Narration, subversion as well as satire in Tita Salina’s 1001st Island

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2 years back, the National Gallery of Australia’s Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia exhibit available to the general public. In the 3rd room of the gallery room was a sculpture consisted of one tonne of plastic; covered in fishing webs to make an island, and supported by oil barrels and also floats. Under the cozy glow of an incandescent limelight, discarded Indonesian sweet packages and chip packages as well as soft drink canisters glowed; deep pinks, pastel blues, greens and also gold-tinged wrappers shimmered under the light. There was a feeling of curiosity and also shock that included running into rubbish in the fumigated, sanitised gallery space; an aesthetic treatment that integrated the out-of-place and also the lurid into a weird (however attractive) consistency.

The musician, Tita Salina, standing alongside her plastic island at the Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia opening up weekend break. Photo thanks to the National Gallery of Australia , Canberra The masterpiece in question was titled 1001 st Island: The Most Lasting Island in the Island Chain (2015), by the Jakarta-based artist, Tita Salina. The problem of plastic waste is a vital topic of concern in the artist’s practice, in addition to in artworks produced by– and also with– the artist’s regular collaborator, Irwan Ahmett. In Tita’s claim that this stack of garbage is “one of the most lasting” island in the archipelago, there is a clear exaggeration as well as sardonic, tongue-in-cheek comedy; yet the argument is nevertheless real. As the island is made from plastic, it is essentially unbreakable. Throughout the musician’s oeuvre, satire, treatment as well as dark humour are weaponised to accentuate vital concerns that deal with the world today; as well as, in 1001st Island, Tita utilized these techniques to take aim at the problem of sustainability that infuses the nation, making use of performance art and also processes of storytelling to tell stories from a sinking, messy city.

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Coming with the sculptural setup of garbage was a video clip art estimate that records the construction of this “island”: a two-week, participatory, labour-intensive process, where the musician collaborated with local fishermen from Muara Angke to collect waste from Jakarta Bay. Across both tools, 1001st Island explores in extremely smart and lyrical ways the intersections in between problems of climate problems, plastic pollution and increasing sea levels that are endemic across the globe. There are also regional contexts to this work of art, obvious in the nonstop– and also in several methods, futile– acts of trying to cleanse up Jakarta’s coastline and also rivers when there is as well much rubbish. In 2015, a restriction on single-use plastic bags was introduced in Jakarta for supermarkets, minimarkets and traditional grocery store. There is likewise the ongoing dispute surrounding the proposed, prepared “Great Garuda Sea Wall”. And also, certainly, it is likewise essential to recall Jakarta’s condition as the fastest-sinking city on earth; a considerable hazard to the incomes of numerous coastal and metropolitan cultures.

With the several processes of activity, intervention, creative documentation, and also the production of both video as well as sculptural artworks, Tita adhered to the lead of earlier generations of Indonesian artists: “dropping below” to sites of struggle and also contestation; using art to document as well as demonstrate, as well as to intensify the problems of marginalised areas. Later on in the video, Tita drifts away atop her wonderful, vibrant island paradise, and also the landmass of trash becomes her brand-new home. From her placement as a resident of this heaving, teeming megalopolis, Tita put forward a narrative that is in equal components interested in the superb as well as the ominous; offering visions of an utopian kind, yet with glimpses also of a clearly dystopian future.

1001st Island– The Most Sustainable Island in Archipelago( 2015) Single-channel video: 14:11 minutes, colour, sound.Produced for Jakarta Biennale(Jakarta, Indonesia), 2015. Pictures courtesy of the artist, via YouTube.

In the unraveling story of this art work, there is a noticeably performative, subversive side that the musician utilizes to probe and also challenge the idea of fabricated paradise that Indonesia is so typically qualified as being. In the video clip, the artist submerses herself in the social as well as environmental landscapes, and also, in doing so, accentuates the surprise facts that slide listed below the surface picture of coastal, sun-drenched escapes. Listed below the azure island seas seen on shiny brochures are mounds of plastic waste that drift even more and even more far from their likely beginning point: Jakarta.

As Tita wanders to sea in her plethora of plastic garbage, her “island” becomes the latest enhancement to the Kepulauan Seribu chain of islands that lie to the north of Jakarta. This region, referred to by visitors as the “Thousand Islands” is, without a doubt, consisted of only 110 islands. By asserting her island as the ‘1001st‘, Tita turns the picture of this chain of islands on its head; intervening as well as overturning the vision, look, as well as assumption of the “exotic” and “charming” by instead providing viewers with an island that is satirical, mocking, and also subversive. Tita’s boating may well be the 111th island, but, by qualifying it as the 1001st, overestimation and also hype resolve any kind of staying fanciful visions of the landscape, as well as challenges customers to see it from a various viewpoint.

1001st Island: The Most Lasting Island in the Island Chain(2015)Single-channel video clip: 14:11 minutes, colour, audio. Created for Jakarta Biennale( Jakarta, Indonesia), 2015. Pictures courtesy of the musician, via YouTube

Standing atop the makeshift island of garbage, Tita highlights one of the fundamental paradoxes of this chain of islands: to get to these often exclusive, attractive, and also (apparently) immaculate paradises, you must initially go across the sea of waste located in Jakarta Bay. This is far from an issue that has actually only happened in Jakarta as well as the Kepulauan Seribu; it is a concern that has also manifested in various other supposed “island paradises” such as Bali. Although many of the sources of these problems can be located in tourist, it is also– as the musician has pointed out– a broader concern of waste management that infuses several locations in the country. Banana leaves, for instance, were when utilized as a common product packaging for food in Indonesia: a material that can be discarded outside on the footpath, and which is completely eco-friendly. As plastic has taken its location as a favored setting of covering, however, the environmental impacts have increased; as Tita notes in the publication Outright Moisture despite the fact that many foodstuff now make use of cling wrap, we still have the same routines [in throwing out wrappers].

In crafting this island of rubbish and collaborating with fishing neighborhoods, Tita’s 1001st Island advertises a broader conversation on global issues of waste management and plastic, as well as the sight of the island as one of “last resort” despite enormous ecological as well as eco-friendly modifications. The environmental messages of the video reverberate with a global target market, Tita talks through this art work from the unique standpoint of a Jakarta citizen addressing regional concerns: involving with areas from a perspective and also place that is often overlooked.

From this placement, Tita utilizes art as a device to face and visualise tough environmental and social circumstances, and also recommends a service– nevertheless novel and also nonsensical it may be. She participates in acts of subversion, narration as well as satire to accentuate issues that face the Jakarta Bay area. Jakarta is a “supermarket of troubles”, she comments; however, as a local musician, it is likewise a “grocery store of ideas”. With social treatment functioning as an usual thread across several works in the musician’s oeuvre, 1001st Island invites audiences to take into consideration issues of plastic waste from a viewpoint that may be non-traditional and also brand-new, yet which is necessary to face the deeper (and typically existential) issues that are encountering the area today.