Rohing* Bayu ( The Spirit of Bayu)
Site Specific Project about Memory , a Spirit of Place in Architecture
on Bayu Village, Banyuwangi East Java Indonesia
The spirit of Bayu, is research based-art of exploring about memory and place. An intermingle between memory of the locals, history, myth and spiritual belief are explored in architectural imprints. The five artworks use surrealism point of view, to cpature the intangible quality of the place. The imagined space, fact-fiction, dream-reality are became a spatial language to navigate the narration of the local collected during the reserach. The local beliefs, full of metaphor, imagination and imply in their everyday reality. The lives in in between space – physical and metaphysical world. The ghost, supranatural figures, has become one with the meaning of place. Also, it became on of the most powerful social control, resonating the nasionalist spirits. This ‘irrational’ act is their unconisous defend mechanism, aganst the rational change -global capital, perceive as modern colonizer. This exhibiton held in Ulumampang Menanam program 2020, initiate by Studio Klampisan Bayuwangi fonded by Ministry of Edcuation and Culture.
*Rohing, is the Javanese term, mean ‘The Spirit’
Rohing Bayu # 1
Minatur Photo Site Specific (Pak RT’s guest room)
The guest room in the resident’s house is a part of identity reflection. On the walls of the guest room, many photos, calendars, paintings or other art objects are hung. The décor of the guest room seems to be a marker of the identity of a family living in the house. As if, the guest are not only welcomed by the host, but also their relatives and spiritual figures.
The houses of the Bayu villagers, are spatially composed in horizontal relation. The terrace, guest room are facing the main road. Most of the houses has no fenced. It line up side by side with the neighbor’s houses . These horizontal relation, allows each houses connected by a connecting door (side entrance) , and communal space in back of the house (kitchen, bathroom, fields). As well as the front yard of the house, their yard are connected to neighbor’s yard. The house located in compound, which has a shared space in between. The perception of private and public, are not divided by rigid boundaries. In fact, even the main road can be considered a semi-private space. Sometime they turn the main road as the ‘collective event’ such wedding, religion event, blocking the vehicle mobility by consent. Furthermore, a division of activity in interior space, such as eating, sleeping, watching TV, also does not have rigid boundaries. This spatial orders, shows life of the village as community which interacts organically. This relation traces back to architectural imprints as a reflection of a ‘kinship’ way of life.
By turning Pak RT’s house, into a site of exhibition, an inquiries of public and private are questioned. In the living room of Pak RT (the neighborhood leader) in this house, a figurine photo is hung in guest room wall. As located in the front room, this photo imply the transformation of house’s identity – the house became anonymous. The photo turn the house into surreal house, by capturing the familiar pose of the figurine, yet strange. These “little people” are lives in their own micro-cosmos, invisible, yet able to observe. In this case, Photo figurines, like turning the physical space of the living room into the metaphysical space / space envisioned. Pak RT’s house, has turned into a figure’s house, follows by other room : living room turn into video room, bed room turn into sound installation and photo. The series of art work, consistently reveals the spirit of the place, by triggering memory in surreal term.
Rohing Bayu #2
Video in Living room
7 mins duration
In the video, an atmosphere of surrealism appears within the Bayu village. In video, the ceramic paintings, house paintings, statues , reliefs on monuments, the doors, windows, curtains, come to life. Things have memories. Like a Mooi Indie painting, which is often kept by residents, to see idealization, the romanticism of nature, is a contrast to modern village developments. How do ceramic paintings of peacocks, tiger ornaments, phoenixes, seem to be fossilized in modern materials. Ceramic paintings with ‘guardian’ figures (such as tigers, lions, Dolog statues, etc.) come in ceramic materials, printed and pasted without special craft skills. Relief made with cement, imported statue from Bali, signifies a cultural crisis, in terms of finding the right metaphor of form.
Mooi Indie paintings, which are rooted in the romanticism of the western view an exoticism of nature. The ceramic painting in Mooi Indie style, reflects a villager ‘fantasy’ the other world. The village’s architecture, try to miniaturize the concept of ‘other’. The other ,defines by the influence of western, offering a romantic style. This image has becomes the villager idealization of the beauty. The romanticism of nature, becomes one of the identities, which forms the spirit of a place. In this case, the imprints on the interior space, as a visual markers of a place, record the desire, the hidden imaginations of the residents which only appear in the imagined spaces. As their way of life, a mixture between superstitious and logic are practices toward every day realities.
The video story puts forward the traces of architecture, which contributed to the formation of the universe / cosmos, which was disrupted by the dark history (Bayu’s war) which is still connected to the memories of the villagers. Scenes, taken from important locations such house, lake, monument, street, gate. These architectural element resonate the villager’s memory, belief and superstitious within public or privates sphere.
