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Our POST at Pasar Santa

Nearly six months have passed since Teddy, Steven, and I raised our glass to celebrate the opening of POST, our creative space in Pasar Santa. No, we didn’t drink champagne. The three of us had been taking turns falling ill, so I mixed us a cocktail of organic wild horse milk from Sumbawa and coffee-flower honey so we could all return to being healthy as a horse. So much has happened in those six months. Weekends at the market have become our norm, we’ve met so many brilliant people, and our neighbors have grown to feel like family – but we’ve also had to adapt with the rapid growth of Pasar Santa. However, amidst all these changes, five facts remain true about POST.

The POST zombies

The POST zombies

POST is an idea that was born in Pasar Santa, for Pasar Santa

Back in July 2014, Teddy and I bumped into Steven during our first visit to Pasar Santa. We were amazed to find people who didn’t mind hanging out, sipping coffee from ABCD and leafing through records from Substore, in an otherwise deserted, dark, hot, and mosquito-filled market. We talked about our frustration with the lack of non-mall public spaces in Jakarta and how refreshing to see creative things emerging in a traditional market like Pasar Santa, and soon enough, we started imagining what kind of other initiatives would be interesting to do in the market, things that would bring new communities to come and experience it as an alternative public space.

Almost immediately, we thought of a pop up space that offers something different every time it opens. A space that could be a gallery one day and a venue for poetry slams the next, but always have good books around. We are bookworms, you see. The name POST popped up, it sounds fitting as we imagined a post for creative individuals and communities to share their work with the public, and as Steven would say, the idea to do such a thing in a traditional market is post-modern. We booked our kiosk the next week.

Steven is a veteran in Pasar Santa, he has been going there for groceries for years. He told us that there is no shortage of talent or supplies in the market, so we renovated our kiosk with the help of Pak Budi, everyone’s favorite handy man at Pasar Santa, and only buy our supplies elsewhere if we couldn’t find it in the market. You could really say that it really was Pasar Santa itself that allowed POST to come into being!

Read our very first interview, published the day POST opened, at Rappler

Hendy Adhitya is the comic artist mad enough to initiate the 24-hour comic drawing marathon!

Hendy Adhitya is the comic artist mad enough to initiate the 24-hour comic drawing marathon!

POST is a space for books, gatherings, and all things creative

Books: again, we are bookworms, you see. All of us love the experience of hunting good books and aim to create that thrill you feel when you found the only copy of a book you really want to make yours through our monthly pop-up bookshop. We hunt for new, single-copy English books, curate second hand books, and work together with Indonesian independent publishers like Banana, Indie Book Corner, Kata Bergerak, Marjin Kiri, Rabbit Hole, and Serambi to host their most interesting titles.

This interview with The Honeycombers took place on our very first pop-up bookshop! 

Tiny as our space is, there is always a room to sit and read

Tiny as our space is, there is always a room to sit and read

Gatherings: bookworms usually love writing and we too want to create gatherings where people, amateurs and pros, could write together. We call these series of gatherings #menulisdipasar. So far, it has included classes on narrative non-fiction with Windy Ariestanty, writing for children with Reda Gaudiamo, writing short stories with Dea Anugrah and Sabda Armandio, and a 4-hour writing marathon challenge.

For a taste of the writing marathon, read Ve Handojo’s experience on his blog

POST I November 2

The very first #menulisdipasarevent with Windy Ariestanty

All things creative: three weekends in a month, POST opens our doors for independent creative communities, individuals, or local start-ups to use our space as a hub to engage with the public. We’ve collaborated with artists who did their first exhibition in our space and see them invited for a bigger exhibition elsewhere, writers who held their book and blog launches, an online radio station that wanted to give live streaming a try, and non-profits’ fund raising events. There is always something new at POST, and best of all, we get to meet the interesting people behind it.

Our very first collaborator is The Laos Gang who did a Travel Sale that almost caused our space to break down. Read the story on Indohoy

The Morning Drawing community invited passersby to sit, draw, and have their pictures exhibited on the walls.

The Morning Drawing community invited passersby to sit, draw, and have their pictures exhibited on the walls.

POST mainly pops up on weekends

We want to be as hands on as possible, especially on the early days of POST, so we open mostly on weekends from 2-8pm. Recently, we’ve raised enough funds to open the bookshop on Thursdays and Fridays as well – hurray! To keep yourself updated on our events, you can follow @post_santa on Instagram and Twitter.

