Tag Archives: Jakarta

Quo vadis tari kontemporer?

web-banner-sipfest-on-think-archipelagoSIPFest 2016 is the fifth performing arts bienalle held by Komunitas Salihara in Kompleks Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 1 October 2016 onwards until early November. To see more of their programs, please click all the SIPFest 2016 banner found in think archipelago website.


Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt menampilkan Praeambulum di SIPFest 2016, Komunitas Salihara
Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt menampilkan Praeambulum di Salihara International Performing Arts Festival 2016, Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta.

Judul tinjauan seni yang klise, namun rangkaian pertunjukan seni di SIPFest 2016 mengundang pertanyaan dan pernyataan yang sama menyangkut komentar khalayak tentang perkembangan seni tari yang dikurasi oleh Komunitas Salihara tersebut.

Menarik untuk disimak kembali anggapan bahwa seni kontemporer, khususnya tari, tidak pernah beranjak dari unsur tradisional.

Meski perkembangan tari makin beragam dengan isi konten sosial dan politik melalui rekaan eksploitasi tubuh yang lebih demokratis, ditandai oleh munculnya banyak kelompok baru, namun dinamikanya, ditelaah dari aspek sejarah, misalnya, tidak berasal dari pertentangan dengan tesis pendahulunya.

Dinamika sosial dan politik

Setidaknya sulit ditemukan sebuah antitesis dari inisiatif pemberontakan seorang artis, kecuali dalam kasus Konstruktivisme yang mempengaruhi seni pertunjukan di era transisi Soviet Rusia, itu pun ditunggangi kepentingan politis.

Memang ada pemberontakan kolektif terhadap balet di awal abad ke 20 di Amerika Serikat oleh kelas menengah. Namun itu juga karena aspek sosio-ekonomi, bukan kesadaran individual untuk melawan budayanya sendiri (counter-culture).

Kelas menengah sedang bangkit pada saat itu ditilik dari sudut pendapatan, dan juga peningkatan pengeluaran. Dari perbaikan ekonomi timbul kebebasan menentukan selera baru, apa pun itu asal bukan perwakilan dari dominasi usang yang membatasi gerak seperi halnya balet klasik.

Mungkin ini data empiris terakhir terkait dinamika tari dalam sejarah modern. Terdapat kompromi identitas budaya hanya agar sebuah pertunjukan dapat diterima kelompok tertentu, dengan dalih penciptaan sintesis dari unsur tradisi lama dan embrio kreativitas baru.

Kompromi yang dijalankan demi mengukuhkan ikatan dengan penonton dalam sebuah pertunjukan langsung diakui oleh Ingun Bjørnsgaard saat ditanya tentang penggunaan karya klasik Johann Sebastian Bach dalam Praeambulum yang ia pentaskan bersama Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt.

Diakuinya bahwa musik klasik sudah dikenal penonton di Indonesia. Ini adalah generalisasi pascakolonial yang tidak bisa disalahkan. Namun ia menampik komentar bahwa karyanya merupakan bagian dari neoclassicism yang sedang populer di tanah asalnya beberapa tahun belakangan.

Motif-motif neoklasik telah memberikan wajah-wajah familiar dengan konteks baru. Patung-patung Yunani yang mendapat semprotan grafiti, modifikasi model melalui perangkat lunak, atau bahkan sekadar sentuhan collage, tren ini melanda pameran patung hingga, katakanlah, sampul CD grup musik elektronik Whomadewho dari Denmark. Tidak ada yang benar-benar baru saat ini.

 

Koreografer kelompok yang bermarkas di Oslo ini tidak serta-merta latah. “Kombinasi antara musik baroque dan musik kontemporer bukan berarti neoklasik,” katanya sambil menggeleng. Itu upaya untuk melakukan kontak dengan penonton global, tambahnya.

Pengaruh klasik dalam gerakan modern

Tampaknya produk kuno itulah yang menjadi katalis. Terlepas dari pengaruh klasik, para penari bebas berinisiatif mengendalikan tempo tanpa terlalu memperdulikan iringan musik itu sendiri. Meski masih sangat kuat akan unsur koreografi, Praeambulum yang tahun lalu ditampilkan di New York dan di awal November ini di Havana, menyuguhkan ekspektasi yang sangat bervariasi.