Rohing Bayu # 3 and 4
Sound installation, Photo in bed room
The dramatic script read by the Bayu* villagers’ which tells about juxtaposition of their way of life and Soekarno’s* speech, at the opening of the 1955 Asian-African Conference. Some of the quotes in this speech were taken to be summarized with the citizen’s narrative. The script are read in Javanese language, followed by Javanese art song, as an appropriation of the local residents’ janger* art.
The narrative of the text reflects two paradoxes. On the one hand, the citizen’s narrative about their way of life, emerges from the local spiritual belief. While in the other hand, the script intertwined Soekarno’s speech, as a nationalism spirit of Indonesia. The narrative is read out accompanied by the macapat song, as an appropriation of the local residents’ Janger* practice.
A sound installation, followed by a series of photos of the daily landscape of Bayu village, inhabit in the room of the local house. The photo capture, a Clouds, fog, moves sequentially from the top of mountain to the city. The cloud, fog, are transitional substances between air and water. It has two elements, namely water and air. Two important elements in this village which geographically, form the sacred soul of a place. Clouds, fog are also a liminal element, because they are able to change shape to follow its space. Only a certain air pressure, condense the air, and moves it from place to place. These clouds also represent one myth occurs one of sacred water springs. The local belief, that the water springs has the aurora quality, sometime a light-fog enitity appear from the surface of the water. By this spiritual phenomena, the locals tend to perceive this site is sacred.
The series of photo try to define the immeasurable quality of a space, by showing how a space has an intangible quality called a spirit of place. The clouds that walk from Rowo Bayu * to the monument of Bayu * implying a historical-mythical relation of the locals, toward place.
*Bayu is Javanese word of wind. This village has important geographical aspect : water springs, mountain and forest. This three geographical element, define the sacredness of the place, due to theis cosmological belief.
*Soekarno is the first president of Indonesia. He is very influential on putting the foundation of Indonesia’s way of life and governmental system.
*Janger is Banyuwangi, local folk-art for performing both ritual, dance and drama for enacting the local myth or folktale.
*Rowo Bayu is the lake surround by several sacred water springs. Many people comes to this site to meditate, and communicate with the spririt for guidance.
*Monument of Bayu is a monument built for commomerating Bayu’s war (Puputan Bayu). This war is the one Java’s biggest war against the colonials.
Rohing Bayu # 5
Sound composition in guest room table
The sound composition takes elements of the surrounding sound environment: the sound of tengekret, crickets, water, frogs, which are translated into the voices of the people reading the script and song. The script is about the villager’s way of life, syncornise with the Soekarno speech of Asia Africa Conferencies 1955. The composition is based on the distortion of electronic rhythms on tengkeret sound elements, which are then melodically filled with the script reader which is composed in polyphony style. Polyphony is a type of musical texture consisting of two or more independent melody lines simultaneously.
The polyphony composition is one characteristic of the romantic music, which is the reference for western art song (lieder), while in Java/Indonesia coalled Kidung. Several Javanese songs, follow the standard of pentatonic composition, which also are arranged with the concept of polyphony. This sound composition, try to experiment the electronic adapation mixs between the narrator voice (dramatic reading) , sound environment and gamelan pentatonic rhytm.
Sound collobaorator: Yohanes Kelvin
Site specific Installation on Basement Prison of Jakarta Historical Museum
Sand clay, concrete, other media
New town development dominates the Jakarta cityscape as the prefered solution to ongoing urban growth. These developments, however, are often designed as exclusive gated communities that foster social segregation. Developers capitalise on urban paranoia and market tall walls and heightened security as inherent positives. Prisons too are built with the principles of containment and surveillance in mind. The distinction is that in a prison these qualities have negative connotations.
In this installation work made of a sand-clay composite and a concrete-gypsum composite, I try to invert the isolated spaces of the prison and the gated community. I turn the prison into a space of imaginary freedom by installing a mirror to obscure the prison walls. On the other hand, the miniature buildings reflected in the mirror-wall replicate the endless multiplication of mass housing typical of new town developments. Over the course of the exhibition, the miniature buildings will gradually be destroyed by the water quifier in the basement, a symptom of Jakarta’s rapid land subsidence due to excessive groundwater extraction. The body of the miniatures (made from gypsum) will absorb the water, destroying the clay-sand façade. This reflects the condition of North Jakarta buildings which are deteriorating as Jakarta sinks.
