close-up of ancient forests

Like a landscape, a soundscape is simultaneously a physical environment and a way of perceiving that environment. It is both a world and a culture constructed to make sense of that world.

Thomson: The soundscape of Modernity


Close-up of ancient forests [working title] is a choreography based on structured sound recordings of old forests in Germany and Indonesia. It focuses on the rhythmical relationships between vocalising animals, other natural cacophonies, and the question how these specific sounds are manifested as acoustic traces in the body memory and how it can be embodied into a dance.

Starting point of the process will be the sound recordings of old forests in Germany and primary rainforests in Indonesia. A team of artists of multi-disciplines will explore these sounds in respect to their individual responses and personal memories as well as those sentiments connected to their cultural background, i. e. mythology of the forest, ritual dances.

This project is conceived by choreographers Ari Ersandi (Indonesia) and Katia Engel (Germany) who earlier engaged in the production of from starting to cut the wood (2015-19), presented in festivals in Indonesia, Taipei and Hong Kong. The two artists then assemble a team of Berlin based artists and Indonesian dancers of Dayak (indigenous tribe of Kalimantan) roots for an intercultural work process in Berlin and Tenggarong.

The first phase of production (concept development) will take place in Germany hosted  by Tanzfabrik Berlin. Ari Ersandi and Katia Engel will join Berlin-based dancer Polett Kasza, sound designer Felix-Florian Tödtloff for a 3-week rehearsal. The outcome will be presented at the historical chapel of Kunstquartier Bethanien (Berlin).

The continuation of the process will take place in East Kalimantan with an extended team of the two Dayak rooted dancers Tina Agustina and Aldisius Lung. Co-producer will be Lanjong Art Foundation in Tenggarong, East Kalimantan, where rehearsals as well the first performance take place with the complete team at the Amphitheatre of Ladaya Art Space. A further performance is planned in Goethe-Haus Jakarta.

In all venues, the work will be presented  in form of a one day event, combining dance performance with sound installation.

Close-up of ancient forests  is a contemplation on the history of sound and listening with primary forests as the first sonic references of human beings. It addresses the fact that the disappearing of primeval forests means not only the loss of precious ecology, but with the quieting of its sounds, humans gradually loose one of their oldest collective memory.

Lanjong Art Foundation as a co-producer is a key for this project as it was founded to addressing the concern that the traditional art and cultural life of the Dayak tribe is declining. The cooperation with Lanjong Art Space and the collaboration with Dayak dancers raises not only awareness on the vulnerability of Dayak indigenous tribe but also strengthens and supports the local art scene in East Kalimantan.

Work-in-progress Performance: 31.03./01.04.2023

Kapelle, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin

Premiere in Indonesia: January 2024


Artistic Team:

Ari Ersandi (Lampung/Indonesien) – Artistic Director, Choreography, Dance

Katia Engel (Berlin) – Artistic Director, Choreography, Sound Recordings

Polett Kasza (Berlin/Budapest) – Dance

Tina Agustina (East Kalimantan/Indonesia) – Dance

Aldisius Lung (East Kalimantan/Indonesia) – Dance

Felix-Florian Tödtloff (Berlin) – Sound Design

Produktionsmanagement: Katja Wiegand

PR: Apricot Productions


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