A short comment
By Mohammad Nanda Widyarta
Kitschy, details are not well done. Aesthetically speaking, Jawa Timur Park is not a good work. It sucks. Mies and his followers would curse on it, for it completely denies the god in the details. Even the architect of the park himself admitted to me that the walking paths for visitors were too narrow.
But, that was aesthetically speaking. That is to say, “aesthetics” in a rather academics manner. We know that aesthetics itself is not a homogenous topic of discussion. We know how, almost a hundred years ago, the Dadaists tried to disturb the already accepted notion of aesthetics. Bataille even talked about l’informe (the formless).
Enough aesthetics, and let us leave it to the experts. How about perceiving it architecturally?
Again, the park shows some flaws. The poor detailing was mentioned already. Nevertheless, architecture is not merely about detail. It is about space, it is about how to construct space. Perhaps it is more and foremost about constructing events in the created space. When we perceive the park through this angle, then the park is not a failure.
I sat at Ken Dedes (or was it Ken Arok?) food court, a part of the Jawa Timur Park where one can sit, have drinks and look at the water park and all. At that moment, I noticed how the event(s) unfurled. There were many people there, of different social classes. They were having fun. The classes differences among them blurred in that space called Jawa Timur Park. I realized that I was witnessing an interesting event in that space. Architecture can affect people, some say. Here at the park, the affect of architecture was initiated not by some theoretical architect talks. It was initiated by simple act of putting some fun into the space. That is why the park is not an architectural failure; for it has managed to create the desired spatial event.