The Spirit of Bayu

The art exhibition “The Spirit of Bayu” explores memory and place by using a surrealism perspective to capture the intangible essence of the location. The five artworks are based on research about the locals’ memories, history, myths, and spiritual beliefs, which are expressed through architectural imprints. The locals’ beliefs are metaphorical and imaginative, influencing their daily lives and making the place’s meaning intertwined with supernatural figures and ghosts. This exhibit was part of the Ulumampang Menanam program 2020, initiated by Studio Klampisan Bayuwangi and funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

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Miniature Photo Site Specific
in residence house

Various dimension


The guest room in a resident’s house is seen as a reflection of their identity. The walls of this room are adorned with various decorative items, such as photos, calendars, paintings, and art objects, which represent the family’s identity. It’s not just a welcome from the host, but also from their relatives and spiritual figures. In Bayu village, the houses are situated in a horizontal relation and are not fenced, allowing for a connected community with communal spaces and a shared compound. Public and private perceptions are blurred, even extending to the main road which can be used for collective events. An exhibition at Pak RT’s house questions the boundaries of public and private by transforming it into a surreal house using figurine photos, triggering memories in a surreal way.


Video collages ” Anima Loci”
7 mins duration


The video portrays a surreal atmosphere in Bayu village where the architecture and visual markers reflect the hidden imaginations and desires of its residents. The ceramic paintings, reliefs on monuments, and other objects come to life and symbolize the memories and beliefs of the villagers. The Mooi Indie paintings, which reflect the romanticism of western culture, have become an idealization of beauty and nature for the villagers. The interior spaces of houses and other structures act as visual markers that record the desires and imaginations of the residents, who practice a mixture of superstitious and logical ways of life. The architectural elements in the video connect to the villagers’ memories, beliefs, and superstitions within both public and private spheres.

Sound composition #1
choral dramatic reading

The Bayu villagers read a dramatic script that combines their local spiritual beliefs with Soekarno’s nationalist speech at the 1955 Asian-African Conference. The narrative is accompanied by Javanese music as an appropriation of the local Janger art. A sound installation and a series of photos capturing the daily landscape of Bayu village are presented in a local house. The photos show clouds and fog moving from the top of the mountain to the city, representing the transitional substance between air and water that forms the sacred soul of the place. The photos try to capture the intangible quality of a place and its historical-mythical relation to the locals.


Sound composition #2
3mins duration

The sound composition incorporates the ambient sound of the village, such as the sounds of insects, water, and frogs, which are transformed into the voices of the performers reading the script and singing. The script narrates the villager’s way of life, intertwined with Soekarno’s speech from the 1955 Asian-African Conference. The composition uses electronic rhythms mixed with the tengkeret sound elements, which are then filled with the polyphonic style of the script readers. Polyphony is a type of musical texture that involves multiple independent melody lines simultaneously. The composition is an experimental adaptation of the electronic mix between the narrator’s voice, the ambient sound, and gamelan pentatonic rhythm, drawing from Javanese music.

Cloud of Bayu
photo in light paint


The photo series explores the spirit of place, focuses on Bayu Village in East Java, Indonesia. This place embodies many mythical places and collective imaginations of the community. The photographs depict a coloured cloud moving from a sacred to a profane place, representing the origin of Bayu- the liminal state of being water and air. It taken from the local myth about the spirits that guard the water springs in the villages that appear when the mountain mist fallen. Between fact-fiction, the photos question about how humans relate to non-human agents by re-enacting the myth about place, as a reflection of social imagination – a last defense against rational-modern influence. The ecosystem of Bayu Village is now under threat from tourism and industrial farming. These photos have been exhibits in Bayu, reminds the stakeholder that nature is also living entities rather than just objects.