It’s been a while, too long really, since I posted anything here. Realistically, in a way these projects documented here are on hold, though I have been moving them forward – working on grant writing, lecturing at the Cornell/Yale Indonesian Studies Conference, and finding venues for this exhibition.
It’s been about a year since I last left for Java on a grant from the American Institute for Indonesian Studies, though with the help of some friends and good connections, I’ve been able to contact with a couple more good photographers to include in this project on Javanese photography.
One of these photographers is Arum Tresnaningtyas Dayuputri (or often just Aumdaya). A young photographer, her pictures have a wonderful energy. She documents the culture surrounding dangdut, a form of Indonesian popular music found across Java.
An obvious true lover the music (and a musician herself) Aumdaya offers a wonderful look at the sexuality, performance, idolatry, and business of dangdut.
Of as much interest to me is how she typically shows her photographs. Rather they going for the typically gallery presentation, she binds her photographs in books – sort of mock newspapers – printed on newsprint with some accompanying text, and then gives these away at performances. Sometimes, she displays prints of the photographs at different shows and dangdut venues in Java.
For this exhibition, Aumdaya and I are going to sort through her photographs, and make a special zine – a sort of greatest hits – and then give these away in the different galleries hosting the exhibition.
Her photographs add a nice dimension to this exhibition. A bit less formal, and a bit more playful, Aumdaya’s photographs bring new photographic ideas about culture and identity to this small survey of Javanese photography.