Meski tidak terlalu bebas, setiap penari di banyak kesempatan mampu memberikan materi untuk membangun struktur mereka masing-masing.

Berawal dari upaya kompromi inilah yang membuat unsur tradisional masih dipakai dalam seni tari saat ini. Bagaimana pun juga, ada kebebasan yang tak terdapat di seni tari, yang sebaliknya diumbar oleh seni lukis, misalnya.

Ada sebuah bentuk interaksi fisik yang perlu segera dibangun di tempat itu juga. Ada semacam tekanan rule of engagement agar penonton lebih proaktif.

Di sisi lain, peradaban yang dibangun oleh interaksi fisik lintas benua, dan dalam dua dekade terakhir secara global berubah wujud menjadi abstrak dari perangkat digital yang kemudian memunculkan konsep zero distance, telah menciptakan siklus membentuk, melebur, dan membentuk lagi. Yang direka ulang adalah gambaran-gambaran familiar dari masa lalu, yang dilebur adalah kebudayaan antarbenua, disaksikan oleh penonton di ujung lain dunia. Dari Eropa hingga Asia Tenggara, ada kesamaan.

 

Mega Mendung. Fitri Setyaningsih
Mega Mendung oleh Fitri Dance Work, SIPFest 2016, Jakarta. Photograph by Witjak Widhi Cahya, courtesy of Komunitas Salihara

Penampilan Fitri Dance Work bertajuk Mega Mendung di SIPFest 2016, contohnya, tak perlu diragukan lagi jika dilihat lagi konsistensi pemakaian pola rutinitas ke dalam gerakan artistik. Dalam karya yang akan tampil di Korea Selatan pada 2017 ini, koreografer Fitri Setyaningsih memiliki kecenderungan berkutat pada stereotip alam negaranya yang akan ia bawa ke depan penonton di ujung lain dunia.

Hamparan pasir yang beterbangan disapu kaki-kaki telanjang, dan struktur tak berdinding yang menghadirkan banyak bukaan. Nuansa pesisir hadir. Dari sana para penarinya kental membawakan pengaruh sosio-kultural.

Unsur tradisional dalam bentuk modern

Tampaknya Fitri Setyaningsih kerap mencari bentuk kontemporer yang berasal dari unsur-unsur tradisional, seperti di Mega Mendung dengan busana pedesaan yang dikenakan para penarinya, properti panggung seperti kantong isi beras yang dituang di atas tangan-tangan yang menadah, hingga sampai ke tangan para penonton yang kebagian sedikit, dan tabuhan instrumen musik tradisional.

Jika demikian, tidak salah untuk berasumsi bahwa tarian kontemporer Bu Fitri sulit terlepas dari pengaruh budaya tradisional.

Pertanyaan berikutnya yang muncul adalah seberapa relevankah unsur tradisional dalam perkembangan seni tari di Indonesia?

Apakah melulu berangkat dari, misalnya, identitas lokal si koreografernya, romantisisme akan kekayaan budayanya, atau apakah di masa depan nanti akan tiba saat di mana seni tari Indonesia akan tercerabut dari akarnya (grassroot) dan mencari bentuk kontemporer seutuhnya dan baru?

Eko Supriyanto akan menyajikan pertunjukan tari yang paling diantisipasi di SIPFest 2016, menjadi penutup dengan Balabala. Berangkat sebagai penari dan sudah berkeliling dunia membangun karir dan reputasi, kini ia memimpin Ekosdance Company menampilkan untuk pertama kalinya sebuah karya interpretasi baru dari tarian tradisional dari timur Cakalele yang rupanya dibawakan oleh para penari perempuan asal Maluku, bukan pria pada lumrahnya.

20 years of kubikukuri

web-banner-sipfest-on-think-archipelagoSIPFest 2016 is the fifth performing arts bienalle held by Komunitas Salihara in Kompleks Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 1 October 2016 onwards until early November. To see more of their programs, please click all the SIPFest 2016 banner found in think archipelago website.


Takuzo Kubikukuri in Butterfly Dream
Takuzo Kubikukuri dances with his neck hanging to a rope in Butterfly Dream.

