Helatari Salihara 2017 is Komunitas Salihara’s regular dance event held in Teater Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 8 until 18 June 2017. To see more of their schedule, please click the Jazz Buzz Salihara 2017 banner found in think archipelago website.
The sounds axe, saw, knife, sandpaper and brush to make a traditional wood mask set the atmosphere for the choreographer Katia Engel’s latest work in Indonesia, From Starting to Cut the Wood. It conveys the process of the mask making process and its relation to the materials and work tools, which was interpreted by a solo dancer.
Ari Ersandi’s exploration and his response to the role character of a mask artisan was one of the most breathtaking performances at the Helatari Salihara 2017.
It began with a recorded voice by the seasoned mask artisan, “When I make a mask, first I choose the wood, second I cut the wood and thrid I choose what character I want to make.”
Another line from the same voice slipped into the middle, “When I paint I make two layers. I usually use red, blue, yellow and white and add for decoration an little bit of gold.”
At the closing scene, the real mask artisan behind the voice showed up and continued his work in front of the audience. A life time dedication to a work of precision as represented in this case by the artist not only resulted in high craftmanship, but also made the work itself a spiritual journey.
From Starting to Cut the Wood is a dance based focusing on auditory sense created by wood mask carving, accompanied by the spoken words, and apparently with an influence of the choreographer, the frequent use of projected quotes by names such as:
‘Work is the fundamental condition of human life, and this to such an extent that in a certain way we have to say: it has created human mankind.’ – Friedrich Engels.
‘What is ahead of us, is the perspective of a working society, which is out of work-the only activity which it is still capable of. What could be more disastrous?’ – Hannah Arendt.
‘A mask is not what it represents, but what it transforms, and what it chooses not to represent.’ – Claude-Levi Strauss.
The sounds blend with the carver’s spoken words. Katie Engel creates performance works, installations, videos, photographs, and documentary films. She studied dance at Dance Institute Bremen and Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies New York. Her works have been presented at many events, such as International Film Festival (Singapore), International Dance Festival Tokyo/Yokohama (Japan) and at Akademie der Künste (Berlin).
In 2012 Katia started producing dance work in Indonesia. As a choreographer and artistic director, she collaborated with former members of Gumarang Sakti Dance Company in the works of Tanah Air (2012) and In Between (2014), featured at the Indonesian Dance Festival Jakarta in 2012 and 2014, respectively. An addition to her latest production in Indonesia is the documentary movie Barabah about the Indonesian choreographer Hoerijah Adam, screened at the Indonesian Dance Festival 2016.