They are young, creative and ready to deliver mind-blowing performances. Dozens of artists from the UK will collaborate with their Indonesian counterparts, performing in eight cities across the archipelago during the United Kingdom/Indonesia (UK/ID) Festival.
A huge Tesla coil installation inside a box-sized cage sparked out high-voltage lightning bolts that seemed to be dancing with intense versatility.
Not only dancing, the coil also exuded unique melodic sounds with every blast. Inside the darkness of the main hall of NuArt Gallery and Sculpture Park in Bandung, West Java, the coil took those who witnessed it into a dystopian realm, which was both terrifyingly entertaining and breathtaking.
The unique performance was from Glasgow-based artist Robbie Thomson, who harnessed the sound capabilities of the Tesla coil by manipulating the sound wave and the electromagnetic fields. He calls the performance XFRMR (pronounced as Transformer).
Thomson’s performance was the opening act of the UK/ID Festival, which officially kicked off on Oct. 18 and will last until Dec. 8 in eight cities across Indonesia. The festival is part of the three-year UK/Indonesia 2016-2018 program, which was launched during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s visit to the UK in April.
Other than the Tesla coil music from Thomson, the festival also features 33 Indonesian artists and organizations along with 26 artists from the UK. They will showcase their craft, ranging from music to fashion to films and even virtual reality works, in Jakarta, Surakarta in Central Java, Surabaya in East Java, Medan in North Sumatra, Padang in West Sumatra, Ubud in Bali and Yogyakarta, after the official kick off in Bandung.
For those who missed Thomson’s debut performance, he will solo perform once again in Surabaya and Yogyakarta on Oct. 20 and Oct. 23 respectively. On Oct. 24, Thomson will remain in Yogyakarta to perform a collaboration work with the local artists in a performance called Robbie Thomson X Yogya Artists.
Another music performer that might be worth watching are Kero Kero Bonito, a southern London band that boasts an unusual sound mix of 8-bit video games, J-Pop tunes, dancehall and rap.
Kero Kero Bonito’s lead singer, Sarah Midori Perry, who is also a visual artist, defines their work as a “dreamy color explosion”. Their performances will take place in The Goods Diner and Studiorama Live, Jakarta, on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19.
In the film department, the festival features an event called “Gerobak Bioskop”, which is Indonesia’s traditional form of pop-up open air theater called layar tancep. Under this program, visitors can mingle while enjoying selected British films. After being held during the opening festival, “Gerobak Bioskop” will also take place at Kedai Pos in the Old Town in West Jakarta on Nov. 19 and Nov. 20, and in Aiola in Surabaya on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.
The festival will also feature a unique documentary film presentation that utilizes virtual reality technology. Through a documentary titled Notes Into Blindness: Into Darkness, the audience can directly experience the somewhat absurd and surreal visual experience of a man who slowly loses his sights and goes into total blindness.
UK Ambassador to Indonesia Moazzam Malik said the festival was a perfect channel for the young and creative minds of the UK and Indonesia to meet with one another, showcase their works and eventually collaborate to produce more and more creative works in the future.
“The UK and Indonesia have so much potential to work together for mutual benefit. The UK/ID Festival demonstrates the great things that can happen when the UK and Indonesia collaborate,” Malik said.
The commitment from the UK and the Indonesian government to encourage young and upcoming artists to showcase their creativity during the festival seems to be noble and liberating. However, it is apparent that conservatism has been on the rise within Indonesian society these days, which puts into question whether creativity among its youth gets serious support from the government.
For example, radical religious groups in several regions have the audacity to shut down film discussions or tear down artwork that they deem offensive to their religion. In one instance, a famous Indonesian YouTuber, Awkarin, was recently summoned by the National Commission for Child Protection (KPAI) and was forced to apologize for posting “inappropriate behavior” on her personal YouTube channel.
Malik said he was aware of the conservatism and it was not only exclusively an Indonesian issue. In the UK, he said, conservatives used to deem The Beatles as a dangerous group. However, as time went by, history showed that The Beatles became one of the greatest legacies from the UK creative industry.
In dealing with conservatism, Nyoman Nuarta, Indonesia’s celebrated sculptor who founded NuArt Gallery and Sculpture Park, said in the spirit of the festival, the Indonesian government should now realize that creativity, in any shape or form, should not be limited by rigid constraints.
“To block the creativity of the young is an act of crime,” he said.
— Photos courtesy of British Council/Panji Pratama
Penulis:Hans David Tampubolon
Sumber: Jakarta Post