In one of the most intense art performance in SIPFest 2016, the ARICA Theater Company draws an inspiration from a mundane cycle of life which conveys a universal message about a vivid impression of everyone’s life that often failed to be notice.

The way both performers deliver it was about the collaboration of two very distinctive styles and background. Tomoko Ando studied acting and built her career in theater.

In contrast, the male performer Takuzo Kubikukuri is reluctant to call himself and actor. Instead he is an actionist, a definition of his own preference.

Butterfly Dream, a theater from Japan by Arica Theater Company, performing in SIPFest, 15-16 October, Jakarta.
Butterfly Dream, a theater from Japan by ARICA Theater Company, performing in SIPFest, 15-16 October, Jakarta.

The main set, tools and choreography seems to exhibit a clear gesture of hanging an exasperated soul to death.

When asked whether the performance reflect a certain issue in the country of origin, director Yasuki Fujita, who is also the founder of the new group formed in 2001, made it clear that there is no intention to contemplate suicide, but on the contrary, his work displays a stronger sense for life, saying, “It is more lively, especially when you see someone dances like a butterfly.”

And that is exactly when the dance intensifies as Takuzo, in his disturbingly peaceful smile, had his body swayed with a neck hung to a rope, which was tied to a mechanical device with a pivot controlled at the other end by Tomoko.

Through a suspended moment, Takuzo showed his dance to the world, right before the dumbfounded audience, as their eyes were set to the swinging thin and old body, joyful as it seemed.

In this perplexed final part of the dance, his chin sat comfortably on a strap attached to a hanging rope while Nat King Cole’s Smile accompanied him to the end.

All it takes to be happy

When smile is used to hide an ache, as the song suggests, and one must keep trying to smile because that is what matters instead of crying, the audience gets to feel Takuzo’s smile at the face of pain.

And all the burden at the other end of the rope will get by, as Tomoko could not catch her breath, and then she stumbled over her own work of mechanism made to be inflict pain upon him.

Tomoko Ando and Takuzo Kubukukuri
Tokyo-based  Tomoko Ando (left) and Takuzo Kubikukuri (right) during an interview in SIPFest 2016. Despite stark differences in background, both intends to show interaction between humans.

Japan is among the countries with the highest suicide rate, the third below South Korea and Hungary.

It has on average 19.4 number of suicides per 100,000 people. 25,000 suicides were reported in Japan in 2014. That was roughly 70 per day. The vast majority were male.

Financial pressure among old citizens are often cited as the reason to opt for ending life. The inability to funnel frustrations or anger under the rule-oriented society is suspected by many as the particular reason for suicide among young population.

Tomoko Ando told that it crossed her mind that they might have reconstructed suicide gesture in their performance, intendedly or not, while Takuzo, when asked is there a reason why we should be happy in this life, said that he feels something nostaligic about happiness and sadness.

He has been dangerously practicing hanging himself for almost 20 years, starting in 1997 in his garden under the tree. His surname means hanging oneself.

He lives alone.

Kuntskring Paleis

dscn7528
Suzie Wong Bar at Kuntskring Paleis, Jakarta

Ever since it underwent major interior makeover a couple of years ago, the restaurant, which is housed in a conserved building in Menteng – the Dutch remainings of urban housing complex with ecological concept arguably the maiden project of its time in Asia – quickly became one of the most celebrated culinary experience in town.

dscn7534Taking advantage of the characteristics of the vicinity is an apparent for the restaurant owner, the Tugu Group, to boost its existence in the culinary map.

But it is the mixture of elements inside that mainly draws the visitors both and the majority knowledge-thirst audience.

dscn7555
The preserved facade of what used to be a Dutch cultural center, now turned to an establishment.  

The 20th century new indies style cultural center by Netherlands-Indies architect and painter Pieter Adriaan Jacobus Mooyen opened in 1914 by the patronage called Fine Arts Circle whose initiatives brought exhibitions, musical show, and art lectures.

Now serving as an establishment, not only exhibiting souvenirs of colonial times, Kuntskring Paleis interior is decorated with the product of acculturation in early centuries, the epic Mahabarata.

A giant statue of Arjuna in the hall, for instance, forms an inseparable ornament to the wall across the hall.

