from starting to cut the wood – THE PROJECT


FROM STARTING TO CUT THE WOOD is translating the work sound of a traditional mask carver into dance movements. It reflects on the rhythm and patterns of a craft person, whose manual labour is part of a tradition, left untouched from the developement of the last century.


The stage fades into darkness with a soundscape of an Indonesian village with chickens, birds, people’s activities and into the studio of the mask carver, who starts to carve a mask: from using the saw, ax, chisels, knife, sandpaper until a fine brush.

The sounds are reflecting on his work pace, the very specific steps of his process of mask making and his relationship towards his work materials and tools. Each of these sounds have their own  pacing and pattern, which opens up  images, feelings, associations.

One performer is translating these sounds into movement. Combined with these interactions are projected text fragments, a collage of an observer’s thoughts while witnessing the mask carver making a mask:

I am thinking of the shift, this moment in history when machines started to replace body movements. When a new rhythm was created and human touch started to disappear.

The observations shift into the philosophy of work, in which quotes of various philosophers are been recalled. The process of mask making is becoming a metaphor of the relationship of human mankind to work, the relationship of human mankind to its own existence.


Experiment? A hodge-podge of dance, audio, performance art, philosophical debate, word play, Art?

Maybe some or even all of these things. Yet, perhaps – most profoundly – a confrontation with the juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary human behaviors, actions, rhythms and the questions that emerge about us all as human beings within the twin contexts of where we have come from and where we are going.

An evening of silent conversation and ensuing hours of a great many ideas to reflect upon.

– Margaret Agusta, Journalist and Writer, Jakarta Post


Performer: Ari Ersandi

Mask Carver: Ki Pono Wiguno

Artistic Director, Text, Video, Production: Katia Engel

Concept: Katia Engel in collaboration with the artistic team

Lighting Design: Ignatius Sugiarto A. K. A. CLINK

Sound Design, Sound Composition: Yennu Ariendra

Composer (song): Laila Skovmand

Singers: Roy Hart Fermate Choir

Additional texts: quotes by Friedrich Engels, Claude Levi-Strauss, Hannah Arendt

supported by: Komunitas Salihara, Goethe Institute Hong Kong, Goethe Institute Taipei, Goethe Institute Jakarta, Yogya Art Week, Dusun Jogja Village Inn

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