Youth Transition: Youth Street Art in Yogyakarta

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Michelle MANSFIELD, University of Newcastle, Australia
The majority of academic research on youth transitions is focused on the individual and their individual journey. Such a position does not encompass models of collectivity that are the norm in places such as Indonesia. In Indonesian culture the individual is most often incorporated into some collective identity. Therefore Indonesian modes of collectivity feature prominently in youth practices including arts practice.

This paper uses Deleuze and Guattariā€™s concept of the assemblage and rhizoanalytic methodology to investigate creative practices and youth transition from the perspective of a group of street artists from Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Traditionally collective practice in the arts is common in Indonesia. However, these young artists are creating new models of intense collectively that shape their communitarian sociality. These new modes of collective individualism allow a young person to be simultaneously an individual and part of a collective. Although a powerful communal solidarity has developed between the artists in the assemblage, a fluidity of affiliations and alliances allows space for individualism within the collective. Collective individualism is a function of the interaction of embodied knowledges acquired through intense collectivity and tradition collective arts practice with individual modes of praxis, which dominate fine arts practice and Western cultures.

It is argued in this paper that collective individualism in Yogyakarta has become an aspect of the transition into adulthood undertaken by these young artists. In contrast to the transition to adulthood through individualisation commonly theorised in Western literature, in the Indonesian case a form of adulthood that includes communitarian practice may well be the ideal. A collective individualism that encompasses communitarian practices may be their objective and a marker of successful adulthood.