Free Jazz III. Sound. Walks.
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“Song For A Tree”
Since the beginning of the birth
of creatures on earth –
We have lived together
We take care of each other
And love each other.
– Arahmaiani, 2021
Arahmaiani’s practice is anchored within communities with the goal of studying and developing collective creativity, to find alternative, innovative and creative solutions to problems communities are facing these days. By implementing an “open art system” through an inter-disciplinary approach, Arahmaiani open invitation is to overcome rigid discourses and establish new value systems. When in Yogyakarta, she stays often with Jimmy Ong, with whom she shares an interest in dealing with issues of culture, environment and social-political conflicts. An artist who left Singapore 30 years ago, Jimmy found himself back in Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic, where he attempted a community project with migrant workers under quarantine. Together they intend to hold dialogues and discussions to identify issues and concerns important to such communities in Singapore, including permaculture, urban farming, and food security while exploring the creative interconnections of culture, music, and botany.
In this performance incorporating a flag bearing the word guyub – the Javanese term for living harmoniously – Arahmaiani offers an original sound composition by Wukir Suryadi (Indonesia) as a “song for the plants.” She invites us all to respond to this offering and create our own songs for plants, inspired by mutual care and harmony.
To share your song for plants, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
A response by Michelle Lai (Singapore/Netherlands)
A response by Huiying Ng (Singapore/Germany)
To learn more about the Flag Project, click here
Arahmaiani (Indonesia) is one of Indonesia’s most respected and pioneering artists in the field of performance art. From the 1980’s, she has performed in many public spaces — even during the rule of an oppressive military regime. Since then, she has engaged with issues about the environmental, politics, violence, critique of capital, the female body, and in recent years, with her own identity, which although Muslim, lays between Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and animist beliefs. Her interactive performances have developed into a community-based practice, bringing attention to subjects prevalent in Indonesia and to issues of violence against the environment on the Tibetan Plateau.
Jimmy Ong (Singapore/Indonesia) is an artist who currently works from his studios in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Jimmy Ong’s practice involves highly personal inquiries into bodily forms and queer(ed) identities, expanding into broader entanglements with regional myths, archetypes, traditions, and historical narratives.
Image: Arahmaiani, Monk praying for tree in the Lab Monastery area, 2014. Documentation of work with a community of monks (2010–ongoing). Khamp, Qinghai plateau. Photo: Feri Latief. Courtesy the artist.