An interview with us and some of our favorite neighbors, Mie Chino and ABCD Coffee, at A Journey Bespoke blog

“Kiri Bang!” – our very first exhibition

POST is a non-profit space

POST applies an open contribution policy; this means that our collaborators get to decide how much money they could or would give us in return for using our space. We also apply a 30% consignment fee from independent publishers that consign their books. All the money, however, goes into the space itself and neither of us, the co-founders, receive financial compensation from POST. The small fund we make goes to maintain operations, extend our opening hours, and prepare for future rent costs. Should there be any profit, we will use it to support local charitable organizations.

A little bit more about our idealism in an interview with Business Lounge

POST I November 6

The Wonderbra performed during the launch of Bracodemag, a feminist blog

POST is a one-year experiment

The three of us committed to POST as a one year experiment. Had we focused on how POST could be sustainable and live a long life, we would have never started. Instead, we agree to think and work out loud, learning and adapting as we go along. It breaks my heart thinking of POST closing after a year, but truth be told, POST’s future depends on several things. We opened to support a traditional market that has a third of its space empty, but as Pasar Santa gains popularity, rent price has spiked up and demand has gotten so high that there is a real risk of traditional market vendors – the original traders of Pasar Santa – being sidelined by new tenants with more money. If this turns out to be case, can we still ethically be part of an ecosystem that marginalizes people who need the space the most? Can we afford to extend our rent? We honestly have no answers just now, but we do what we can in the mean time. We’ll make the one year experiment with POST a year that counts.

The happy faces of bibliophiles who came to our first pop-up bookshop

The happy faces of bibliophiles who came to our first pop-up bookshop, some of whom we’ve now called friends

So there. Finally, a long overdue story on POST at The Dusty Sneakers. You might have noticed that I’ve used Teddy instead of Twosocks, and that is because POST is a Maesy, Teddy, and Steven initiative. You can find us at POST on most weekends. Come by and say hello, we definitely have a story or two to share.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Sincerely yours, Maesy

POST: books, gatherings, and all things creative I Pasar Santa Upper Floor (next to Mie Chino) I I I Instagram: @post_santa I Twitter: @post_santa


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    • Rencana awal memang ini eksperimen satu tahun saja. Kelanjutannya akan kami lihat nanti. Tergantung juga dengan perkembangan di Pasar Santa sendiri terkait kampanye #SustainableSanta yang kami dan teman-teman sedang lakukan. We’ll keep you posted 🙂

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  5. nianastiti

    Sepertinya sewaktu post ini dipublish saya belum follow blognya. Sampai sekarang saya belum pernah sama sekali ke Pasar Santa karena saya merasa gusar dengan #sustainablesanta :(. Saya sedih jika para pedagang tradisional yang tadinya dapurnya ngebul dari sana justru terdepak karena tak mampu lagi membayar tarif sewa yang baru seiring dengan boomingnya Pasar Santa. Tapi sejak teman saya dua minggu lalu ikut event POST yang #nulisdipasar jadi pengen ke Santa nih.

    • Hi Nianastiti, salam kenal. Terima kasih ya sudah ikut memperhatikan hal-hal soal Pasar Santa. Kampanye #sustainablesanta masih berlanjut terus, dan dalam prosesnya kami juga bersedih ada beberapa pedagang yang terpaksa pindah atau tidak melanjutkan usahanya. Namun, beberapa minggu yang lalu kampanye ini berbuah hasil dengan adanya acuan harga sewa kios yang dikeluarkan PD Pasar setelah melalui proses negosiasi dengan perkumpulan pedagang. Sebagian besar pedagang lama pun kini tetap bisa melanjutkan usahanya. Semoga ini menjadi titik baik bagi keberlanjutan pasar apalagi sekarang sedang mengalami tantangan kemacetan karena konstruksi jalan layang di Wolter Monginsidi. Mengenai POST sendiri, kami juga sudah memutuskan untuk lanjut. Mampirlah ke POST kapan-kapan Nianastiti, nanti kita omong-omong lagi 🙂

      • nianastiti

        Wah dua kabar yang sangat menggembirakan. Lega sekali mendengarnya. Harus segera mengagendakan weekend di Santa mih 😀

    • Halo Jodieisme. Beberapa ada yang berpindah tempat usaha di luar pasar, ada pula yang pindah ke kios lain. Walau secara umum hasil kampanye ini positif, memang tetap ada hal sedih dan tantangan ke depannya. Update lengkapnya ada di jawaban atas komentarmu di catatan sesudah ini. Terima kasih ya atas perhatiannya, semoga jumpa suatu waktu.

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