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Ep 5: Metaphorical Sites #2 – BODIES “Introduction”
The body is not immortal. The phases of our life are poetic splendors, and we can sincerely admit that the death of the body means to honor its completeness as part of its natural process.
Death is not simply about the deprivation of life; it is the ultimate question about what it means to be alive. To think about the nature of death means to think about how it affects the perseverance of organisms and people. The carcass and corpse seem to be the last sequence in appraising the body’s worth. The living body propels social relationships, but the dead or dying body can assess and prompt the significance of our social past, alert our social present, determine our social future, and preserve our social memories.
Meanwhile, funeral rituals are specifically related to eschatological belief systems that offer tools to mentally overcome grief due to loss. Rites of death become part of daily human interactions, in which individuals and social institutions of the community form an affirmative means to get through disconnection, separation, destitution, decay, destruction, and grief.
As the second group of Rotten TV Project production – “Yogyakarta Satellite”, the Metaphorical Site “Bodies” invited visual artist Enka Komariah and photographer Dwi Oblo, to conduct an artistic collaboration which encouraged to conceptually explore the topic of bodies (or human bodies). How the meaning of the living body, life deprivations, and rituals of loss have shifted in contemporary society, alongside the emergence of diverse global crises. Framing reflective aspects of the relationship between body, life, and death into representational utterances; this curatorial aims to rethink how changes in the environment impact the changes of the body and its social meaning, both in the context of their reality and its representation.
The collaboration responds to, as well as gives a poetic reflection on, the topic described above. Enka Komariah and Dwi Oblo combined the discipline of photography (coming from a journalistic approach) with drawing, performance art, and video. They also processed all of the materials into an installation presentation format. Their artistic work attempts to capture both image-based and memorabilia-based information, as well as past events related to several specific sites in Yogyakarta, which includes the Tempuran Kali Opak-Oyo, Imogiri, Bantul Regency; Merapi, Cangkringan, Sleman Regency; and Sasonoloyo Cemetery, Mergangsan, Yogyakarta City. The results was a semiological structure that highlights factual changes in the habits of those who have experienced a shift in their way of life due to the pandemic. In fact, changes that occurred in the environment and living bodies also had an impact on changing people’s ways of interpreting cultural needs and interests.
Metaphorical Site “Bodies” group also involved anthropologist Yustinus Tri Subagya (Yogyakarta) as a meta-analyst who accompanied the artistic development conducted by these two artists since October 2021. Subagya enhanced the research and production processes of Enka and Oblo’s visual work from an anthropological perspective regarding the phenomena of funeral rituals before and during the pandemic in Indonesian communities. This group also included performance artist Otniel Tasman (Surakarta) as a critical responder, who provided feedback on the final work created by Enka and Oblo through a performance lecture that augmented the discourse on “Rotten” which envelopes the Rotten TV project as a whole.