Hence it entails the presence of Pandawa, consisting of five siblings in Indian mythology: Yudistira, Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sadewa.

If there is a time and place of historical value in Jakarta that can spur appetite, Kuntskring Paleis might just be the best in delivering such implosive effect.

In close vicinity, the management operates a number of restaurants that share similar aesthetics, notedly Dapur Babah Elite, Lara Djonggrang, Shanghai Blue 1920 and Samarra.

Sipfest 2016 to find a relevance in the host country

web-banner-sipfest-on-think-archipelagoSIPFest 2016 is the fifth performing arts bienalle held by Komunitas Salihara in Kompleks Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 1 October 2016 onwards until early November. To see more of their programs, please click all the SIPFest 2016 banner found in think archipelago website.


Gus Dur: Tuhan Tidak Perlu Dibela. Purjito. 2016.Gus Dur: Tuhan Tidak Perlu Dibela. Purjito. 2016.

Komunitas Salihara’s traditional bienalle festival, held consecutively ever since its opening in 2008, then called Festival Salihara, begins in October with a more significant merit to be an internationally recognized art stage showcasing its well curated exhibitions so far under the new name SIPFest 2016, said the Program Director Nirwan Dewanto.

The Salihara International Performing Arts 2016 catches up with the recent tightly scheduled art events in town, say Jakarta Bienalle early this year or the ostentatious Bazaar Art Jakarta in a lavish shopping mall last month. But one wonders about its true intention besides global recognition. Every souvenir shop at the corner of the world aspires to export their products anyway.

Having successfully invited award-winning artists among international performers to fill the month-long programs is a brag worth appreciating. Local audience gets the chance to see some premiere exhibitions in a variety of preference: theater, music, and dance.

The Human Zoo Theater Company from England, will play The Girl Who Fell In love with the Moon for the first time in Asia. Likewise, Australian Speak Percussion will perform their musical show Transducer & Fluorophone, while Canadian-based Montreal Danse presents their Asian premiere work Prisms.

From local artists, EkosDance Company will perform Balabala, noted as the world’s first by choreographer Eko Supriyanto, whose reputation can no longer be disputed following Opera Jawa, and Madonna’s Drowned World Tour in 2001.

Dance, a chance to raise local issues

But what is the relevance to the host country current situation? Is it simply art for art’s sake? Since when it is so?

Even when Manifesto Kebudayaan, or more popularly known for its derogatory remarks Manikebu, emphasizes on art independence from any political stances in 1963, it was already an outright political movement, signed by a thousand proponents to counter the government-backed Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat or Lekra.

Or when New Art Movement or Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (GSRB) threw an antithesis in another chapter of art struggle in the country’s history, the decision to unite against the prevailing group in the 70s art scene was in in itself a clear politically-laden initiatives by a particular group. “Art for the sake of art” notion sounds naive.

Obviously bringing international names to an art event is a head-turning feat. But it remains to be seen whether these participants would have brought in ideas from afar that resonate here.

Although one can hardly challenge the fact that Indonesia’s fine arts is shaped by global art scene, it is the degree of relevance to the local issues that eventually perceive a particular form of art whether it will thrive or fade into obscurity.

The political language

Soviet Russia in pre-revolutionary era was a fine example of this, at least in a practical sense.

Theater thrived exponentially as art patrons and governments were fully aware that it was the most effective form compared to, say, literature, to deliver ideas at the times when illiteracy was high, not to mention it was easier to express cynicism against the merchant class through mimicry, a major issue among the Soviet Russia’s majority deprived peasants and labors.

Santuary 2016. Made Gede Guna Valasara
Santuary 2016. Made Gede Guna Valasara
Santuary 2016. Made Gede Guna Valasara. 2016.
Santuary 2016. Made Gede Guna Valasara. 2016.

Will theater program in SIPFest 2016 echo the above example in terms of getting the right medium to reach out to the public?

Perhaps, but the organizers have another approach. Four art installations could be the answer to how Komunitas Salihara use this moment to magnify social issues around.

One that steals the spotlight is the statue of the former president of Indonesia, the late Abdurrahman Wahid, by sculptor Purjito, whose provocatie title Gus Dur: Tuhan Tidak Perlu Dibela, named after Wahid’s book containing his writing pieces about vested interest by religious groups in Indonesia that undermines peace in diversity.

