is one of the most complex and interdisciplinary projects we’ve had the pleasure of taking on as a co-op. In 2021, our friends connected us to ruangrupa. It was the height of the global pandemic, and ruangrupa and their international network of artists needed a way to collaborate remotely to curate the documenta fifteen festival without depending on the exploitative and colonial infrastructures of big tech.

They required a platform that:

  • encompassed many mediums
  • could support publishing as well as collaboration and comms
  • was sovereign and collectively governed
  • embodied the values of lumbung
Architecture, not a service
A conceptual map of the values and purposes the platform needed to serve


  • lumbung: Indonesian term for “rice barn”. In Indonesian rural communities, the surplus harvest is stored in communal rice barns and distributed for the benefit of the community according to jointly defined criteria. This practice informs all of ruangrupa’s artistic and collaborative work.
  • harvest: Harvest means the documentation of meetings, which is prepared by harvesters as overviews, texts, sketches or drawings and enables the traceability of meetings and other collective events.
  • lumbung inter-lokal: The international network of lumbung artists & members. The term inter-lokal describes the interweaving of their local practices as well as their international distribution through the network.

Lumbung ⇆ open source

The artistic practice of lumbung has much in common with our approach to building technology – inspired by free software – which prioritizes decentralization, collective decision-making, internationalism, and transparency.

It follows then, that the technological foundation of should also be built on those same values.

Weaving a digital ecosystem w/ open software and open protocols

The Lumbung inter-lokal is composed of several working groups specializing in different mediums of artistic work, each of whom required applications that enabled them to publish and collaborate on their work.

The different apps and services that make up the ecosystem

Relying on our Co-op cloud library of packages, we curated a set of software to fit each working group’s needs. For the lumbung press working group, we set up running calibre-web; for the lumbung radio working group, we set up a funkwhale instance at; for the film working group, we set up a jellyfin instance at, and so on.

Alongside these, we set up general purpose tools such as (a nextcloud office suite), and (matrix chat) and (mastodon/hometown) for private and public comms.

All the apps and the respective co-op cloud recipes they are powered by

These were in turn connected by a single login portal,, and interoperable protocols such as RSS and ActivityPub, allowing them to communicate with each other. Finally, all the public-facing apps sent updates to front-page of, creating a real-time “harvest” of everyone’s work on the platform.

an initial conceptual diagram of’s architecture

An experience in decentralized community maintenance

Beyond its conceptual richness and technical complexity, stands out as a project for us because of the unique social experience of working on the project. subverted the conventional roles of “client” and “service provider” that we were used to in our other projects. There was no singular “client”, there was an international community of members/stakeholders; and we were not just a service provider, we were ourselves members of the network and stakeholders by virtue of being (technical) maintainers of the platform.

As time passes, our role in the project is shifting from software development and maintenance to stewardship and community organising alongside other members of the project.

Our current priority is decentring ourselves as sole technical maintainers of the platform, as well as scaling down the technical complexity and costs of the infrastructure.