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Urat Jagat: new Australian development in Indonesia

BY Jade Ouk | 14-Jan-2015
Multicultural Arts Victoria is proud to support the development and presentation of a new multidisciplinary performance collaboration entitled Urat Jagat (Veins of the Universe) by Australian and Indonesian artist collective Mainteater. Urat Jagat will be developed and performed in Indonesia across Bandung, Serang, Jakarta and Bali, in February 2015. @multiartsvic
Godi Suwarna (front), Wawan Sofwan, Sandra Fiona Long, Mal Webb, Jodee Mundy (back l-r). Photo by Diana Kusumah

Three Australian artists: musician and vocal extraordinaire Mal Webb, and theatre makers Jodee Mundy and Sandra Fiona Long will work with Sundanese literary cult figure Godi Suwarna, bamboo-video installation artist Deden Bulquini, Indonesian actor Wawan Sofwan and other artists from the Mainteater collective in Bandung, Indonesia. The collective’s collaborations span 16 years, several multilingual performance works and multiple awards including winning Melbourne Fringe’s “Innovation of Form” award and a Greenroom nomination for “Innovative New Form”.

Urat Jagat is a performance named and inspired by the contemporary epic poem by Godi Suwarna (3 times Rancage Award winner). Steeped in the sounds of nature, with melodious rhyming of Sundanese words based on traditional Sundanese sing song storytelling form, this large-scale immersive performance integrates voice, sound and image, with English translations through sublime vocals, music and visuals, performed in a bamboo installation. The work expresses a concern for humanity and nature, through the poem’s text and visual imagery spanning anger, pain and humour from urban streets to deep forests.

This unique international project follows a first stage development in 2012 which took place in Melbourne, Australia comprising: presentations and seminars at La Mama Theatre; the poem’s presentation and translation at theInternational Festival of Literature, Ideas & Translations at Federation Square; and further development at Monash University’s Indonesian Department’s 50th Birthday program.

Urat Jagat aims to open a window into one of the many little-known and rare remaining spoken regional languages of Indonesia through use of translation, multilingual performance, and multidisciplinary art forms to cross linguistic and artistic boundaries. The project has been created through intimate cultural exchange and mutual engagement, providing an exemplary collaboration of the rich possibilities between the two countries.


14 February: Performance at Selasar Sunaryo, Bandung
16 February: Performance at UPI, Bandung
17 February: Workshop at UPI, Bandung
19 February: Performance at Rumah Dunia, Serang
20 February: Workshop at Rumah Dunia, Serang
21 February: Performance at Bentara Budaya, Jakarta
23 February: Workshop at Bentara Budaya, Bali
24 February: Performance at Bentara Budaya, Bali

This project is supported by: the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria; the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; the Australia Indonesia Institute; Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung; English Education Department, Indonesia University of Education, Bandung; Rumah Dunia, Serang; Bentara Budaya Bali; and Kompas Gramedia.