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Melati Suryodarmo

INTERVIEW: Melati Suryodarmo

Please describe your work on EXERGIE- Butter Dance from your point of view.

The performance was inspired by my interest about time, especially how the human body relates to its biological, psychological and physical time. I also believe that everything happens in this world does not stop, even when we die. What we can deal with is the time that our body can adjust to the whole conception of time, whether it is physical or biological. But in this piece, I was seduced to enter the specific moment, a moment where my body relates with a very specific delicate moment, like just before I fall down. This is a moment where all my consciousness controls my body, but at the same time the risk becomes unpredictable. I might lose the control, but the will to get up again is more important to me. It is about our attitude towards this very specific moment in life. As our perception of pain is produced within our education and cultural environment, I believe that everybody perceives the action and images of this work in many different ways.

Have you had any memorable responses to this piece? And if yes, please describe.

Different space, different countries, different reactions. At some places, only men were laughing but the laughter changed into hysterics after a while. But at most places, people were not laughing at all, as this piece is not as funny when you see it live, versus when you see the video on YouTube.

Who are three artists that influence your work and why?

** Anzu Furukawa, my first art professor in performance art who encouraged and supported me to begin with creating performance work

** Marina Abramovic, who was also my professor in performance art, for her faith in the life and development of performance art

** Suprapto Suryodarmo, a dancer, and my father, who brought me to understand that the artist’s life is not more than working, and understanding humankind.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a research project, which involves dancers and shamans from Indonesia for a performance piece.

What is your dream project?

A dream project would be a well-funded laboratory project for performance art, which includes professional artists from all over the world, though several periods of time, to make a book about the practice and method of performance arts.

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