Editorial #02

Performance Event

Life is a series of events and experiences; from daily occurrences; so mundane and common that they are no longer taken as an event, to the extraordinary ones so special that they always need to be retrieved or removed altogether from the memory . Inside space, time and certain frame of context, individuals move on from one event to another. Every time an event is in progress, a person is so preoccupied by it that he/ she tends to overlook the things that constitutes such event; as if he/she dissolves within the event. But there are times when an individual stands apart from the perpetual life, carving up one’s own journey of life into space and time, into fragments of event. This is done as an attempt to know more of himself and all the passed experiences that has shaped him.

Lè’bur, through its 2nd edition, is encouraging the reader to perceive a performance as an event, or to be more precise, a form of social event. Without doubt, performance becomes a social event because conventionally it requires the presence of several individuals which, let’s say are grouped as performer and audience. The identification on performer and audience made by the social events participants assumes a form of difference in each group’s involvement in the event. Through the identification as such, people (try to) distinguish a performance event from, for example, a business event that involves a trader and a buyer, including the assumptions given to the role of the respective part (promotion, pricing, bargaining, etc.) Other than the identifications made by the event participants, there are many things that distinguish a performance event from other social events. By observing the difference of character, we arrive at the definition of the frame that constitutes a performance event, which in the term of Michael Kirby—whose translated article is included in the current edition—called “matrix” . Those frames exist in the conventional form of space, time, behavior, nature, object, sound, light, aroma and so forth. By detaching the framing elements, we do not intend to strip off a performance and let it die in the open. On the contrary, by discovering challenges given by the limited framing elements hopefully this can motivate a more creative work.
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It is quiet a disturbing fact that most of the performance reviews in Indonesia do not represent the audience interest, as though a performance event is an area exclusive for performer only. Assumptions arise on the cause of such phenomenon. First, the reviewers believe their own opinion has spoken for the audience behalf. Second, the audience is considered as incompetent and passive, whose opinion is not worthy of mentioning, or explaining; so that they need to be taught on how to appreciate a performance. Apart from the true nature of these presumptions, however, one thing for sure is that the audience also participates in a performance event. This means that the audience participation determines whether a performance event is achieved, or not. Thus, the audience opinion is something worthy to discuss.

Viewing how the audience has been silenced inside the performance discourse, this edition of Lè’bur issues three article on audience: Alia Swastika with her article on theater audience, Nuraini Juliastuti with her review on art exhibition spectators and Antariksa on a soccer game viewers. Football match fan? Indeed. And why not? Not being identical with a theater performance or art exhibition does not put soccer game outside the performance event category. There are several entangling characteristics between soccer game and art performance. Football match spectators represent the phenomenon of a performance inside a performance. Most likely, this review on football viewers will pave way for the encounter and cross-fertilization between sport and art. The international wrestling competition and the local art martial have proven how such cross fertilization take place.

Still on audience, Ugoran Prasad writes a coverage and reflection on Festival A la Carte Festival – a series of performance tour at 14 cities in Java and Bali during the last May-June 2004. Organized by Jakart the event aims to visit it audience at each different location. A challenging attempt. Framing is also linked with space management. On this occasion, an article on Kedai Kebun Gallery, Yogyakarta , will reveal the subjects of space availability for events of performance and exhibition. One point that could be noted in Kedai Kebun Gallery is the manager’s strategy in responding the contraction of performance and exhibition spaces in the, so called, cultural city. What about your city?
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People also use the frames of performance event to separate spectacle from everyday life. This viewpoint understands performance event as something extra-ordinary while daily event is considered as ordinary. , The extraordinariness materializes through many things, such as sound, form, time, movement, space and so forth. Through the use of technology, those elements are manipulated so that the extraordinariness could be achieved. Technical support also helps in drawing attention to certain aspects. As a result, a gap extends between a spectacle and everyday life—or to be more precise; between the reality of performance and daily life. But how far is the distance between both realities? Is there a bridge that can unite the two? Does the performance reality reflect the mundane one? Or does it offer an alternative upon the everyday life?

Some of the questions above are also expressed by Kurniawan Adi S. in his article on reality show which is currently a trend in Indonesian television. Not only that Reality show affirms the relation between the reality of performance and everyday life, it also sustains on the label of reality as a main attraction and selling point. In practice, the line between the two realities it is not as clear as suspected. In his article, Adhi put himself as a critical audience; he questions the degree of realness in a “reality” show. He also makes some notes on the implication of the reality entertainment business. It is still fresh in mind of an incidence in a few months back involving several policemen who were reprimanded by their superiors due to their complicity in a televised reality show. Blurring between the two realities have also happened outside the screen, such as censored and called off performances, or, the recent burning of an art installation in Bandung. By mentioning several implications, we are not suggesting that artist should avoid complication between the reality of performance and daily life, as it would be an impossible task. But we expected that the discussion will motivate artists to explore all the opportunity and constraint formed by the relation of both realities so they could harvest it through a more creative and productive process.

The relation between the reality of performance and everyday life is not only experienced by audience but also by art workers, especially those who are active in acting. The current edition also includes a conversation about acting in a form of interview report with a dancer: Didik Hadiprayitno – well-known as Didik Nini Thowok. Didik, who calls himself as a female-impersonator, is not always representing woman’s reality through his masculine body. The highlight of Didik’s artistic journey lies in his creativity of embodying more than one role—always female—in his solo performances. It is interesting to follow his opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of the body as a medium of impersonating, and on the relation between entering a role, being inside a role and being outside of it. In this last segment, again, we are reminded with the relation between the reality of performance and everyday life—this time from a performer’s perspective.

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Finally, a performance event calls for involvements from everyone, with each respective role to make the event as an event of togetherness. For greatness and disgrace does not belong to single part only.