A life-sized sculpture is a reminder that to live in harmony albeit differences is the priority in the heterogeneous society such as Indonesia. The flock of birds in an art installation by Made Gede Wiguna Valasara titled Sanctuary 2016 discloses an intense display, as viewers wonder where the birds are heading.

The convoluted mass migration to find a refuge is a tragedy. In a local perspective, the eviction of illegal dwelling that has been filling the headlines of late to make way for city development raises a dilemma among the unaffected public. Conscience is put to test against the pragmatic decision for the greater good.

The old port

Monomat

Sunda Kelapa

Sunda Kelapa Port is still functioning as it had been since seven hundred years ago. It now accommodates only the wooden Phinisi ships, due to the relocation of the main harbor to Tanjung Priok, which was built in 19th century to keep up with the Suez Canal-induced maritime trade increase.

It was this limitation that made the old port a relic of the past.

But the faces of the hopefuls and hopeless are intertwined on the decks of these typically archaic ship models.

Their wooden hulls left an impression that these ships are unable to stand the test of time, nor able to handle the burden with which the modernity carries.

sunda kelapaThe exasperation on the ship crews faces reflected the atmosphere at the old port of Sunda Kelapa.

The people and the ships have been overwhelmed by the manual work, even though the work load shows only a small fraction to that of the modern port activities.

Nevertheless, the old ways of seafaring and trade refuse to surrender to the surge of time in this north-end of Jakarta’s old section.

 

Sunda kelapa

What lies beneath the highway

Kapuk

A road built at your convenience

There are cases when highways are laid out at the expense of existing frail connections of particular areas. Prof. Dr. Ir. Sedyatmo toll road which connects Jakarta and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, for instance, separated the vast and living space in Cengkareng. The solution was building crossing bridges available to transport people and goods on motorcycles.

A similar case is the highway that connects Jakarta with Bandung. Commerce in Bandung took a great benefit from the direct access to the capital, in which travel can now be made possible in just two hours.

But some sections of the highway had to cross exisitng villages, splitting them into two sides. Due to the characteristics of an area—size, interaction, and movement—seeking generic solution of building bridges does not necessarily replace accessibility like it used to be.

Kapuk
A man heads home by trespassing the toll road on foot, a dangerous habit to his daily commute.

But interestingly, people always have the ability to adapt with changes in their living spaces. Such a land-conquest merit in the modern context is clearly shown in the way people make access to move around, finding means to support their homes, trade goods and services, and so on.

In Kapuk, one of the areas that constitute Cengkareng district, North Jakarta, a long section of highway crossed by without an off-ramp. This backyard of Kapuk can be described as the deserted area by the river where housing is unorganised, wild plants grew naturally, and access to anywhere cut-off.

And the surrounding people at the dead-end part of the village managed to create a way of their own, a reliable dirt road passing under the highway, capable of getting them on bikes to main avenues at the west. This is one of the few open and unmapped networks in Jakarta.

Talking about the integration of city transportation modes, one can find an extraordinary case in the backyard of Kapuk that will let many engineers dumbfounded. This is an example of an actually functioning and time-tested integration of land and water transportation means. The less than 100 meters length of dirt road will end up at a riverside.

Kapuk
A man in his usual working day offers river-crossing service by boat where two ends of the rope are tied on the two sides of the river. Crossing from one side to another is made possible by relying on manual labor.

 

An alternate road that cuts the distance to and from the poor and heavily populated area of Kapuk.
An alternate road that cuts the distance to and from the poor and heavily populated area of Kapuk.

 

A small passage under the highway.
A small passage under the highway.

Cinema la strada

V4 Nov 2013Cinema la strada was the cover story of the fourth edition of think archipelago magazine, released in November 2013. It depicted the daily accounts of many activities by the people who make ends meet in Jatinegara, one of the earliest markets in Jakarta built more than a century ago. The photoessay was deliberately taken at dusk to present a different perspective.


Jatinegara

A number of people find shelter from a hot afternoon in front of the train station exit door, which have been locked permanently. For various reasons, the difficulty to find formal jobs causes people to be seen on the streets without much things to do. This is commonplace in the city’s public places.