This work articulates the dark side of architecture through a flooded basement-prison, fantastical architectural models and the process of decay as ecological catastrophe arrives. In ‘Buildings Must Die’, Stephen Cairns states that the decay of a building is a starting point for re-imagining architecture and forming new conceptions of utopia.
Jakarta is sinking, which one do we choose: floating city or underwater city?
Wire Sculpture Installation Various dimension
Naked House, is an installation work that re-presents sheaths and objects to a domestic space through a series of wire gestural lines. The boundary of space, furniture, is described as a shadowy object, thus presenting a new space, where the boundary between the positive and negative spaces is biased. The composition of such installa-tions shows a negative area, imagining domestic space as an Atopos (without a place) an imaginary, no-sign world. Naked House, stripping the house, by removing hierarchical and linear structures, conventional ob-ject-body perception, so that it can be reimagined as a more liquid space.
This work invite us to imagine a notion of gender in domestic space. The house, perceives as a projections of the intense If, which are imaginative, poetic as opposed to mechanistic ways of view. At the same time the works also being critical on binary domestic space-making, inherent from adopted colonial thinking. The house-proto-type, likely follws the ideal ‘composition of space’ that divided the space firmly between masculine-feminine and auxiliary. On everdaylife, the practiced space of the house, creates an environment on which woman uncon-sciously made to always to rely on men, in regards of her privates realm. Here, Women find it difficult to be inde-pendent in the outside world, if the personal space (domestic) alone, is actually constructed with masculine logic, based on the principle of function, representation of status, without thinking about the body and psychological needs of women.The interior of the house also based on an anthopometric standard based on male size. Woman are consucously attach to the idea of ‘controlled’ environment,which ironically shadow their existencies.
Sound performance in site specific installation
wire, headset and various medium
The things about memory are like to open the pandora boxes. We try to deny nor accept the content inside it fully, such sometimes we manipulate, deny or dramatized it so we can explain and reason with ourself in present time. My works offer a two-way experience, where the viewer persuade to rely on their memory about recognition to complete the works. By referring to outline drawings and to gestural drawings made by wire, creating the volume of an object to its total silhouette, it will create a new space which poised between visibility and invisibility.
The expression relates to the uncanny aspect of memory, to the way we remember familiar object in my domestic space in childhood, but also we try to annihilate many events related to the objects, especially if the objects have become a triggered to some unpleasant memory.
The performance itself only uses sound to trigger the audience memory as they walked among the installation. They will be guided to imagine, and react as approaching certain zone or object. The idea of performances also try to choreograph the audience within the installation, by sound and object clue. The performance likely a simulation for the audience to also experience there-enactment of childhood memory., especially in 90’s generation. This installation requires audience walks with booklet and headset, to hear the composition of instruction and sound effects.
Experimental Music Performances
Plastic installation, digital experimental music, costume
Nusasonic, MusicHackLabs Yogyakarta 2018
host by CTM Berlin
This performance based on the idea of body-environment sound, which the object of plastic installation, through gestural movement contribute to music composition.
The musicians compose a piece which related to the idea of ‘plastic’ sound and gamelan-chanting inspirations. The collaboration involve the sound designer, video DJ , ethno composer and Digital noise music macker.
This performance was a result of 10 days workshop collaboration, on creating an interdisciplinary practices between experimental music, space and body gesture.
Site specific Performance on Abandoned Houses
Site specific Installation of Dust
The performance explores the uncanny side of domestic house. One common case in Indonesia is to stigmatized the colonials building (especially houses) due to colonial wounds. The social imagination recalled the trauma by lending a representation of local narratives such as superstitious, myth or urban legends to counter a traumatic memory of colonialization.
The video, narrated by locals who tell a story of building’s past, and how they perceive it. While the performer collects dust, the appearance of her doppelganger shows the uncanny situation all over the spaces. The performers also choose to interfere with odd spaces to see the spaces in unconventional. She re-appears, enters from the window, crouch on the ceiling, her gesture seems overly react. She reaches the dust in the oddest space, tries to get intimate, with every blank, leftover curve of the body house. As she seeks a secret, a clue in the very odd, avoidable, ignored corner of the house, every scene also re-enacts the narrator’s story. These actions represent a gesture on digging the memory repressed as juxtaposed over the narrators, the house and the performances. Every odd corner of the houses, echoes the unwanted memory, the shadow, the dark side of architecture. The house, the act of dustings, seems familiar, yet in one way, it evokes the strange situation once occurs there. The house chosen provides a context of colonialization, yet it now abandoned, ruin as a by-product of current social fictions.
