CULTURAL CARGO - Trading Stories
A creative exchange project between the Centre for Australasian Theatre and DarahRouge Theatre Company, West Java, Indonesia.
CfAT and DarahRouge have been working together since 2013, developing a common language for successful intercultural collaborative processes. Creative cultural exchanges took place in 2014 when CfAT artists travelled to Bandung and Jakarta for 2 weeks and in 2015 when DarahRouge artists travelled to Cairns for 2 weeks. These residencies included exchange of ideas and methodologies, open workshops, working demonstrations, performance presentations and exhibitions supported by ongoing dialogue through digital and social media platforms over time.
Both companies found difference and compatibility in methods for devised creation of hybrid works, culminating in reciprocal exploration and experimentation. Investigating unknown and untold shared and divergent histories with a focus on the intergenerational impacts of trade through colonization, migration and globalization, CfAT and DarahRouge artists arrived at CARGO CLUB as an open-platform to reflect collectively on how contact with ‘the other’ changes perceptions of ‘culture’ and how… at times it crystalizes identities.
Influenced by the work of Antonin Artaud - a European who was deeply influenced by Indonesian culture - the two companies have arrived at shared yet divergent working methods, inhabiting a collaborative world of intercultural theatre practice where East and West engage, connect and develop synergies.
Highlights from the Residencies include:
• Performance of self portraits in the village of Cikijing Majalengka, West Java
• Theatre of Exchanges workshops at the Gedung Indonesia Menggugat, West Java
• Tradewinds of a Soul in Fluctuation, an exhibition of works on paper by S.E. Dewantoro with performance art by J.Heryanto and W. Hoediyatno at Canopy Art Centre, Cairns
• Sewing Marat Sade by K.Johnston Dewantoro with S. Ariani at the Centre of Contemporary Arts (CoCA) exploring issues of identity for an outsider on the inside of Indonesian performing arts.
• Theatre of Exchanges workshops at CoCA, Cairns
The two companies will come together again in February 2017 for the presentation of CARGO CLUB: Transcultural Underground for Thoroughly Good Social Intercourse at Metro Arts, Brisbane as part of the BrisAsia Festival.
DARAHROUGE, West Java, Indonesia is a collective of artists with different backgrounds in theatre, performance art, photography, philosophy, Topeng dance, butoh, visual art, playwriting, traditional music, marching band and documentary making. They are linked by a love of theatre and the desire to use this arsenal of art forms to create new hybrid works.
Its community of artists has experience facilitating workshops and coordinating performances with foreign artists in Bandung, Jatinangor, Jakarta and Jogyakarta. Individuals within the group have a range of practical experiences including education and training, event organisation, publicity, community art and design.
Kerensa Johnston, a founding member of DarahRouge was a finalist in the Australia Indonesia Association Awards 2014 for her contribution to transcultural arts during the last 24 years.