A street vendor reclines on a sidewalk near train station in Jatinegara, South Jakarta. He displayed a few pair of footwears on a tarp. With a very small number of commodity to sell in a day, he can move and sit around in most parts of the city without any hassle.

But it is not so difficult to guess how small he could earn in one common day. At dusk, A man waits for a bus ride as he watches the traffic from the crossing bridge across the train station.

Depending on the severity of the traffic, a wait like this can last for hours. Making the bad to worse, the city’s public transportation is underfunded and in short supply. Waiting  can be very exasperating, something that is commonly felt in Jakarta.

Motorcycle taxi drivers at Jatinegara, East Jakarta, helplessly waited for passengers at the railroad crossing gate. One of them, stepping down from his parked motorcycle, enthusiastically amused a photographer he saw wandering around Jatinegara train station.

Not far from there, throwing his back against the wall that separates railroad and pedestrian precinct was a street vendor selling as many shoes as he could carry in his bag.

Some meters away, in the same realm of misfortunes, but just slightly better, a man stood in front of his street kiosk. He slipped his hand into a pocket and pulled out a handful of cash he earned that day. Meanwhile a busker passed by fast as he stood at the front door of a bus. He was looking at what was ahead of him.

Stopping ahead of the bus was a man on his motorcycle, lighting a cigarette when the day had fallen to dusk. At the other side of congested street, a tailor refused to finish his usual day amid the noise and dust. He kept on operating his small sewing machine. An order like this kept him survive another day filled with heavy pollution.

On a row of shophouses in the vicinity, the overcrowded sidewalk had gradually become empty as commercial activity closed. An old man with his black glasses walked past the closed doors alone at dusk.

 

The window of words

logo-saliharaThis article, featured in think archipelago magazine V4 Nov 2013, showed Komunitas Salihara hosting the Literature Biennale from 20 September to 27 September 2013, with a major theme Literature Circus. It is a tradition held by the renowned cultural center in East Jakarta since 2001 that we hope to continue in 2015. Poet Joko Pinurbo read one of his works from 2010, Jendela.


Jendela (Window) by Joko Pinurbo at a poetry reading in 2013 Literature Biennale, Teater Salihara, Jakarta.
Jendela (Window) by Joko Pinurbo
at a poetry reading in 2013 Literature Biennale,
Teater Salihara, Jakarta.

Di jendela tercinta ia duduk-dudukbersama anaknya yang sedang beranjak dewasa.

Mereka ayun-ayunkan kaki, berbincang, bernyanyidan setiap mereka ayunkan kaki tubuh kenangan serasa bergoyang ke kanan ke kiri.

Mereka memandang takjub ke seberang,
melihat bulan menggelinding di gigir tebing,
meluncur ke jeram sungai yang dalam, byuuurrr….
Sesaat mereka membisu.
Gigil malam mencengkeram bahu.
“Rasanya pernah kudengar suara byuurrr
dalam tidurmu yang pasrah, Bu.”
“Pasti hatimulah yang tercebur ke jeram hatiku,”
timpal si ibu sembari memungut sehelai angin
yang terselip leher baju.

Di rumah itu mereka tinggal berdua.
Bertiga dengan waktu. Berempat dengan buku.
Berlima dengan televisi. Bersendiri dengan puisi.
“Suatu hari aku dan Ibu pasti tak bisa lagi bersama.”
“Tapi kita tak akan pernah berpisah, bukan?
Kita adalah cinta yang berjihad melawan trauma.”
Selepas tengah malam mereka pulang ke ranjang
dan membiarkan jendela tetap terbuka.
Siapa tahu bulan akan melompat ke dalam,
menerangi tidur mereka yang bersahaja
seperti doa yang tak banyak meminta.

Joko Pinurbo

The crowd returned in 2013 Literature Biennale since it was last held at the same place two years earlier. This time, the much-anticipated poetry reading featured Joko Pinurbo among many other poets.

But it was obvious that Jokpin was the magnate power in bringing the youngs and olds due to the carefully –chosen words and efficiently-constructed verses of his poems. Jendela (Window) was notably the most compelling poem he read that evening.

