Jl. Taman Siswa, Wirogunan,
Mergangsan, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa
The MusicMakers Hacklab is a weeklong open, collaborative laboratory hosted by Peter Kirn (US/DE) of CDM (cdm.link) and created in collaboration with CTM Festival since 2013. Having travelled to other festivals and locations such as Mexico City and Prague, the Hacklab arrives in Yogyakarta with co-hosts Andreas Siagian (ID) and Lintang Radittya (ID), to reflect on the playful and collaborative aspects of music creation.
Invention has often focused on the self – the solo creator – making an object devised for a lone user. But music is about transmission and ensemble, and in live performance (as opposed to recording), has always centered on the resources available, and the immediacy of improvising together with them. It’s about play.
The workspace setting in Yogyakarta is fittingly a wayang theater – itself emblematic of Southeast Asian intermedia, narrative, and performance traditions in a way that has proved a model for artists around the world. Yogyakarta itself is Java’s cultural capital, the place where Javanese gamelan ensembles still loudly speak through the forms of ceremonies, rituals, and contemporary music. As wayang theater has traditionally been accompanied by gamelan orchestras, we look back to the cultural history of multidisciplinarity and the spirit of working with others in artistic practices. We also look for inspiration in the flexibility of gamelan and its use within ensembles, orchestras, and performance, which was born from among other Bali, Sunda, Malay, and Filipino cultures.
With that as a background, we seek to explore the inventive possibilities of ensembles, collaboration, and interaction. In contrast to screen consumerist culture that looks ever more inward, how can newly fashioned instruments allow communication, participation, and interaction?
How would a ballet dancer improvise with a punk rock drummer? How might a microbiologist imagine group communication? How would you build instruments from what’s around to make it easier to play with one another – and what would your approach be if you had studied electrical engineering versus plumbing versus architecture versus pottery? What would happen if an experienced gamelan player combined methods with a choir director?
Play Ecology imagines a series of performances and instrumental creations that draw on our coinciding voices and ideas. As in music, we sometimes find ourselves together in briefly overlapping cycles. Play Ecology’s exploration of interdependence will also feed into the Hacklab’s upcoming event in Berlin, under CTM 2019’s Persistence theme. It’s a chance to discover how we can all speak at once but find new ways of saying something together.
The week will involve shared learning experiences, culminating in collaborative performances devised together and improvised in the final presentation.