Later, after the performances, the dust will be relocated to other spaces to re-contextualized itself within the present time. The dust will be installed through long durational performances, to create the dust installation, in the form of previous house decor. The uncanny, the disturbance of something that is not a presence, create uncanny poetry, so does the existence of long durational performance who interfere with the occupants daily life quietly. The reconstruction of the previous house interior has become a passage to remember the uncanny memory within the domestic space, which hid a secret projected by current society. It is like creating a room within a room, as an attempt to replacing the memory of colonial wounds and seeks other space to neutralized. Ghost stories, myth, and spiritual belief have become the last defense of our culture, to give a counter-narrative of failed rationality
The site-specific performance, located on these abandoned houses:
1. Merapi House
All villages in the mount of Merapi has been vanished by the eruption. The house left in ruin and locals stigmatized as sacred places, where the mythology are alive. Now, no one lives there, and the villagers move away from the mountain. The village turns into ruin, among the forest, and abandoned through time.
2. Cepu House
This house has been long abandoned because it locates next to the cemetery. No one wants to rent these properties, because of the location and superstitious beliefs. The house built in a dutch neighborhood on a small city called Cepu. Many ambtenaar (civil worker) used to live there as a worker in the oil and forestry department. The neighborhood still alive, but some houses are turning into tragic transformation or left behind as a ruin too.
Unhomely: Rumah Merapi
video performances on collecting dust in abandoned Merapi House
6 mins video
Unhomely: Rumah Cepu
video performances on collecting dust in Cepu abandoned house
6 mins video
Long durational performances on
dust installation in Garasi Theatre House, Yogyakarta
(the dust taken from Cepu and Merapi abandoned house, from previous performances
Practices of Public Anarchy: Ornament is a Crime
Site-Specific installation artwork and social experiment
Locate at Galeri Cipta 3, Taman Ismail Marzuki Jakarta Art’s Council
Rupiah dime in concrete block, resin
Most of the Indonesian people see public space as an expression of freedom, but it leads to anarchy by claimed it for personal needs, which now has to become a common sense. For example, there are so many illegal parking in a side street which leads by local informal sector or waste dumpster on pavement or crime of stealing public fixtures such street lamp, or even public sculpture.
My latest experiment called” Practices in Public Anarchy’ try to explore the possibility of the unpredicted response of Indonesian public in public space. By making a site-specific installation that mingles with place context, some people will respond differently in terms of anarchy. The hidden surveillance camera put in public space to capture candidly their response. For example, In my last experiment, I put rupiah coins as ornaments finish on the pavement. Thus bring issues on how to ornament in public space is seen as potential on inviting crime, which is contrary most of the private acquisition on public space usually occurs to earn money. The video will show how unpredictable response create special candid performance through proces, bound in a certain time and place.
Ghost of Des Indes Hotel
Durational installation artwork
at Palace des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) Museum, Brussel commissioned for EUROPALIA, “Power and Other Things” Exhibition
unfired clay, acrylic
Des Indes hotel has been built on 1845 and around Indonesia independence, on 1945-9150 this hotel has witnessed an import-ant declaration called” Perjanjaian Roem Roeyerf: This declaration has been a turning point, the dutch stop and leave Indonesia officially, witnessed by the federal nation. Also as a hotel, Des Indes has been a perfect example of the colonial-assimilation blend on adapting architectural style. All art deco/colonial building in Indonesia has been invented due to the assimilation of tropical and vernacular of Indonesia, which differs the colonial building in Europe and Asian. Hereby, the architecture has been one of the largest legacies in Indonesia, to educate and represent the spirit of the era.
Meanwhile, the lost of Des Indes replace by Duta Merlin store has become a big impact on Indonesia cultural artifact. It is a paradox, while Indonesia ironically refuses to learn and look for the past, and on the other hand, is to invent the future identity with adopting capitalization (which also pioneered by western). In any way, those modes of the lost of the heritage, replace the department store/superblock becoming a ‘trend’ here. It leaves us to consume more and more because everybody tries to build a commercial place.
Site-Specific installation artwork at Gallery National Jakarta
commissioned for SEA+ Triennale
raffia, sling steel
various dimension on a span of 26×15 m
collaboration with Ali Robin
The installation of exploring the idea of space production. It is involving the interdisciplinary approach between architecture and art. This approach suits the
idea of interconnection, embracing or encounter “other field” or about making a connection beyond the boundaries. The installation has taken place “site-specific”. This artworks attached area made to commissioned for SEA+ Triennale 2016 on National Gallery in between building A and C.
This intervention will create a contrast of those “heritage, sacred “ building of art, with the kitsch of raffia plastic rope. The contrast between low and high art evoke another dimension to represent in spatial form by catenary structure. The catenary form chooses to express a form of the tension of the low-high art. The using of raffia as the material, chosen to express the idea of how we are living among the cultural and popular kitsch which tends to distance the audience with the value of fine art.
