In Heat at Lanjong Art Festival, Kalimantan

Lanjong Art Festival, Tenggarong, Kalimantan Timur (East Borneo), Indonesia
May 29, 2015
The 4th performance in the In Heat Series
Special thanks to all the Lanjong staff and participants who helped out with the project. 

Dalem kekosongan adalah percikan
Lava tak berujung dalam tubuhku
Irama panas yang menubuhkan generasi
Sebuah erotisme serangga emas
In the Void is a spark
Lava gathering within my body
Hot rhythm that spawns generations
An eroticism of golden insects

    For Lanjong Art Festival, I performed the latest realization of the “In Heat” series, exploring the primal heat of desire through the image of lava within the volcano.  This piece aimed to experiment deeper into the “conduction” concept I first tried out at the 2015 spring residency at Goddard College.  In the Lanjong performance, in an outdoor  jungly amphitheater, an audience of 400 are given stones and are coaxed with the poem above into an experience of heat transference that guides my body on stage.  
    I set the stage with two raised platforms on the right and left side of the stage, with large monolithic rocks placed upon them.  These installations refer to the Balinese volcanos Gunung Agung and Gunung Batur, which are present in all the images related to the theme of “In Heat.”  Balinese see their island as a Bhuana Alit, which means “little world” and the island symbolically stands for all existence.  The human body is also Bhuana Alit, with the feet in the ocean, the torso in the body of the land, and the head at the peak of the mountain.  Or more cosmically, the feet in the underworld of demons, the torso in the realm of humans and animals, and the heat reaching towards the divine realm.  
    My body becomes the island, with my sex and root chakras anchored into the magma within the earth, my torso-body becoming the mountain, and my head a place of eruption into the heavens. 



    In this performance, I explored for the first time the “elegant princess” or putri halus costume motif, which features a long rectangular fabric that trails from the front between the legs, and forms an elegant train behind or to the side of the body.  Following the previous “In Heat” costumes, I used a thick canvas material that can form shapes resembling mountain slopes.  This costume is a characteristic feature of the dance Tari Oleg Tamulilingan, the Balinese insect love dance from which I am drawing inspiration for the developing “In Heat” series.   In the Balinese dance, there is a distinctive use of the back foot to flick the fabric train from one side of the body to another.  I use the movement drawn from the Balinese dance, but then transform the train into a mountain rage to the side of my body, and dance the lava spilling down the slopes.  
    My tasks going forward into the Bali Arts Festival performance of “In Heat” include a month of exploration into this cloth material, and also further lessons in Tari Oleg Tamulilingan.   
    Based on my rehearsals with Narwastu Gamelan in Bali, I discovered the beauty of a gong paired with the sound of the stones in conduction.  At the opening night of Lanjong festival, I saw a beautiful experimental music piece by a group of musicians from Jogja, which included a hypnotic and creative usage of a gong, hit with different materials and in different ways by hand.  I asked the gong player Rusdi Vazta to join with me.  He is a painfully shy guy, but I felt confidence in him.  For the performance, the gong sounded lovely with the stones, and I was able to flick the long fabric in time with the gong in a way that was most satisfying for me.  However, Rusdi more or less stayed in a consistent rhythm for the duration of the performance, and as a result, the audience with their stones followed the dominance of the gong, rather than the movement of my body.  The sound was still very lovely to move with, but I didn’t feel the hyper-connectivity with the audience I experienced during the Goddard performance.
    One lovely bit of magic did occur.  While I was down in my sitting position, I had my eyes near closed, and I felt a kind of flutter around my face and body.  I opened my eyes to find a gorgeous large golden moth spiraling all around me.  This insect is one of my great loves and a primal image inside the “In Heat” performance, as the moth is the form my Gold Sister most often takes.  Her energy brought about a deep sense in me, an urge to move inside the work.
    But upon exiting the stage, a had a funny feeling, as if there was something very incomplete and unsaid.  I almost wanted to go back on stage, and start again.  I look forward to my next performance for Bali Arts Festival, with another month of process.