A durational performative sound installation by Katia Engel and Ari Ersandi

Upcoming performances

22 and 23 June 2024, 14.00 – 22.00 WIB – Komunitas Salihara (Jakarta)

7 July 2024, 18.30 – 22.30 WIG – Performa Artjog (Yogyakarta)

 What does the sound of a forest reveal about our human existence? Can the complex chorus of forests be considered a part of our collective body memory? Does  listening to non-human rhythms and frequencies create shifts in our sense of hearing and the sense of ourselves? Are there acoustic relationships between different animal species that transcend beyond its sonic realm? How do some animal species manage to communicate completely isochronous (at constant intervals in time) over a long period of time? How do the indigenous people align themselves to be in tune with the forest they live in?

In Hutan, an international team of dancers, choreographers and sound artists  (Central Kalimantan, Lampung, Yogyakarta, Berlin/Germany, Budapest/Hungary) ask themselves these questions while listening to the sounds of Rungan forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

During a field trip in August 2023, the artistic team – in cooperation with  Muhammadiyah University – recorded the sounds of Rungan forest for a period of 24 hours. After returning home, the artists selected fragments of the 24-hour recordings to be assembled into 8-hours. Hutan is the result of this process – a reframing of the sonic reality of this specific site in Rungan Forest into a theatrical setting.

During the 8-hour performative sound installation, three dancers are sharing their process of listening to the sonic environments of Rungan forest and its unfolding of narratives in relation to their respectively diverse personal and collective resonances.

As the vocalizations of non-human creatures has its own flow, the dancers challenge themselves to let go of expectations of a specific dramaturgy of sound as we know it from musical compositions as well as the desire for recognition and familiarity that comes with it. In Hutan, the dancers explore the sound recordings and their primal roots in respect of their personal responses and memories to the feelings associated with their cultural background, i.e. forest mythology and ritual dances.

Listening to the complex polyphony of a rainforest opens up an imaginative space that allows us to sense how human cultures are deeply rooted in our bodies and the evolutionary path of animals. The rhythms of our language and the accompanying gestures, singing, dancing, playing instruments can be traced back to ancient connections in which we act out the same physical relationships as vocalizing animals.

We invite the audience into this process of listening to the vocalization of the anthropocene (non-human) world,  imagining  the many parallel sensory realms that coexist and witnessing  the dancers’ responses. Audience is free to move in space, change perspectives, sit, rest, lie down, leave the space and re-enter.

We can’t hear with the ears of others, but individually, we can listen and wonder. The origin of sonic perception is rooted in the same tiny hairs called cilia for all living beings. Tracing this evolutionary path helps us understand that the disappearance of primeval forests not only means the loss of a precious ecology, but with the silencing of their sounds, humans are gradually losing one of their oldest collective memories.

The 8-hour durational work is a contemplation on the crises or our time, which is not only environmental, but also perceptual. Listening opens our minds to other ways of being. Hutan is bringing into  awareness that the dynamics of listening, rooted in each individual, evolves from a personal, intimate matter into a social and ethical one.




work-in-progress Wälder-Hutan:  31 March-1 April, Kunstquartier Bethanien Berlin

22, 23 June 2024, Komunitas Salihara Jakarta

7 July 2024, Performa Artjog Yogyakarta


  • KATIA ENGEL – concept, sound recording, artistic director
  • ARI ERSANDI – performance, sound recording, co-director
  • SISILIA HANGIN - performance
  • POLETT KASZA– performance
  • HELLY MINARTI – dramaturgy
  • THOMAS SCHAUPP - dramaturgy
  • SAMUEL HERTZ - sound editing
  • YENNU ARIENDRA - sound design consultant
  • FELIX-FLORIAN TÖDTLOFF – sound design (for work in progress, Berlin, 2023)
  • RISKI ADE PRADISTA - lighting design
  • FAOZAN RIZAL – sound recording, film documentation

with the support of:

  • International Coproduction Fund (IKF) of the Goethe-Institute
  • Fond Darstellende Künste
  • Institute for Foreign Affairs Germany

in partnership with:

  • Universitas Muhammadiyah Palangkaraya-Unit KHDTK, Central Kalimantan
  • Ladaya Foundation Tenggarong, East Kalimantan