Lured by multimedia

There is no denying: A new mode of artistic expression is taking hold of artists’ creative urges.

“INFLUX, Multimedia Art Strategies in Indonesia”, an exhibition part of Ruang Rupa’s 10th anniversary celebration, reveals how young artists have been stirred by the wide world of new creativity multimedia appears to offer.

The exhibition, which presents the works of 15 artists challenged by the development and evolution of technology and new media, calls for attention, boggles the mind and possibly challenges our sense of aesthetics, but at the same time brings us childlike pleasures with its participatory pieces.

Hyperdimensional Hexagon, an interactive media installation by Venzha

Curated by Hendro Wiyanto, “INFLUX, Multimedia Art Strategies in Indonesia” encompasses the works of artists who have been working with video and multimedia for a long time, including Geber Modus Operandi, Venzha, AG Kus Widananto (Jompet), Agus Suwage, Performance Fucktory, House of Natural Fiber, Krisna Murti, Tintin Wulia, Ade Darmawan, Hardiman Radjab, Hafiz, Widianto Nugroho, Duto Hardono, Common Room, Muhamad Akbar and Prilla Tania.

Multimedia may be hard to understand for the older generation of artists or members of the public, but the possibilities it offers to produce many realities at the same time makes it a fascinating medium.

Do it Yourself, an installation with an iron frame, a zinc plate, wood, photographs and a dynamo, by Agus Suwage.

Do it Yourself, an installation with an iron frame, a zinc plate, wood, photographs and a dynamo, by Agus Suwage.Krisna Murti, who has since the 1990s made video art and is considered its forerunner in Indonesia, was lured into this medium because of its immediate results (at the time, photos took a long time to process and work with).

But his multimedia works have meanwhile evolved from videos to multimedia installations, exemplified in this exhibition by his work (Miss) Call Me Please.

Thin bamboo stilts arranged like an Angklung set provide an interactive game for viewers. A device resembling a mobile phone has been incorporated into each stilt, allowing visitors to produce a sound similar to the angklung when dialing the number attached to the stilt. A group of visitors calling numbers at the same time thus produces an orchestral of angklung sounds.

Agus Suwage, known for his versatile use of media, created an interactive-object installation titled Do it yourself, in which he pasted his self-portraits in a row, in the guises of Bush, a monkey and himself covering his face with his hand. Viewers may bring the installation into motion and look from under a hood at the images that move in an upward direction.

Somewhere on the floor, tangled cables linked to a cassette, a tape recorder and speakers, show the work of Ade Darmawan. A suitcase by Hardiman Radjab is seen hanging from the ceiling and is related to the video on the wall showing scenes of urban Jakarta. They constitute the multimedia installation titled Frankie menangis.

At times, one feels trapped in an educative lab where sophisticated instruments of scientific research are treated as art.

The installation titled Intelligent Bacteria by the House of Natural Fiber (HONF) for instance shows installations used for fertilizing grapes when making wine.

A multimedia installation by the House of Natural Fiber.

A multimedia installation by the House of Natural Fiber.A scientific approach is also taken in the work by Venzha titled Hyperdimensional Hexagon, where a hexagon is used as an energy source. When triggered by the elements of sound and light, the hexagon allows plants to grow.

And if you have already seen a heart patient’s status diagram, then Hafiz’ white-on-dark video images will appear familiar, and its morbid title Voices from the Past will seem eerily fitting.

Tintin Wulia, who has been largely engaged with the issue of identity, borders and migration, made a serious matter fun-like in the opening evening of the show. Handmade fake passports in which dried blood of captured mosquitoes representing a metaphor for and a link to human beings, were given to whoever participated, simulating the killing and stamping of the mosquito in the passport, in tandem with the same process shown in the video.

The most colorful work is certainly Widianto Nugroho’s, who uses the language of computer programming to make flowers in Generatio Spontanea, in which anyone may intervene at the click of a mouse. Perhaps the most simple, uncomplicated yet enjoyable work was that of Prilla Tania. Her allocated space is dark and empty. There is not a single object.

The space only begins to come alive when people enter it. The lights switch themselves on, and shadows of people’s movements appear on the wall.

Although most of the 15 artists are known to have used digital, new- and multi-media in the past 10 years or so, to see them together renders a sense of fascination and the feeling that indeed a new culture is in the making.

It is a pity that such an interesting exhibition cannot be viewed on a Sunday, when most people are free, because the venue at TIM is closed on Sundays.( )

No comments:

Post a Comment