The sounds of a plough strung with bamboo and metal strings carries the movements of four dancers across the stage, through an emerging weightless space, repeatedly shattered by eruptive movements. In her newest piece, Melati Suryodarmo – one of Indonesia’s leading performance artists and alumna of Marina Abramović – performs a contemporary ritual whose concentrated imagery is utterly captivating.
In it, she explores the body as a carrier of personal memories, in which different social and cultural experiences overlap. With recourse to shamanistic practices, she propels the bodies of four performers into surreal moments that examine and disperse embodied preconceptions.
As someone who walks the fine line between various sciences and genres, Melati Suryodarmo uniquely combines the mythical Sisyphus with Javanese shamanism and French philosophy by the likes of Artaud and Deleuze: they all reference bodies that never come to a standstill or to completion, but are instead preceded by the desire for an unattainable resolution of the utterly inevitable.
Most of Melati Suryodarmo’s oeuvre deals with the relationship between the human body, the culture of which it is a part and the circumstances in which it lives. For ‘Sisyphus’, she is for the first time working with dancers.
Concept, directed and choreograhed by: Melati Suryodarmo
Performance: Agus Margiyanto, Retno Sulistyorini, Cahwati Sugiharto, Hendra Setiawan
Composition and Interpretation: Ikbal S Lubys
Instrument: Wukir Suryadi
Lights: Tria Vita
Produced by: Studio Plesungan, in coproduction with Mousonturm, deSingel Antwerp and the Institute of Asian Cultural Development South Korea.