Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Love Spell: Australian and Indonesian Videos Talk to Each Other

This re-write is dedicated to the 'getting better' -ness of a friend.

I am obsessed with this footage of Kristi and Jimbo's wedding because it is a modern fairytale. Its not an extravaganza, its Kristi's 2nd marriage and she is pregnant, its not a big deal but love wins out in the end. Indonesia and Australia are plagued with interracial prejudice, that Kristi and I (orang gado2) are very much a part of (ie. the colonialism of Indonesia (until 1945), the concurrent economic exploitation of the West and migrant spouses on both sides of the border). So for me this is a dream come true.. everything works out. I can fall in love with someone who has been tortured by the constructs of my ancestor's imperialist/racist past and they can love me. I found this guilt to be an insurmountable hurdle in romance and am really glad it worked out for Kristi.

So back in Australia, Rebecca told me the story of her wedding, not an extravaganza, but also special because the wedding dress cost $10 but both of them were virgins and then I have another orang gado-gado (half SE Asian- half Australian) friend who is pregnant and I filmed her while we were talking, but the penultimate performance comes next and provides the soundtrack for the "Answer" part of the video. We draw a lipstick heart over Marisa's crushed vertebrae and she plays the planetary tuning forks, sometimes I change the order. And then as an addendum is my performance in the Qantas Lounge bathroom, I am flying back to Indonesia, and I make my wish, and write the Bahasa Indonesia wedding vow on my thigh. Added are quotes from the Qu'ran which is a text that is often used to support a nation's path to overthrow an imperial power but unfortunately can also incur racial prejudice. Love wins out in the end.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Human Rights: The Wedding Story

Indonesia speaking out about political prisoners, women's rights and globalisation in 1898, 1965 and now.

Created for Amnesty International's Individuals at Risk Campaign. Shown at Artillery Festival, Brisbane, 9th December, 2011 at Jugglers. Re-edited and uploaded for Ben City because Amnesty did not publish my info sheet and muted my Video.

Exposing past political struggles and acknowledging human rights violations is important, even in contemporary art. Speak out in your own way.

Based on observations and research during my 5 month stay in Indonesia with Pramoedya Ananta Toer's books 'Buru Quartet' and Ahmad Tohari's 'The Dancer.' The atrocities of colonialism, the anti-communist purge and the stature of women are seldom mentioned in Indonesia. This work honors the act of speaking out, whilst critically and contemporarily engaging with the opinions of the public.

My video reflects on the ability to remember the history of a nation through the ritual of a wedding in current times. From 1898 and 1965 in Indonesia, political prisoners were kept as symptoms of 1) colonial suppression of race, 2) post-colonial suppression of artists and a 3) derogatory status of women. In our 2011 multi- racial wedding of artists, we see no suppression of race, no suppression of artists and a somewhat evolving status for women.