IMAGE OF THE GIANT
Music, video art, video installation and performance
Image of the Giant would be a new interpretation and an effort to give new position for some folk arts (traditional forms) that still actively practice in all over Java ethnic in Indonesia. In a broader sense, the project will be presenting as a portrait of resistance, in the middle of complex contestation of political identity, to the issue of displacement and disappearance.
At first, the project inspired by Indonesian folk dance “Jaranan Buto”, portrays a riding giants troop (in which the puppet horses has a giant head) that also incorporates trances and magic tricks. “Jaranan Buto” is folk art from Banyuwangi, East Java. In one assumption, this kind of art is an art of protesting.
Banyuwangi until the 18th century called “The Kingdom of Blambangan”, is the area that has a long history of war. “Blambangan” Kingdom considered the last Hindu Kingdom in Java before it conquered by Mataram Kingdom (1587–1755) with the support from VOC (Dutch company). Blambangan was destroyed and took millions of lives. The area later changed its name to Banyuwangi and still leaves a spirit of resistance up to now. As the winner, Mataram Kingdom became the only empire that rules Java and VOC brought new people to cut down the forest and build very large coffee and cocoa plantations on the bloody land of Banyuwangi. In other parts of Indonesia, this also happened, with an almost similar pattern, even today, from plantations to mining. The world has not changed.
After the war “Mataram” Kingdom wrote the famous literature “Serat Damar Wulan” that mentions the king of Blambangan is a giant villain called “Menak Jingga”. Maybe this literature tends to glorified Mataram’s victory. Later, the defeated people of Blambangan render this giant figure king as a hero, not a villain, which is inspired people to create “Jaranan Buto”.
This project not only just represented the dark history that happened in the past and its connection with today’s context but also focused on how the people in the grassroots survive from regime oppression. How they strengthen each other’s kinship, strengthen their local identity, building counter-narratives to create a complex defense system. Among them, also gave birth to symbolic resistance in art which is more arrogant and full of confident. They can build power among themselves, although this is almost a war that can not be won. There are many enemies and interests at different levels, both local and global, a complexity that became the background of various land or natural resource conflicts in Indonesia from the past or present.
IMAGE OF THE GIANT in Biennale Jogja XV 2019
IMAGE OF THE GIANT Exhibition in Biennale Jogja XV 2019, 20 October – 30 November 2019
Size : Variable Dimensions
Medium : Video and Installation
Year : 2019
This project started from the experimentation of two composer with very opposite media, a contemporary digital music composer and traditional composer. We also working with “Jaranan” troupe in several places in Java, to make a performance, documentation and also to get “Jaranan” oral history and its social context. This experimentation later continued in “RAJA KIRIK” music project
The output of this project is to make music compositions, visual exhibition, performance and video art.
Yennu Ariendra: Initiator, director, music composer, performer, videographer
J Mo’ong S Pribadi: Music composer, workshop facilitator, performer
Asa Rahmana: Project officer, writer