Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hisstory - Beringin Bung Karno@Yogyakarta

The story: this banyan was a donation from Soekarno-Indonesia first president. His presence at that time to dedicate the University Sanata Dharma (USD) was very significance coz of political issue in the 50-60's. USD is a catholic institution which is always be minority from the past till now in Indonesia. The banyan tree it self is a sacret tree in javanese mythologie, the great it is only belong to the king. The tree for people are the fruit trees. So, the banyan and Soekarno are perfect combination for the greatness and symbol of power (support from the president), vis a vis USD as a catholic institution and political issue. The other story of the banyan: coz of the great, people believe that banyan tree is a back yard of the demon. Parents will shout to their sons and doughters "don't be closed to the banyan! You will be tranfered to the demon house". (Written by Neni Kedai Kebun Yogyakarta)

Performance: MASKARJA (MASyarakat KARawitan JogjAkarta) - Maskarja's gamelan and singers (on built stage), ISI Yogyakarta & Svarnabhumi Studio (Director-Choreographer: Zulkifli Mohamad)

Contemporary Dance in Asia: Mapping Out A Discourse (http://dance.kunci.or.id/)

Programme Schedule
March 27,2008Welcome Dinner (by invitation only). Venue: Lembaga Indonesia Prancis. Jl. Sagan no 3. Yogyakarta 55223.
March 28- 29, 2008Workshop ProceedingsVenue: Driyarkara Room, Main Building, Sanata Dharma University. Jl. Affandi, Mrican Yogyakarta 55281

Entering the 21st century high modernity, the dance scholarship has gradually been moving away from East and West dichotomy. Yet, so little we encounter a chance to discuss discursively about what links and separates the many dance cultures in Asian countries, especially the discourse of its modernism and contemporaneity.

The art modernism in the 20th century was marked by the emergence of new creation by artists who challenged the old ideas through their artistic works. In dance, there has been quite a body of choreographic work of these artistic in the past decades, running from Japan to India, from China to Indonesia. However, this “so-called” modern/contemporary dance in Asia has not been well-documented, let alone critically historicized. A continent so rich with dance culture-many countries in Asia also share some forms of traditions and experiences-yet so little documentation and on-going discourses on this particular subject.

The workshop aims to first map these different strands of histories and experiences in modernizing dance as taking place in various countries in Asia, thus engage the scholars, critics and practitioners alike to discuss several key issue that kept surfacing in previous forums. Some key issues are the historiographies, traditions, politics of bodies and identities, the relationship between dance and nationalism and/or feminism.

This workshop intends to address some core issues related to the contemporary dance practice in the Asian countries. ‘Asia’ here is used as a point of reference which still provesd to be useful in framing a discussion, under which the core themes are set against, although we are fully aware of its trapping. After all, there is arguably so much difference between countries like Indonesia and Japan, as much as between countries like Indonesia and Iceland – regardless in which continents Japan and Iceland are. The workshop’s conveners identified five core issues to be discussed further in each panel during which two paper presenters will draw a perspective that will be shared to the engaged, intimate participants:

1. Dance and Politics of Identities
Dancing bodies often become a site of contestations in which identities are being formed and formulated. From Indonesia to Taiwan, postcolonialism often engages dancing bodies with ethnic or national identities; whilst the advancing of modernity in Asian big cities opens up a discussion on gender construction and other complex subjectivity in dance. Trans/gender subjectivities in modern dance is just an example. How do dance artists respond to this constellation of dance and politics of identities? How does it impact their creation? Eventually, how does transnationalism affects the modern dance artists as identities tend to also move around and contextualize?

2. Interrogating Traditions
Nestor Garcia Canclini’s notion on ‘traditions are not quite past, whilst modernity not wholly arrives’ applies as well to many countries – and cultures – in Asia. Traditions feed in and influence the new work, often appear as burden as much as inspiration. How do Asian dance-makers respond to the tradition they are trained of? Do they break away? Do they embrace? What about to other Asian traditions other than theirs owns? How does it relates to the issues of global exoticism of being an ‘Asia’ artist? What areis the (possible) relations of tradition and modernism? This panel can touch on many layers of tradition in dance performances. For instance, some notions on rituals; notions on the shared martial-arts tradition as movement materials or dance vocabulary that can be found in the works of Asian-origin choreographers.

3. The Body Project
In the beginning is human body – dancing or not dancing. How does the body project – all theoretical developments in critical study on the body – contributes to the dance studies and scholarship? When does the body not succumb to something outside itself? What does it mean when choreographers say, ‘.. to be still is also dancing..?”. How do social and cultural bodies are ’ presenedtation in and through dance?

4. Dance and Institutions
What – or who – makes a dance, a dance? Who establishes the definition? Who directs the aesthetics? What is the role of critics, curators, festivals in building the connotation of what is ‘artistic dance’ and what is not. Who determines what choreography is? What about general media? What has new commercial spaces to do with dance? What – and who – are these ‘new’ institutions after the post-traditional ones?

5. Research and Methodology
Is there any breakthrough in dance studies/scholarship when it comes to research and methodology? Does dance scholarship find its own approach, method, that is peculiar than other cultural study?

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