OK.Video is a bi-annual international video festival that has been organized by ruangrupa since 2003. From July 28 till August 9, 2009 OK.Video was held for the fourth time in the National Gallery of Indonesia. With the aim of addressing the socio-cultural phenomena of Indonesia and abroad, each festival is organized around a particular theme. The chosen theme for the latest edition of the Festival was that of ‘Comedy’.
ruangrupa chose the theme of ‘Comedy’ because they saw it as constituting a part of the OK. Video character, which invariably addresses the theme of the social and the political within the cultural context. As ruangrupa explains: “COMEDY is an effective way to free ourselves from anxiety. As a critique cloaked in amusement, 'Comedy' helps us to reflect, laugh at ourselves, protest without anger, and turn calamity into hilarity. As a way to communicate, 'Comedy' never dies and has been accompanying people since time immemorial, from the form of comedy that makes use of the body as a medium to one that uses the audio-visual language.“
For this 4th edition, titled Ok.Video Comedy, 97 works were presented involving 86 artists from 30 different countries. In this year’s exhibition, ruangrupa used the main venue to visually represent the idea of ‘Comedy’ by giving artistic touches to the old building in the form of red polka dots on the façade of the National Gallery. The polka dots represented comedy, cheerfulness, humor, and critique toward an established system in the context of art and culture.
The importance of Ok. Video Festival lies in that:
Hence, in order to promote the video art in Indonesia and abroad and to garner wide public participation, ruangrupa held a series of educational programs such as workshops and public presentations in the form of discussions, seminars, and public lectures at universities. Moreover, a series of master classes and video screenings were held in several universities and public spaces. Several well-known speakers were involved in these discussions.
According to ruangrupa “this year’s festival saw a great advancement in terms of public appreciation and involvement as it managed to bring nearly 5,000 visitors to the Indonesian National Gallery. Several major media such as Kompas, Suara Pembaruan, The Jakarta Post, Koran Tempo, and Koran Jakarta newspapers and Gatra magazine reported the event as one of the biggest art events to have taken place in Indonesia in 2009.