Anton Chekhov, a doctor, playwright, and observer of the performing arts in the modern era, once wrote that if an artist carries out his work without starting a design (plan) but coming from inspiration, he will call it crazy.

Illumina Kultura is an independent research initiative engaged in Indonesian art, visual culture, and literacy. We feel that writing and artistic process while still being a separate field. Nevertheless, art-making and other cultural activities have methods and procedures that can be studied and written in a research study.

In the academic tradition in general, formulating knowledge through the creative approach can be said to be in a difficult situation. There are several public views as indications of such an artistic position. One of these views assumes that there will be fundamental difficulties in interpreting art because of the complex and enigmatic nature of its creation, reinforced by the tendency to use personal symbols. The objectivity of art creation as research further strengthens this assumption. Another view is that the social sphere of art is limited to the elite. It seems as if they “isolate themselves” from the wider community. The consequence of this is the emergence of the assumption that art is not closely related to the general public and its social and cultural dynamics. Graeme Sulivan’s in Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in the Visual Arts (2005) examines explicitly and proposes a new understanding in reviewing art creation as a form of research and its relation to science and human knowledge in general. We think that art is closely related to society and its social and cultural dimensions. The artwork is a manifestation of a people’s mindset in its cultural context and time.

We strive to be part of visual research development from this background, especially concerning art as a practice and cultural studies through a broader literacy approach and humanitarian studies. We hope to develop online archives that cover the most comprehensive developments in creation, innovation, art discourse, and cultural studies in the long run. We open all possibilities for collaboration with artists, designers, writers, researchers, and practitioners of interdisciplinary education to broaden the view and give more meaning to the development of art, cultural studies, and science. We also want to reach a wider community through ongoing training projects as a form of service and human and cultural development.