| optimized for Safari | Last update:oct 2013 |     © 2006 Melati SURYODARMO










Kashya-kashya muttiku
Der Sekundentraum

Bubble Jam

Exergie-butter dance

Lullaby for the Ancestors

Love me Tender

Why let the chicken run?

Risk in Plurality


The Promise

Ale Lino

The Ballad of Treasures

Boundaries that lie

The Black Ball

The Komodo FIles
Deformed Ethic of a Relationship 2.0
Deformed Ethic of a Relationship 1.0

The Fermata

The Visible Undone Behaviour


Cruise Control

Height of Limerence

My FIngers are the Triggers

I Love You

Perception of Patterns in Timeless Influence

The Seed

Silent Trip




Sonnete number 25

The dog barked at the back yard, while the eagle flew after the dark. And I....

When the box was opened, the fog disappeared. Alienation of the stone

I put a spell on you

Excused me, Sir!
Passionate Pilgrim

Exergie - butter dance extended

Feather fell down from the silence

Almost there

Feathers fall from nowhere

Kein Spiel
Conversation with the Black


Beethoven Sonata Marathon

Mama never bought me a pair of jeans trousers

John Cage_Song Books
I'm a ghost in my own house
Sweet dreams sweet
The Dust



Lullaby for the Ancestors


Lullaby for the Ancestors_1

About the performance

In early 2000 I started to focus on the traditional culture influences in the contemporary cultural environment. My research was based on the traditional ritual art forms from Java. I had the presumption, especially to the symbolic actions presented in the traditional ritual arts, that it was also meant to be political. Nowadays, the rituals which was performed in the early years, with all the changes throughout the centuries, are shifted into different context, from the rituality, spirituality into entertainment. I assume that tradition is forced to be kept, while human beings are constantly influenced by their environmental changes, included technology and science.
And then I begun to research a specific traditional ritual performance in relationship with a contemporary performance art form and practices. I have chosen to observe the practice of Reog and Jaran Kepang. Both are using the animal symbol and originally appeared in the 16th century. The ritual performance was done by the shamans who at that time are also the artist. It involves trance, body endurance, extreme action that deals with pain and symbolic objects. They uses simple gamelan orchestra and perform in public space in the villages. They moved from one village to the other. The Jarang Kepang especially involved actions such putting the head in the bucket of water, one is whipping the other, while a dancer dances in trance on a bamboo puppet horse. When the horse dancer gets trance, or people would say that he is being exorcised, he starts to eat glass pieces, cutting his lips without bleeding, etc. At the end of the performance another shaman comes to clear the mystical influence, and pour flower water to the trance bodies.
The performance was actually created as a protest against the becoming powerless king. It was the time when the king who was Buddhist married a princes from China who was Moslem. And the king has gradually lost his influence to the people, while the wife became more powerful. The whole kingdom was not in a good condition and civil wars happened during that time. The object and action were meant to be symbolic action representing the pressure situation and the critics towards the king. The horse which symbolizing the power, was changed into a bamboo horse, to express the lost power.

I had been watching this kind of performances since I was a little child. The images and impressions about this traditional ritual performance remain in my memory. Until the time I become curious to know what was the history and the intension behind this performance.

Lullaby for the ancestors was an effort to bring the performance as far I remember and observed into different context of environment, time and space. It synthesizes element of physical and psychological aspects of the ancient rituals and my own personal vision, which seeks to use the act as a mean of entering a trance, of attaining a state that is free of cultural and genetic connections.

The performance:

I enter the space hold the horse and walk in a big circle. I give the horse to the horse guard. I go to the place where the bucket is. I put ma head inside the water and hold the breath. As soon as get up I pick the whip and move to the centre of the space. I start to whip cracking several times, according to my feeling. I go back to the bucket and repeat again the action several times. Parallel to this action, the guard keep the horse running while I am whip cracking, and keep the horse stay while I put my head into the water. After the last whip cracking, I leave the whip in the middle of the space and return to the horse. I leave the space together with the horse.

Duration of the performance: ca. 20 minutes

Objects: western whip, bucket, water and a horse


Lullaby for the Ancestors_2

Lullaby for the Ancestors_3 Performed outdoor at Parang Kusumo Beach, Jogjakarta Indonesia, 2008

Lullaby for the Ancestors_8

Lullaby for the Ancestors_9

Lullaby for the Ancestors_10

Performed at the LOT Theatre Braunschweig, 2001    Photo: video Stills

Lullaby for the Ancestors_4 Performed at PAC Milano, Italy, 2003   Photo: Alessia Bulgari

Lullaby for the Ancestors_5

Lullaby for the Ancestors_6Performed at PAC Milano, Italy, 2003  Photo: Oliver Blomeier

Lullaby for the Ancestors_7 performed at Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, Ireland, 2001          Photo: Oliver Blomeier