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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Sincerely yours, Maesy