Several students of the Anthropology Study Program greeted visitors in front of the Art Gallery in A Building of the Faculty of Cultural Studies (FCS), Universitas Brawijaya (UB). A number of projects have been installed in the event of “Kesana Kemari: Anthropology Exhibition”. The exhibition was held for approximately a week, from 4 – 8 March 2024, as a visualization of the final assignment of the Qualitative Research Methods course of 6th semester students of Anthropology Study Programme (SP) at FCS UB.

In the class, students were asked to deeply observe the phenomenon of urban mobility. They were instructed to apply various relevant research methods to understand the complex dynamics of human movement in the urban context. Through the application of these research methods, it was also expected that innovative solutions would emerge to overcome the mobility challenges faced by urban communities today. This project aimed as a practice for the students to visualize human activity to be easily understood by the general public.

On the second day of the exhibition, visitor interest still overflowed with high enthusiasm. Dozens of visitors came one after another. The installation creators explained their respective works.

One that attracted much attention was about the case study of the phenomenon of tourism mobilization Malang City Tour Bus (Macito) and odong-odong in the heart of Malang City. Asharul Amir, a member of the group arranged this installation, explained that Macito and odong-odong are interesting phenomena to be researched and presented to the wider community because they reflect other social phenomena, the formation of Malang City’s identity, intimacy, and memory inheritance.

 

“One of the things we exhibit here is the handwriting of a little girl we met at Malang City square, Khalida, who recounts her experience riding the odong-odong with her mother. There was a sense of connections through warm conversations and nostalgic stories of her mother. Close physical interactions were also expressed. This was where we find the concept of intimacy and memory inheritance. Memory inheritance in this case, the inheritance of memory from the mother to the child, combined with the formation of new memories from the child as well,” Amir explained.

He was also excited to explain the results of his and his team’s observations regarding the motives and objectives of the Macito route selection.

“Meanwhile, over here, there is an installation for the Macito case study. Please take a look at the routes of this bus. What images come to mind when passing through these routes about Malang City? If you look at the photos of the icons of the city that are passed through, we must imagine Malang’s identity as a historic city. Apparently, that was the purpose of the route selection. Why aren’t the industrial areas passed? Because that’s not what you want to show to visitors. The government wants to frame Malang’s identity as a historic, beautiful city,” he added.

Another installation that provokes curiosity is a case study entitled “Invisible Heroes” that reveals the increasingly limited space for motorized rickshaws (bentor). Rizky Wanri, as one of the initiators, told the story of the bentor drivers’ concern in Malang City.

 

“Because the theme of this exhibition is the mobilization of Malangese, we agreed to raise awareness towards bentor in Malang City. In the midst of the surge of online transportation, there are actually still modes of transportation like this bentor. And some people still actually use them. Unfortunately, its space has become very narrow due to the development of transportation technology. That’s why we made a picture of bentor’s journey in this box,” said Rizky.

Rizky’s group also inserted some symbolism in the miniatures that highlight the dualism of bentor in traditional and modern perspectives.

These installations present a perspective that is often forgotten or ignored by the general public about how human mobility is not only a physical movement, but also a mirror of urban identity, connections, and social change. ‘Kesana Kemari: Anthropology Exhibition’ was not only an art appreciation event, but also a stage for discussion and reflection on the dynamics of urban life that is rich in meaning. [trans.acl/ed.vidya/PR FCS]