The poet who half-jokingly claimed to always be nervous on stage filled his voice into the silence of 10 P.M. The audience, on the contrary, kept up high enthusiasm despite the cold air that surrounded them inside the 300-seat auditorium.

As now one of the most-sought poets in Indonesia, his presence boost the popularity of the literary festival in Jakarta.

Yes, we can

taman menteng

There is not much left anymore for the naysayers to say anything pessimistic about parks in Jakarta. Despite the common negation that parks will never take more than 10% of the city’s 740 square kilometers size, and that the goal to eventually make it 30% a pipe dream, expansion of green areas in Jakarta runs at an impressive rate.

The consistency of Jakarta’s new administration has paved the way for the creation of new parks in Pluit and Pulogadung, which used to be dingy backyards on two of the city’s neglected reservoirs. Currently the energy is centered on revitalisation of green spaces.

Menteng Park in Central Jakarta facilitates playing ground and sports courts.
Menteng Park in Central Jakarta facilitates playing ground and sports courts.

Feel alive!

Regardless the recent revival campaign involving several blocks and other overlooked backyards, there was a success story that came from the initiative of the previous administration.

Menteng Park was built to replace the emptied football stadium and completed five years ago at one of the prime districts in Central Jakarta. When it was opened, very few people frequented the park. But five years later, the park got regular visitors each day and peaked in the afternoon.

Lots of small communities of young people based their activities here, from jumping stilts to Star Wars movie fans wielding their lightsabers at night. The park is alive with sports and drama rehearsals.

O pen field in Menteng Park is used to various p ublic activities, from Capoeira training and w edding photo session.
O pen field in Menteng Park is used to various p ublic activities, from Capoeira training and pre-wedding photo session.

Extreme solution!

Not so long ago, every discussion to maintain green areas will end with sighs, let alone the dream of creating new ones. Now once again people dare to exchange thoughts.

Misused open spaces for mobile stalls, parking lots, or even illegal housings, like in river banks, has become extreme situations that require extreme solution.

The introduction of strict measures to put the city of over 10 million population in order indicate that the current top ranks in the municipality dares to walk the talk.

taman menteng

See more pictures of Menteng in think!archipelago Flickr account.

Steve’s hard nights work

PHOTOGRAPHS  I  OWEN FAM
Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki in Go Global: Global Gathering On Tour 2015, Kuningan City Ballroom, Jakarta.

Begin playing underground music in a student apartment some ten years ago, the American DJ Steve Aoki has enjoyed international stardom since three years ago, following his debut solo album in 2012.

Now his show ticket fetches at least USD50, the price his fans paid in his latest visit to Jakarta early this year. He has come more frequently to the faraway country like Indonesia, implying that the globalization has had a direct impact to someone’s fame from the other end of the world.

In particular, an electro house music DJ who has won grammy award such as him, was met with ecstatic audience, even though in a smaller crowd compared to the giant scale concerts in Japan, Brazil, or the latest one in hometown Miami.

After many years of relentless hard work, Steve undoubtedly set the standard in DJ profession to a new level.

Besides from the massive crowd in global concerts, it is the consistency in preserving the stage uniqueness that actually sets him apart from countless others whose instant presence (and equally instant dissapearance) are commonplace in the modern music era.

Cake tossing, champagne spraying (mouth-burst included), foul-mouthed remarks, that blue inflatable raft, and his acrobatic stunts are indispensable in Steve Aoki’s music performance, regardless the consequences.

The physical injury following trampoline fail in Puerto Rico, for instance, did not deter him from doing another risky stunt in Jakarta, when he jumped off two storeys high to the raft on top of the crowd.

The damage in his vocal cord due to years of on-stage screaming did not pull him out of today’s scheduled Colourfest 2015 in Glasgow.

And at the core issue, the criticism he faces regarding the negative opinions towards house music and the questionable skill of the USB-sticking DJs never make him falter. He loves the crowd’s enthusiasm. He knows all too well the value that made them so.

Just as Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel pointed out, there will be no Bill Gates and Microsoft, or Sergey Brin-Larry Page and Google, other than the cunning imitators.

That said, there will be no other Steve Aoki in the future. Since the effort to become a wannabe is futile, new aspiring profiles in the same industry, especially local talents, should focus on innovation.

Steve Aoki