Kain Gerak, Kain Cerita
(Motion Cloth, Story Cloth)
2014, HD Video, 3'56" - to be played in continuous loop
Exhibited June 2014 in Spuren Legen, Gegenwartskunst in Wiener Bezirks- und Sondermuseen at Bezirksmuseum Neubau, Vienna, Austria. (contemporary art in Vienna district and special museums)
In the wake of my 1.5 years living and researching in Indonesia, I carry with me bolts of memory, some vivid, some already soft-edged. I also carry with me many gigabytes of documentation. While I was drawn originally to Indonesia by a desire to learn more about indigo dye, ikat woven cloths and their ritual and cultural significance, my project also focused on the contemporary arts, particularly the culture of collaboration and collectivity inherent to Jogjakarta’s art scene. From the time spent hanging out at alternative art spaces in Jogja, to the time spent living with a large Balinese family, to the time spent traveling between villages in Sumba, I am left with a huge database of photos, videos, writing, sensory memories, and relationships. I have been thinking about this amalgamation of residues as a sort of cloth, something woven and rewoven in my mind, something I wear daily.
In Sumba and other areas in Eastern Indonesia I was struck by how mobile cloth is in its daily use. Women wear tubular sarongs which they step into, fold, tuck, drape, twist, and sometimes simply clamp under their arms. Their cloth is constantly in motion, orbiting their bodies as it comes loose and gets re-twisted or hooked over a shoulder while walking and chatting. Cloth is no static thing. It is woven with significant patterns and layered with symbolism, often connecting humans to each other, to their ancestors, the world around them, and to God. Cloth moves. It is the most profound and also most basic companion to our human bodies.
This sequence of videos is one way I have been processing my research and experiences in Indonesia. Each of the clips is edited into the basic structural motif of different cloths I learned about in my travels. My research and travel documentation is given a second life here. Bits and fragments of the things I found interesting, curious, or lovely are woven together into motion cloth, video weavings whose function is to offer up little bits of visual poetry connecting the work of research and the work of cloth-making. My contribution to the great lexicon of stories already tied, woven, and dyed into the cloths I encountered.