Applied art: How a few of Indonesia's creative pros are helping fix poverty

Applied art: How a few of Indonesia's creative pros are helping fix poverty

Drawing from Indonesia's rich cultural heritage, HONF marries art and technology in search of development solutions <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kkseema/1378851855/ ">Seema Krishnakumar</a>
Drawing from Indonesia's rich cultural heritage, HONF marries art and technology in search of development solutions Seema Krishnakumar

Who said art wasn’t an exact science? In Indonesia, an artists' collaborative is driving innovative technological solutions to some of the most difficult issues facing developing nations.

The House of Natural Fiber (HONF), a New Media art laboratory, is bringing together artists, microbiologists, and Fab Lab engineers to work on a wide spectrum of issues from creating agricultural sustainability through fertilizer and alternative energy production to mitigating the risks of home alcohol fermentation. “Indonesia is hindered by inadequate infrastructure and improper use of technology," HONF founder Irene Agrivine told the Guardian this month. "We want to use art and science to educate people to use technology in better ways."

HONF solutions to development issues focus on creativity, affordability and sustainability. Nowhere is this methodology clearer than the organization’s response to the prohibitive cost of prosthetic limbs. Teaming with FabLab Amsterdam, among other contributors, HONF hopes to produce and sell a bamboo prosthetic leg for less than $50.

Art, technology, and rural development may seem odd bedfellows to some, but when facing the difficulties of poverty reduction perhaps a little strange is a good thing.

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