Gun Staple filler
Ephemicropolis is the act of building an ephemeral city. Through the rapid changes that affect the urban condition, the city reveals ephemeral quality , the ever-changing. This continuous transformation has manifested into the sequential of the urban fabric that patronized by the domination of capital building. In this piece, the composition of this unknown city, represent the metaphor of gun track filler as the ‘capital-related ‘ material.
Yet in contradict, this material has “futuristic” quality (metal, shiny, efficient, and modular that reflect the tiniest hope of utopian contemporary city.
The composition of this modular material, describe the unplanned urban scrawled that happened in the sporadic pattern of Indonesia urban scrawl, which lacks regulation on controlling the growth and spatial planning.
Enjoying Tjihampelas Zwembad
rainbow cake, edible sugar in Tjihampelas Zewmbad form
I visualize the loss of heritage building “Tjihampelas Bath Center ” as performance art. I make a replication of the building with rainbow cakes at the sloping table. At that time, two anonymous people make a deal `under the table’ in a set of a dining table, as a representative of ‘bribing’ between the decision-maker. However, the cake also slices and circulating through audiences to eat. The act of audiences eating the heritage cake also contribute to a symbol of public ignorance and acceptance about demolishing this heritage, to be replaced by superblock.
This artwork has become my critics toward the preservation of heritage building which becomes an n phenomenon to a real public. Heritages only see as sweet targets of capitalism.
Sembarang Kota (City of Nowhere)
Unfired clay in Water Pond
site-specific at various dimension
commissioned for Jakarta Biennale
The anonymous city phenomenon has started to hit the Indonesian metropolitan city. The anonymous city only has functional buildings without meaning or sense of identity. The building tends to be boxy-bold, repetitive, massive and monotonous. People are led to do their activities in indoor space, as the outdoor space as some ambiguous space due to its lack of the humane design. This work presents a group of modern proto-type of superblock which will be decay during the time of the exhibition. The miniature sets into the site-specific pond with black water, which allow the audience to walks through it in distinctive views related to the description of delusion wish of modern society of utopia. The absorbing of black water into the building bock also represent a latent danger of the diminished level of sea-water in Jakarta.
Ephemeral Space: Alun-Alun 1930
Durational installation artwork,
Unfired clay in the acrylic water table
1200x100x5 cm; base height 90 cm
This work departs from the problem of degradation of value in the city; Urban Decay. The city of Bandung is experiencing the anomalies, the image of city detached from historical landscape.. The decay reflected on the condition of the city center called ‘Alun-alun’. Alun-alun is a typical vernacular form of Indonesian’s city square, in which became a representation of power.
In current time, Alun-alun, as a landmark of the city, are no longer has meaning. It is transformed with no historical references, as a byproduct of capital land use.
In this work, the face of Alun-alun Bandung in 1930, has brought back, restor in scale of miniature. However, during the time of exhibiton, this miniature has been dissolve slowly, by water. Water seen as a hidden force, immerse into the value of the object (building, places). This installation try to represent the performative aspect of time, toward a shifting of place-makin. The water gradually dissolved the building, collapse slowly, as a satirical expression on the urban amnesia.
Durational installation artwork
Unfired clay in stainless steel pond
These installations try to expand the sculpture into the landscape. Some clay figure placed on the reflective pond, which immerse with the environment surrounds. The clay figure will slowly decay, by the water underneath it. The figure represents our anonymity, insignificance of our existence over the universe. The process of decay, immersing into the whole reflections of our being toward truth and reality
Durational installation artwork and
Unfired clay in an acrylic vitrine
Acrylic vitrine: 100x30x30 cm; acrylic base height : 70 cm
The process of decomposition is a manifest of the lost of artist idealism toward the ego-existences. By destroying an artwork, a concept of nothingness is offered to celebrate the absent of the author. A concept of body deconstruction in the water also related to the idea of transience presence of human being over time, which fragile and toward death.
Durational installation artwork and
Unfired clay in an acrylic vitrine
Acrylic vitrine : 150x46x30 cm; base height : 100 cm
This artwork focused on the theme of the absence of ideal love. Love hs become a symbol of immortality. Represent by the pose of lover intercourse, the decay of the woman sculpture, and the stillness of the man sculpture conveys a dialogue between a relation of woman-man in symbolic ways. The man always related to the material world while the woman is more spirituals. However, the setting of vitrine and water has a distorted effect which also always become a ‘setting’ to define a sensation of being in love.; longing for something immortals. Meanwhile, the changes and decomposition of emotion are also sometime un-avoidable towards time.